My Favorite Lunch Boxes For Kids

My Favorite Lunch Boxes For Kids -- Real Mom Nutrition

I love lunch boxes. Our cupboards are full of them. Some (read: my husband) may accuse me of hoarding them. I’ve tried many different lunch boxes over the years. The bento-style boxes are, hands-down, my favorite way to pack a lunch because they make even a totally random assortment of food look appealing. These four have come out on top as my favorite lunch boxes for kids. Here’s why.

Favorite Everyday Lunch Box: EasyLunchboxes

My Favorite Lunchboxes -- Real Mom Nutrition My Favorite Lunch Boxes for Kids -- Real Mom Nutrition

What I Like: They’re low-cost and durable, and they hold up well. My first set lasted about two years, used nearly every day of the school year and run through the dishwasher. I love that these come in a set of four, so I always have a clean container to grab. Though they’re not leak-proof, I bought a set of their Mini Dippers containers for sauces and dips. EasyLunchboxes also fit perfectly in the Land’s End soft-sided lunch bags we have. Lids come in a variety of colors.

Approximate Cost: $20 for 4 containers

Find It: EasyLunchboxes

Favorite Little Kid Lunch Box: BentGo Kids

My Favorite Lunchboxes -- Real Mom Nutrition My Favorite Lunchboxes -- Real Mom Nutrition

What I Like: It’s a great size for younger kids, designed especially for ages 3-8. It’s also leak-proof and very durable, with a two-year warranty and rubber-coated edges to protect it if it’s dropped (it survived going to camp with my seven year old this summer!). The tray lifts out and is dishwasher safe. This box also fits in our soft-sided lunch bags. Comes in purple, blue, or green.

Approximate Cost: $28

Find It: Amazon or BentGo

Favorite Space-Saving Lunch Box: LunchBots Trio

My Favorite Lunchboxes -- Real Mom Nutrition  My Favorite Lunchboxes -- Real Mom Nutrition

What I Like: It’s a nice, low-cost stainless steel option–and though it’s tiny, it actually fits a lot of food (larger options are also available). I use reusable silicone muffin cups to divide the compartments even further. You can also buy leak-proof containers for inside. Fits in our soft-sided lunch bags. (For more ideas on packing LunchBots, see this flip book of 180 real-life lunch photos–like the one above!–from Red, Round or Green)

Approximate Cost: $22

Find It: Amazon or LunchBots

Favorite Fancy Lunchbox: PlanetBox Rover

My Favorite Lunchboxes -- Real Mom Nutrition My Favorite Lunchboxes -- Real Mom Nutrition

What I Like: It’s made of sturdy stainless steel–and though it’s the priciest of the bunch, it also has a five-year warranty. The Rover, which comes with two leak-proof “dipper” containers, is their most popular size, but they also make smaller and larger containers. It’s a real beauty (and I love the little “treat” compartment in the center!). The only downside is that it doesn’t fit in our soft-sided lunch boxes, but they sell PlanetBox carry bags and sleeves for $10-14.

Approximate Cost: $50

Find It: PlanetBox

For my favorite water bottle, thermos & other lunch packing gear, go HERE.

Disclosures: I received a free PlanetBox and BentGo but was not compensated for writing this post. All opinions are my own. This page contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you purchase a product through these links, your cost will be the same but I will receive a small commission to help with operating costs of this blog. Thanks for your support!

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Comments

  1. says

    It’s amazing how far we’ve come with lunch box designs, right? Besides some of the ones you’ve mentioned that we also use, I like the yumbox. We have it in two configurations, one with three compartments and one with five (both $28). They’re leak proof and dishwasher safe and the size has been great for my kids (9, 5 and almost 3).
    I also like the Klip-It Lunch Cube. It’s fun to unfold, safe for the freezer (!) and dishwasher safe. The downside is that you can’t pack things like yogurt or hummus but it’s less than $8, which is a big thumbs up.

    • Angela says

      I second the Yumbox! The original is great, but if you’re only getting one then I think the Panino is the most versatile. The big compartment works well for sandwiches and other larger foods, but you can also use silicone muffin cups to add more compartments when needed. And considering how much my son likes yogurt and applesauce, I LOVE that it’s leakproof.

  2. Mallory says

    My favorite lunchbox, hands down, is the classic brown paper bag. Worked great for my parents. Worked great for me and my siblings. Works great for my kids. Planet friendly (no nasty plastics or energy intensive metal involved) and as hygienic as you care to make it by simply tossing used bags into the recycle bin. And best of all – price, practically nil. To say nothing of relief from fears of loss or damage. Lose a few of those trendy bento things at $20 – $50 a copy and see if the idea of carrying lunch to school doesn’t grow tepid for mam and dad. All that and more — no need to slice and dice a whole bunch of little tidbits to fit into all those itty-bitty little compartments. I mean, it’s just lunch for cripe’s sake, why make a big production out of it every morning? I love being able to just put together a few sandwiches and grab a few pieces of fruit, drop ’em in the bags and you’re good to go for another day! I’ll spend the extra energy at the end of the day overseeing progress on homework. Now that’s something worth making into a big, detailed project.

    • Angela says

      Sorry to break it to you, but disposable paper sacks are much worse on the environment than a reusable container, even if you recycle them (which most schools don’t). For one thing it contributes to deforestation, and of course paper bags also take a fair amount of energy to make. No, not as much as a metal container, but when you have to crank out a new one every day that adds up whereas the metal container can be used for years to come. Plus, if you use any sandwich baggies with your brown paper bag then you are using (and throwing into landfills) plastic, a lot of it actually.

      I can see not wanting to spend a lot on lunch gear, but after awhile the cost of paper and plastic bags can add up too. At $5 a pop, the Easy Lunchboxes she linked to are probably pretty comparable to a year or two worth of baggies and they generate considerably less waste.

    • Angela says

      Because I’m a numbers nerd, I also did a quick analysis to look at the cost issue. Let’s say that you are packing a daily lunch of a sandwich, applesauce, yogurt, and water (pretty standard lunch fare). If you are brown bagging it then each day you would use 1 paper bag ($0.10), 1 sandwich bag ($0.20), 1 applesauce cup ($0.29), 1 yogurt cup ($0.45), and a 4 oz water bottle ($0.52). That totals to $1.56 per day. By the end of the year (180 school days), that’s $280.80. There’s also the cost of the sandwich, but I didn’t include that as it would be the same for both scenarios.

      On the other hand, if you use reusable items, then you can buy larger containers of applesauce and yogurt and pour out 1/2 C sized portions each day ($0.16 and $0.31 respectively) and fill the water bottle with tap water. The daily cost of this is $0.47, which after 180 days totals to $84.60. Yes, you still need to purchase an insulated cooler, lunch containers, ice packs and a water bottle, but as long as you’re spending less than $196.20 on lunch supplies, then you’re still coming out ahead by the end of the year. Not to mention, that most people do not repurchase these items yearly so each additional year that these items are used is approximately $200 more of savings.

      *My prices were obtained from Walmart, using Great Value brand applesauce and vanilla yogurt for both comparisons

  3. rebecca says

    I love the idea of the Bento, but see everything spilling out of its little section every time my kid swings her lunch box by the handle (read: every two seconds). Also, that stainless one is a beauty, but how obnoxious is it in terms of space? Does the lid come off? Or is it stretching across the table to rest on top of your “neighbor’s” pb&j?

    • says

      Rebecca–the food actually stays in place pretty well. The lids really lock in place so the compartments don’t spill into each other. As for the PlanetBox, I don’t think the lid comes off. If you keep it in the carrier, the lid can stay propped open while you’re eating it. But yeah, it’s not really a space saver. 🙂

  4. Shannon says

    My oldest son is in Kindergarten this year, and I’ve struggled with packing his lunch. Mainly, because he likes items that need to stay cold for a few hours like yogurt and sandwich meat. Do any of these boxes keep food items cold? I have yet to find a bento box that has a freeze pouch or something. Right now I’m using two individual containers that came with their own freezer pack, but they don’t have any compartments so I’m limited to what I can put in them, and they are bulky.

    • says

      Hi Shannon–sounds like you need to enter the giveaway I have going on for a freezable lunch bag from PackIt. 🙂 The whole bag is a cold pack, so it keeps foods cold a long time. I put my bento boxes in either the PackIt bag or a LandsEnd punchbag that has a pouch for a cold pack.

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