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Believe it or not, back-to-school season is almost here, which means you may want to start thinking about preparing your child for the return to in-person learning. Though many schools don’t send out supply lists until later in the summer, one thing you can buy now is a lunch box to keep your kid’s food at a safe temperature and make it easy for them to transport everything. Below, we rounded up some top-rated kids lunch boxes, bento boxes and containers from popular brands like Hydro Flask, Simple Modern, Pottery Barn Kids and Thermos.
Top-rated kids lunch boxes and bags
Made with two layers of insulation and a fully lined liner, this lunch box from Hydro Flask is designed to keep food cold for hours, according to the brand. It has an interior band designed to hold utensils and an ice pack, and it comes in kid-friendly colors like Iris (a shade of purple), Grasshopper (a bright green) and Geranium (a bright red). On Hydro Flask’s website, the lunch box boasts a 4.9-star average rate from nearly 200 reviews.
This lunch bag from YETI uses the same rubber foam Coldcell insulation as many of its soft-sided coolers to keep food cold (though ice packs are sold separately). It’s equipped with a magnetic Thermo Snap closure to ensure a consistent temperature, and the size of the bag can be adjusted using its hook-and-loop grid. Available in five colors, the bag has a 4.4-star average rating from nearly 1,500 reviews on YETI’s website.
A popular pick on Amazon, this patterned lunch bag from Simple Modern has a 4.8-star average rating from more than 500 reviews. With a 4-liter capacity, the rectangular bag can hold sandwiches, snacks and more, and it’s triple-insulated to keep food fresh. Depending on your child’s preferences, there are dozens of patterns to choose from, including a fun unicorn pattern and a Mickey and Minnie Mouse one.
This iridescent lunch box from Target’s More Than Magic line is a relatively affordable option at $10. Designed to look like a unicorn, the insulated bag features an inner mesh pocket, an outer zip pocket and a water bottle pocket, plus a carrying handle to make it easy for your child to tote their lunch to and from the cafeteria.
A fun option for astronauts in training, this lunch box features an out-of-this-world galaxy pattern. According to the brand, the PVC-free lining is easy to clean, and the closed-cell foam insulation is designed to keep food cold. Unlike other lunch boxes, this one has two separate zippered compartments stacked on top of one another so snacks and drinks can stay separate from fruits, vegetables and sandwiches.
If your little one loves Batman, then they might be a fan of this lunch box from Pottery Barn Kids adorned with the superhero’s signature vehicle and Bat Signal. According to the brand, the lunch box is made without any harmful chemicals and has a molded interior that’s designed to be easy to clean. You can also customize the lunch box with your child’s name or initials for an added fee, and if they aren’t a fan of Batman, other fun designs include Star Wars and Marvel’s Avengers.
Best bento boxes and lunch containers for kids
Bento boxes and containers can keep your child’s food compartmentalized and prevent it all from amalgamating into a giant mess. Both can be used on its own or inside a lunch box — but since most bento boxes and containers are not insulated, it’s better to put them inside a lunch bag.
This highly rated bento box from Bentgo Kids has five compartments with ideal serving sizes for kids ages 3 to 7, and the tray is both microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe. Choose from a dozen designs, including Dinosaur, Safari and Mermaid Scales.
Another fun and highly rated bento box option, this one from Simple Modern also has five compartments — and when you don’t want to use them, the plastic compartments can be removed. The box itself snaps shut, and it comes in several different patterns, including Mickey Ears and Ice Cream Cone.
This bento box has three compartments designed to hold kid-sized food portions. According to the brand, it’s leakproof and both dishwasher- and freezer-safe, plus microwave-safe without the lid. If you want to create a matching set for your child, 3 Sprouts also makes a Lion Lunch Bag, Lion Sandwich Bags and Lion Snack Bags.
Designed by a mother for mothers, this dishwasher-safe two-piece set is made to be an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags. It comes with a larger oval box to hold a sandwich and sides and a smaller cup for dipping sauces, dressings, yogurt or other mealtime additions.
If you prefer to meal prep at the beginning of the week, this bento box set comes with seven reusable containers, each of which has three compartments for snacks, sandwiches and more. The plastic containers are microwave-, freezer- and dishwasher-safe, but the brand says they’re not entirely leakproof, so it’s better to use them for solid foods that won’t spill. On Amazon, the Youngever Bento Lunch Boxes have a 4.7-star average rating from more than 1,100 reviews.