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As the new school year approaches, so does the quest for finding the perfect lunchbox. My oldest child will be entering second grade this fall, and I’ve yet to find him a lunch box that checks all the boxes for me. It can’t leak, it has to keep warm food warm and cold food cold, it can’t squish fruits or veggies, it can’t make food soggy, and it has to look good enough that my children will be enthusiastic about actually eating their lunch. It also has to be sturdy, small enough to fit inside a backpack, and can be easily wiped down and cleaned. Seems like an impossible task, doesn’t it?
I’m big on bento boxes because I love to compartmentalize food so it stays intact. This past school year, I would put bento boxes in brown paper sacks or small canvas bags for my son to bring to school–not very visually appealing! This school year, I want to find the perfect all-in-one lunch box that incorporates everything my kids need for the perfect lunch—or at least piece together a few sturdy accessories that will do the trick.
In my quest for the perfect fit, I’ve rounded up 21 lunch boxes and accessories that will make packing lunches during the school year a bit easier.
Lunch Boxes & Lunch Bags
The high-density thermal insulation included in this lunch box will keep your child's food and drinks super cold. Plus, this option features a hard liner designed to keep soft foods separate from hard containers.
5 colors available
The Hydroflask lunch box makes cleanup easier with a fully lined interior. It comes in multiple colors and is easy for your little ones to carry around at school with an adjustable handle.
8 colors available
This "Zoo Lunchies" style features an insulated and wipe-clean interior, an inside mesh pocket, and a matching zipper-pull so your little one will always know which lunch bag is theirs.
4 characters available
Pottery Barn Kids
The classic Pottery Barn lunch box is both cute and durable for the school year. The inside has enough room for hard containers and even includes a space for utensils. It also features a water bottle holder on the side for easy access.
With 11 color and patterns—plus a personalization option—your child can make this handy lunchbox uniquely their own.
This lunch box from Amazon comes in a bunch of cute patterns and has enough room to fit all your kid's yummy lunch items without being too bulky. It's made of a neoprene material to keep food insulated until lunchtime.
30+ patterns available
Pottery Barn Kids
This super fun bunny lunch bag is both roomy and adorable for your little ones!
Crate & Kids
New this year, Crate & Kids has tons of cute back-to-school gear, like this garden print lunch box with side pocket for a water bottle.
multiple patterns and personalization available
Bento Lunch Boxes
An editor favorite for young kids, the OmieBox can help keep food hot and cold in the same lunch box. Plus, it's designed to be easily opened by little hands.
available in 6 colors
Billed as the only lunch box you'll every need thanks to its stainless steel construction, Planet Box lunch boxes are dishwasher safe and offer a 5-year guarantee. The Shuttle Box is the smallest of their lunch boxes which makes it perfect for preschoolers.
Amazon | Bentgo
An editor favorite for preschoolers and early elementary kids, the Bentgo lunch box features five compartments that are perfectly designed for kids. Plus, it's also leak-proof so your little ones don't have to worry about spilling while carrying it around.
multiple colors and patterns available
Target | Munchkin
This container has five compartments to make packing meals easy as ever. And to make it even better, it includes stainless steel toddler utensils that snap directly to lid for easy storage
2 colors available
This Bento box will keep your LO's food safe and secure before lunchtime. The two-clip closure is easy to access and has no hard, plastic hinges. Plus, it has five leak-proof compartments!
5 colors available
Lunch Box Accessories
Amazon | OXO
If you're tired of your kids' lunch boxes getting ruined by leaking containers, the OXO lunch container is the way to go to ensure mess-free meal time all school year long.
multiple sizes available
Amazon | iKitchen
These durable stainless steel containers come in a pack of three different sizes to fit everything you need inside.
2 color combinations available
Amazon | Thermos
Whether hot or cold, the Thermos Funtainer will keep food secure and ready to eat. It keeps food hot for up to five hours and cold for up to seven hours. The exterior also stays cold no matter what's inside.
20+ colors available
Amazon | Mira
This thermos is easy to pack, and it has enough room to fit an entire meal! It will keep food cold for 10 hours or hot for five hours. It also has a slip-free grip to
multiple colors available
This two-piece silverware set is perfect for travel from home to school. It features a small storage case that you can easily stick in your child's lunch bag before they head out the door.
This three-piece silverware set features a spoon, fork, and chopsticks. It is made of natural wheat straw, which is better for the environment and is also super lightweight.
Target | Bentgo
Ice packs but make it fun! This pack of four small ice packs will help keep your kid's food cold until it's time to eat.
rocket ship and unicorn ice packs also available
This ice pack is flexible for lunchboxes and made with pure water—so if somehow the ice pack gets punctured, there's no risk of contamination.
This article was originally published in 2019 and has been updated for timeliness.