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Our Favorite Lunch Boxes & Reusable Bags

Our Favorite Kids’ Lunch Boxes and Reusable Bags – Great lunch packing gear makes packing school lunches just a bit easier. These are the best kids’ lunch boxes and reusable bags we’ve tried, plus the pros and cons of each. 

A collage of images of kids lunch box review with the best kids lunch boxes

Thank you so much for the amazing response to yesterday’s big school lunches post! In it, I shared 2 weeks of ideas and a free printable idea sheet to make lunch packing a breeze.

Today, I wanted to talk all about lunch packing GEAR. Which lunch boxes for kids we like, which reusable bags we use, and how I keep from losing all our forks and spoons at school. Whether you’re packing lunches for little kids, big kids, or grown-ups, I’ve got picks for all kinds of budgets, ages, and stages, along with a pro and con list for each one. Let’s jump in!

Here’s our review of six popular lunch boxes for kids. You’ll see the pros, cons, prices, and all the other stuff you’d want to know before you buy. Let’s jump in and meet the contestants!

Blue Omie Box with yogurt, raspberry sauce, gluten-free granola, energy bites, and fresh strawberries

OMIE BOX

We LOVE Omie boxes! We started using them a few years ago and have been really impressed by how durable they are. Their removable thermos insert works for hot or cold items and leaves plenty of room for a sandwich when removed, and the adjustable divider can help you size compartments just the way you need. They’re a bit more of an investment, but they’ll literally last years with daily use. Here’s our Omie box review…

PRICE: $39.50 each (Buy directly from Omie, or buy on Amazon)

AT A GLANCE: A colorful 3-compartment Bento-style box with a removable thermos insert (works for hot or cold items), and an adjustable/removable divider for the side compartment that can give you a 4th section. Easy-to open clip to close the lid.

PROS:

  • Easy to open for my kids even when they were kindergarteners. The Omie box thermos is also easy to open since it comes with an easy-to-twist lid designed for little hands.
  • A removable thermos that works for hot or cold items. This section got a LOT Of use at my house. Milo often removed his thermos to pack sandwiches, while Sophie liked packing tomato soup, yogurt, and leftover pasta in her thermos.
  • Adjustable divider for the side compartment. You can adjust the size of the left compartment to accommodate differently sized items. (See it in use in all sorts of ways here and here)
  • Extra parts are available for purchase. If one part gets lost or broken, Omie makes it easy to get replacements without having to buy an entirely new box.
  • Individual seals for each section. Thanks to the individual section seals, food tends to stay put, even when jostled.
  • Cute design + colors! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve gotten asked about these lunch boxes. They’re cute and fun, as well as functions! They come in Green, Pink, Purple, Yellow, and Blue.
  • Easily fits in an insulated lunch box.
  • Mix & Match options available if you want to buy different inserts or cases!
  • Dishwasher safe (Top rack only), though hand-washing will extend the life.
  • Safe materials. Made without phthalates or BPA. CPSIA & FDA compliant.

CONS

  • A bit bulky to store. One drawback of the Omie Box is that it can get bulky to store. We keep ours in a bottom cupboard in a basket to keep them wrangled. If you’re tight on storage, you may prefer a slimmer box, like the Yumbox Panino (below!)
  • A bit pricey. My kids haven’t lost one yet, used theirs every school day for the last two years, and can still get at least another year out of them, so they’ve been 100% worth the initial investment for us. If you don’t’ pack lunches often or your child tends to lose lunch boxes, you may prefer something less expensive.
Yellow Yumbox Panino with gluten-free bagel and cream cheese, raspberries, crinkle cut carrots, and trail mix

YUMBOX PANINO

Yumbox makes several different lunch boxes for kids, but we like the Panino Yumbox because it has a section large enough for a sandwich or bagel. Besides the slim design, our favorite feature of this box is that each section is individually sealed. We took turns shaking and flipping the box and nothing moved or spilled into another section! Here’s our Yumbox review…

PRICE: $28-29.99 (Buy it on Amazon or get it directly from YumBox here)

AT A GLANCE: A 4-compartment Bento-style box with a single easy-to-open latch. (Large compartment is 2-cups (big enough for a sandwich), two 1/2 cup sections on the side, and a 1 oz dip or treat section in the center.)

PROS:

  • Easy to open for both my 7 & 9-year-olds.
  • Individual seals for each section–food stays separate even when the box gets flipped or jostled.
  • Cute design! My kids love the decorated designs on the base of the box, and it comes in cute colors!
  • Slim storage – Doesn’t take up much space in a cupboard or drawer
  • Easily fits in an insulated lunch box.
  • Mix & Match options available if you want to buy different inserts or cases!
  • Dishwasher safe (Top rack only), though hand-washing will extend the life
  • Safe materials. Made without phthalates or BPA. CPSIA & FDA compliant.

CONS

  • Wet foods work but not liquids. One thing is you can pack wet foods (like yogurt, salsa, applesauce, hummus, dips,  or applesauce) but not liquids.
Easy Lunchbox with turkey roll-ups, ranch dressing, fresh veggies, and mixed berries

EASY LUNCH BOX

Easy Lunch Box is our favorite budget-friendly choice. If you are REALLY tight on storage space, have kids who tend to lose lunchboxes, or need several for meal prep or lots of kids, these are the lunch boxes for you! Here’s our Easy Lunch Box review…

PRICE: $13.95 for a 4-Pack.  Buy directly from Easy Lunch Boxes or Buy on Amazon (shop from their Amazon page to avoid fakes!).

AT A GLANCE: A set of FOUR 3-compartment Bento-style boxes with easy to open plastic lids. You can also purchase “Mini Dipper” condiment containers great for dips, dressings, and treats.

PROS:

  • Easy to open for even the littlest kids. Milo could open these at age 3.
  • The most cost-effective option. You’ll likely pay less for a pack of 4 Easy Lunch Boxes than you would for any other single Bento-style lunch container.
  • Come in a variety of colors! The Easy Lunch Box comes in three colorways–Classic, Brights, and Neutrals.
  • GREAT for storage. The lunchboxes and lids can nest, so you can stack them all together for even more compact storage. (Extra great with kitchen space is tight!)
  • Easily fits in an insulated lunch box.
  • Work for kids or adults. Michael used these for years before our kids started school and started using them.
  • Dishwasher (Top rack only)+ Freezer + Microwave safe. though hand-washing will extend the life
  • Safe materials. Made without BPA, Phthalates, Lead, Vinyl, PVC. FDA approved.

CONS

  • They are NOT leakproof. One thing is you can pack wet foods (like yogurt, salsa, applesauce, hummus, dips,  or applesauce) but not liquids.
  • They do best when carried upright. Because they’re not leakproof, they don’t do super well with being jostled if you’ve packed anything wet. If you store them in an upright insulated container, it can help you keep the box mostly upright.
Lunchbots stainless steel large lunch box with strawberries, dairy-free cheese, gluten-free crackers, pepperoni, green olives, and cucumbers

LUNCHBOTS LARGE TRIO LUNCH BOX.

LunchBots is known for their stainless steel Bento box design–a favorite for folks trying to reduce their environmental footprint. They come in a variety of sizes and layouts, but we own the LunchBots Large Trio because it’s got room to pack a full sandwich. (Most of their other sizes don’t.) Here’s our LunchBots Lunch Box Review… 

PRICE: $40.99 each (Buy directly from LunchBots or pick one up at Amazon)

AT A GLANCE: A stainless steel 3-compartment Bento-style box that comes with a stainless steel lid and optional snap-on colorful plastic overlay. The large compartment is big enough to fit a sandwich or generous main dish, with two 3/4-cup side dish compartments on the side.

PROS:

  • Sustainable materials. If you want to avoid all plastic, stainless steel can be a great option. It’s pretty durable, easy to wash, and there are no chemicals to worry about.
  • Streamlined look with a pop of color! The LunchBots boxes have a pretty sleek look. If you want, you can use a colorful clip-on lid color (which my kids like).
  • They’re durable. Stainless steel will last for a long time and can take a bit of a beating (they won’t crack or shatter, just get dents and dings).
  • Easily fits in an insulated lunch box. They’ve got a nice, slim design so you’ll have plenty of room for an ice pack.
  • Work for kids or adults. Michael or I can use these boxes without feeling childish in any way.
  • Dishwasher safe. Super easy to wash!
  • Safe materials. The box itself is made with 100% stainless steel. Optional clip-on lid cover is made from plastic but will not touch any of your food.

CONS

  • Absolutely NOT leakproof. This box isn’t even close to leakproof. There are literally gaps at the bottom between sections and at the corners of each section, so if you pack anything juicy or wet (like dressed salad, pasta with sauce, melon or berries), the juice will leak into other compartments, which can cause sogginess. They recommend these boxes for packing dry foods only, though you can use silicone muffin liners to create your own dividers (like we do).
  • They’re difficult for some kids to open. My 9-year old had no trouble at all opening the LunchBots box, but my 7-year old COULD NOT get it after several minutes of trying and me showing him a few different times how to do it.
  • They’re a bit pricey. Having owned and used both, I’d recommend the Omie Box at this price point. That said, these will definitely last a long time!
WeeSprout Stainless steel bento box with rainier cherries, gluten-free pretzels, ranch dip, and fresh veggies

WEESPROUT LARGE TRIO LUNCH BOX.

WeeSprout stainless steel lunch boxes are a less expensive stainless steel lunch box option. They come in two sizes (small and large). We own the large size because it’s large enough to fit a sandwich. 

PRICE: $24.99-29.99 each (Buy directly from WeeSprout or pick one up at Amazon)

AT A GLANCE: A large stainless steel 3-compartment Bento-style box that comes with a stainless steel lid. The large compartment is big enough to fit a sandwich or generous main dish, with two side dish compartments on the side.

PROS:

  • Sustainable materials. If you want to avoid plastic, stainless steel can be a great option. It’s pretty durable, easy to wash, and there are no chemicals to worry about.
  • Comes with a condiment container. Since these boxes aren’t leakproof, it’s nice that they come with a condiment container. You can easily pack dips or dressings separately to prevent leaks.
  • Larger Size + streamlined look! The WeeSprout lunch box is larger than the LunchBots box, but it doesn’t have a colorful lid option.
  • It’s more affordable. If you want a stainless steel lunch box, the WeeSprout is less expensive and similar in quality.
  • They’re durable. Stainless steel will last for a long time and can take a bit of a beating (they won’t crack or shatter, just get dents and dings).
  • Easily fits in an insulated lunch box. A slim design so you’ll have plenty of room for an ice pack.
  • Work for kids or adults. Just like with the LunchBots box, Michael or I can use these boxes without feeling childish in any way.
  • Dishwasher + freezer safe. Super easy to wash and can also go in the freezer, if you want it to do double-duty as food storage.
  • Safe materials. The box itself is made with 100% stainless steel.

CONS

  • Absolutely NOT leakproof. Again, like the LunchBots box, the WeeSprout bento box isn’t even close to leakproof. There are literally gaps at the bottom between sections and at the corners of each section, so if you pack anything juicy or wet (like dressed salad, pasta with sauce, melon or berries), the juice will leak into other compartments, which can cause sogginess. You can use silicone muffin liners to create your own dividers (like we do) or make use of the included condiment container to corral anything messy.
  • They’re difficult for some kids to open. My 9-year old opened this box without any trouble and actually worried the lid wasn’t perfectly secure, but my 7-year old struggled to get it open.
  • Size is a bit big for some kids. This box is best suited to older kids, teens, and grown-ups, in my opinion, as a lot of smaller portioned items (for younger kids) make the box look empty. We found the kids either overpacked to make it look full or felt like their box was a bit empty.
Blue and Yellow Bentgo lunchbox with cheese, crackers, strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, and trail mix.

BentGo Kids Lunch Box

Bentgo makes cute bento-style lunch boxes in a variety of colors and prints. They’re great for younger kids or kids who prefer to snack and come with more sections to fill than most other boxes we tried. (For older kids, you may like the Bentgo Fresh Lunch Box)

PRICE: $27.99 (Buy it directly from Bentgo or find it on Amazon.)

AT A GLANCE: A 5-compartment Bento-style box with two lid latches designed for kids in the 3-7 range. More compartments mean that each individual compartment is smaller. The left compartment holds 1-cup (about 1/2 sandwich), back compartment holds 1/2 cup, right compartment holds 1/2 cup, front compartment holds 1/4 cup, and sauce/treat section holds 2 Tbsp.

PROS:

  • Individual seals for each section. Food stays separate even when the box gets flipped or jostled (which is great especially for younger kids!).
  • Cute colors + patterns! My kids loved the colorful options available. There are lots of fun colors and prints to choose from!
  • Slim storage. Doesn’t take up much space in a cupboard or drawer, which is nice!
  • Fits in an insulated lunch box.
  • The tray is microwave and dishwasher safe (Top rack only), though hand-washing will extend the life of the box. If you’re packing foods better served warm, you can remove the tray and put it into the microwave!
  • Safe materials. Made with FDA-approved materials, without BPA, vinyl, lead, or PVC.

CONS

  • The lid was a little tricky to open and close. Both my 7 and 9-year-olds struggled to get the lid closed and opening it was also a bit tricky. During one attempt, the box flung open and some of the contents spilled out.
  • Can’t fit a whole sandwich. This box has more compartments, but smaller compartments, so it’s better for kids who like to snack or younger kids. (It’s designed for ages 3-7.) Older kids would be better off with the Bentgo Fresh Lunch Box, which allows for larger portions.
Pretzels in a (Re)Zip reusable snack bag

(RE)ZIP REUSABLE BAGS

We prefer using reusable or sustainable bags when possible + feasible, so I wanted to include a few options in case that helps as you pack lunches + snacks or want to cut down on waste at home. First up are these (Re)Zip Reusable bags. These are marketed to replace 300 plastic bags each! 

PRICE: $19.99 for a pack of 5 or $9.99 for pack of 2. Buy at Amazon or Thrive Market 

AT A GLANCE: (Re)Zip reusable bags come in a variety of sizes. These snack-sized bags are washable and reusable for several months at a time. Great for packing on the go!

PROS:

  • The snack-size bags are a great size for the snacks we send to school with the kids each day.
  • They wash and dry really well. They look pretty much brand new after a few months of regular use. (I hand wash/dry them)
  • Freezer-safe. You can also use these in the freezer! They’re great for muffins, smoothie packs, etc.
  • Easy to order. I can find them at Amazon, or at ThriveMarket.
  • They come in a variety of sizes. You can get snack size, sandwich size, or quart size. (Or a beginner pack with all 3)
  • Price. They’re not too pricey for reusable bags!

CONS:

  • Hard to label. We’ve written the kids’ names on them in permanent marker several times, and it always comes off after a few days. Not a big deal, but is a factor to consider if that’s going to annoy you.
  • Kids sometimes need help to close them. They’re super easy to open, but younger kids (like 5-6) may need help to close them.
Russbe reusable sandwich and snack bags for packing lunches and snacks.

RUSSBE REUSABLE BAGS

We’ve used these Russbe bags for the last 4 years and just LOVE them. I get a new set each year since they tend to wear out after daily use (we use them at least 5 days a week almost every week of the year), but a single set will last our family a whole year.

PRICE: $7.99 for a 2-pack at Amazon or $7.99 for an 8-pack at Target

AT A GLANCE: Russbe reusable bags come in snack or sandwich sizes and are GREAT for packing lunches or snacks. We’ve used them for years!

PROS:

  • They’re cute!: These come in a bunch of cute prints and styles. My kids love that.
  • Long-lasting. We’ve only had one rip in all 4 years we’ve been using them.
  • Easy to Label. I only have to re-label the bags every few months with a permanent marker.
  • Pretty easy to open. They open well for both kids, though there was an initial learning curve when they were 3-4.
  • Easy to order. I get them at Amazon, but I’ve also ordered from their site, which has more choices and sometimes offers sales.
  • Affordable. They range in price (I’ve gotten 4-pack sets for $6-7 and gotten 4-pack sets for $13-14. It just depends on stock.)

CONS: 

  • Sometimes have to pay for shipping. Depending on what’s in stock, you may have to pay for shipping, which increases the overall cost.
  • Kids sometimes need help to close them. Similar to the (Re)Zip bags above, kids sometimes need help to close these when packing. Neither child has had trouble opening them.
  • Availability. I’ve found that the stock isn’t as dependable with these. Sometimes there are a TON of choices, sometimes, the stock is pretty limited.
Stasher bags with sliced apples and cucumbers

STASHER BAGS

We’ve been using these Stasher Bags for the last 2 years or so, and they’re SO HANDY to have in the kitchen. I have the snack size and sandwich bags and really like both. We use them more for the prep side in the kitchen, or for grown-up lunches than for our kids’ lunches, but I wanted to shout them out because they’re so awesome.

PROS:

  • Versatility! These are the most versatile reusable bags I own. They’re made of silicone, so they’re oven, microwave, dishwasher, freezer, and boiling water safe. That means you can use them for steaming veggies, poaching fish, stashing cut veggies, storing a sandwich, freezing smoothie packs, or just about any other kitchen job you can think of!
  • Dishwasher safe – They’re easy to clean. You can put these in the top rack of your dishwasher and they get really clean. I do tend to have to hand dry them, since they’re often still wet inside coming out, but you can absolutely put them in the dishwasher.
  • Variety of sizes – We have these in snack and sandwich size, but I’m planning to pick up a few of the gallon size for putting together freezer meals or freezing leftovers.
  • Made to last. Because they’re silicone, they’re REALLY resilient and made to last. There aren’t any removable parts and it’d be VERY difficult to tear one.

CONS:

  • They can stain. I hate to say it, but they can stain. I have the clear/white ones, so I’m sure it’s more pronounced because of that, but I’ve tried lemon-water, vinegar, soaking, all kinds of things, but they can still stain if you put something highly pigmented in them (berries, watermelon, etc.). Also, I’ve been hand-washing (and drying!) them, but I’ve still got water spots from my (super) hard water. It doesn’t impact their function one bit, but they aren’t as crystal clear perfect as they were when I bought them, which is a bit of a bummer.
  • They can be hard for kids to open. I don’t usually pack these in kids’ lunches because they need help opening them, but they’re AWESOME for storing cut/prepped foods in the fridge/freezer, and Michael and I use them for ourselves all the time.
  • Initial investment. These are one of the pricier bags upfront, but are made to LAST. While you’re paying for them upfront, they’ll save a LOT of bags going forward and be around for a long time.
Candy striped wooden forks and wooden spoons from Sucre Shop.

Wooden Forks/Spoons

Confession: I hate sending my actual utensils to school with my kids. They sometimes accidentally get thrown away or get left behind, they don’t fit well in the kids’ lunch boxes, etc. So, instead of sending plastic ones, we’ve been using wooden/biodegradable ones instead.

You can get a big pack of plain ones, or you can get some cute ones (similar to the ones I showed in my big school lunches post)

PROS:

  • They’re biodegradable. Since we send/pack lunches every day, I feel better about using these than plastic ones when we need to use them.
  • The kids think they’re fun. Especially if you get the striped ones. Cute utensils have talked Sophie into trying different lunch ideas. Don’t underestimate their power 😉
  • One container lasts a long time. We don’t send items that need forks/spoons every day, so we don’t go through them very fast. And, if you only want spoons or only want forks, they’re sold that way, too.

CONS:

  • They are still a disposable item. It’s not a “perfect” eco-friendly solution, but it is a step-up from disposable plastic. You could also look at getting BPA-free plastic utensils that are washable and reusable.
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SHOP ALL OUR FAVORITE KIDS LUNCH BOXES AND BAGS:

6 Comments

  1. I’m so excited for school this year since it’s the first year I’ll get to pack a lunch everyday! I also really love and appreciate how you make me more conscious of my decisions are a consumer in terms of the environment. I’ve always really appreciated that about you. It’s made me think about how I want to have less packaging in my kids lunches this year, and making some of their snacks diy like rice krispies or gummies, so that they’re not putting wrappers in the trash every single day.

    1. Paige – you are the best. Thank you so much for leaving such thoughtful, sincere comments. You brighten my day every time. 🙂

  2. Emily, I have a potentially really dumb question for you…. I love these lunch boxes you posted about! The Omie ones I’m loving! You said that you need an ice pack with it to keep it cold. Does that mean the compartments aren’t individuallly insulated? If I sent a hot soup in the thermos section and then some cold things in the other compartments… Is that why you pack an ice pack? Sorry i know this is probably over complicating it. 😂 ha! Thank you for all you post!!

    1. Not a dumb question! We tried it without an ice pack and found that it was lukewarm at lunch time. However, we’ve found that using an ice pack in the lunchbox hasn’t affected the thermos compartment temperature. Our warm things stay warm while our cold things stay cold! (The little thermos insert creates it’s own little pocket of insulation)

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