10 Best Lunch Boxes for Toddlers and Kids of 2020
Best Lunch Boxes
July 16, 2020

Best Lunch Boxes

Best Lunch Boxes.
Photo by @kandk.eats
A well-designed, functional lunch box makes all that veggie slicing and crust cutting worth it. Best Lunch Boxes

Lunch packing: it isn’t glamorous (especially at 6 a.m.), but someone’s gotta do it. A well-designed, functional lunch box makes all that veggie slicing and crust cutting worth it. Here’s a quick overview of key features to look for in a lunch box:

  • Insulation. Insulated sides help keep perishables cool and fresh until lunch time. But, it’s still a good idea throw in an ice pack, too.
  • Easy access. When kids are at daycare or school, they should be able to open and close their lunch box without help from a grownup. Make sure the zippers, snaps or buckles are designed for little hands so it’s not a challenge to get to the good stuff!
  • Ample space. Some lunch boxes and bags are large, allowing plenty of room for water bottles, ice packs, thermoses and food. On the other hand, bento box styles are usually more compact and designed for smaller portions. Sometimes a combo is your best bet for maximum organization (especially if your little one likes a variety of finger foods). Tip: Pack food in a bento box, and then put it inside a larger lunch box with a drink and other extras.
  • Simple cleaning. Two words: applesauce pouch. Get ready to see your fair share of open, half-eaten pouches when they make a grand entrance back at home inside the lunch box. When things get messy (which they will), a lunch box made with material that can be wiped clean (fabric) or even washed in the sink or dishwasher (stainless steel or plastic) will be your best friend. Because whatever happened in the lunch box doesn’t have to stay in the lunch box.

These are our favorite picks for lunch and on-the-go snacking.

Fun-Sized Friends

Give your little animal a lunchtime pal from Skip Hop Zoo. The collection of Lunchies includes over 25 cute creatures (Butterfly? Monkey? Unicorn? It’s a tough choice!). These soft, lightweight bags hold all the essentials—sandwiches, snacks and drinks. The zipper closure is easy for tots to master, while the insulated interior can be wiped clean after a particularly messy meal (peace out, old yogurt!). This lunch bag is great for daycare, school or even bringing snacks along to the park. Although there’s a small mesh pocket to hold napkins and utensils, there’s just one large compartment for food. To keep all the food organized, Skip Hop also makes matching lunch kit sets that fit perfectly inside the bag. If you want to create a fully coordinated lunchtime set, Skip Hop makes water bottles, snack cups and stainless steel food jars.

Additional Specs
Dimensions 9.5” x 7.5” x 3.25”

Preschooler Perfect

No brand knows packed lunches better than Thermos (we bet you had one of their character lunch boxes in elementary school, too!), and these simple, cartoony designs are perfect for the primary-colored preschooler aesthetic. Choose from classics like a train, a fire engine or a police car, or find your kiddo’s favorite character (Minions, Disney princesses, Marvel heroes, even Star Wars). It wipes clean easily, and some parents said it will even last through the gentle cycle in the washing machine (just in case you can’t scrub out that funky old food smell by hand).

Additional Specs
Dimensions 10” x 5” x 7.25”

From Baby to Big Kid

Don’t be fooled by this lunch box’s simple look. This versatile little cooler bag can hold the usual snacks, cups and food containers for a toddler or preschooler’s lunch, but it’s also perfect for keeping bottles cool when your baby is in childcare. The inner sections can be rearranged using the Velcro strip along the inner lining to fit whatever you’re packing, so it really grows with your little one from the bottle days to the “I can carry my own lunch box to school” days. It’s fully insulated with thick, high-density padding that keeps contents cold, and it even comes with a reusable, non-toxic ice pack.

Additional Specs
Dimensions 8″ x 8″ x 3.5″

The Sturdy Staple

Roomy, sturdy, affordable, adorable…we could go on and on with all the reasons to love Wildkin lunch boxes. With tons of bright, cheerful patterns to choose from, there’s a perfect style to complement your tot’s turkey on wheat. A few key features: the large, insulated interior has tabs to keep water bottles and ice packs in place, there’s a front pocket for extra snacks and a carrying handle. Short on kitchen cabinet space? Instead of the lunch box, go for Wildkin’s equally awesome lunch bag that folds flat for easy storage.

Additional Specs
Dimensions Lunch Box: 9.75” x 7” x 3.25”; Lunch Bag: 10” x 8.5” x 5”

Monogrammed Must-Have

Nothing says, “I have arrived” (at preschool or kindergarten) quite like an awesome monogrammed lunch bag. From rocket ships to rainbows, animals to ballerinas, Star Wars to Wonder Woman, this collection boasts a huge range of designs to delight every child. Made of durable, thick polyester, it’ll last through several school years. The interior stands up to wear and tear thanks to the molded PEVA lining (an eco-friendly, food-safe vinyl), while messes can be simply wiped away. Plus, the carrying handle comes in handy for easy toting from cubbies to the lunch table.

A nice perk is the outside mesh pocket for big water bottles and thermoses, which allows a lot more food to fit on the inside. Pottery Barn food containers are a perfect fit, or you can use the storage of your choice. Tuck in utensils and napkins in the little pocket, and your kiddo is ready to chow down.

Additional Specs
Dimensions 8” x 4” x 9”

Double Duty

Lunch boxes keep your kiddo’s food contained while inside the box, but once lunchtime starts, there’s no telling what kind of mess might be made outside the box. Meet the lunch container that solves for messes both before and during mealtimes: just zip the four sides down and unfold it flat onto the table and voila, a placemat! And it’s made from 100% neoprene (scuba suit material), so it can be tossed in the washing mashine after it’s done catching all of your toddler’s crumbs.

Additional Specs
Dimensions 6.5” x 10.5” x 6.5” folded; 17.5” x 17.5” unfolded

No Ice Packs Needed

No need to sacrifice food space for an ice pack with this lunch bag. Instead of using ice packs to keep things cool, the bag itself is insulated with freezable gel, and the whole thing pops right into the freezer. After just 12 hours in the freezer, it’s ready to keep food cold all. day. long. It’s got the same capacity as most other lunch bags, but it can also fold flat for easy storage. We also love the buckle handle that allows you to clip it to a backpack, stroller or diaper bag (no more accidentally leaving lunch behind!).

Additional Specs
Dimensions 8.5” x 6.25” x 9.75”

Leak-Free Bento

There’s something about bento boxes that magically get kids to eat their vegetables. (Carrots and snap peas just look more delicious in a tiny compartment.) Families love Bentgo’s bento boxes for the pre-portioned tray, making food organization that much easier—and mess free for those who don’t like their food touching. The five-compartment box is great for toddlers and preschoolers who like a little bit of everything, and the varying compartment sizes make for perfect portioning of snacks while leaving enough room for a small sandwich, too. Although there’s just one lid for all compartments, it’s secure, leakproof and keeps each food bucket separated. Hummus making its way to cheese stick territory? Not a chance. The whole thing is made with food-safe materials and is BPA and phthlatate-free. Keep in mind: This bento box isn’t insulated, so if you want to keep food cold or hot, you’ll need to put it in an insulated lunch bag (be sure to check the dimensions!).

Additional Specs
Dimensions 8.75” x 7” x 2.25”

Stainless Snacker

What’s one thing you have in common with your kiddo? Neither of you are fun to hang out with when you’re hangry. This smaller box from LunchBots is the perfect stainless steel vessel for keeping your little one’s favorite on-the-go snacks or small meals at the ready. Although it’s compact, the four compartments can neatly fit several foods. Made of stainless steel, it’s non toxic and dishwasher safe (a win-win!). Aside from being a snack pack, it’s also a great choice for little ones with shorter school days. Keep in mind: This box isn’t insulated, so keep it in the fridge or in an insulated bag for foods that need to stay cold. Also, this bento box is best for foods that aren’t “wet” (so no applesauce, yogurt) or anything that will leak, since the compartments aren’t fully leak-proof.

Additional Specs
Dimensions 4” x 5.5” x 1.5”

Must-Have Modules

Looking for a little more freedom in your toddler’s lunch organization? Individual food storage containers like these ones from Rubbermaid are a more customizable option compared to bento boxes, so you’re not restricted to the same compartment sizes every day. These colorful modules are portioned just for kids and can be configured into the perfect lunchtime setup. Even better, they’re microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe. Aside from connecting them all for bigger meals, the small snack containers are great on their own for keeping crackers, pretzels, yogurt, fruits and veggies safe in your diaper bag. To keep food cool, just snap on the matching “Blue Ice” tray, and you’re good to go.

LunchBlox are also great for parents (yes, you need to eat, too!). The salad kit is especially awesome. It keeps the veggies, dressing and toppings separate so you’ll never have to have a soggy salad at your desk again. Or you can use a snack container for your favorite snacks at the park, instead of getting the last of the Goldfish crackers.

Additional Specs
Dimensions 2 Snack Containers (.5 cup capacity), 1 Side Container (1.2 cup capacity), 1 Sandwich Container (2.6 cup capacity) and 1 Medium Blue Ice (Size: 4.81” x 5.625”x 5.25 when stacked)

Ice Packs

These ice packs are so slim, we’d be surprised to find a lunch box they don’t fit into. And with four in a pack, you can double up on them to keep lunches extra cold and leave the other two in the freezer for the next packed lunch.

Additional Specs
Dimensions 6.5” x 4.25” x 0.3”

Slim, colorful and totally whimsical—toss these fun little ice packs into your toddler’s lunch box to bring a smile to their face (and keep their food cool, too). We love all the fun shapes they come in, like these butterflies, plus penguins, owls and more!

Additional Specs
Dimensions 4.75” x 3.15” x 0.25”

Space for an ice pack isn’t always guaranteed, especially if your kiddo is a big eater, so a stiff and solid ice pack may not do the trick. Thankfully, these coolers from Fit & Fresh are flexible, so you can shape them to fit around the apple slices and cheddar cubes.

Additional Specs
Dimensions 7” x 5” x 0. 25”
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