Aside from finding your kids the perfect backpack, lunchboxes are the next essential for the back-to-school season. We know this year feels a bit different, but even if your little one is leaning at home, keep a routine by packing them a lunch.
There are so many options on the market that it can be difficult to narrow down, but consider what will help to simplify those hectic mornings when you're getting everything together. A few key tips to keep in mind: Insulation must be good to keep food cold, it should be practical and easily hook onto the backpack (or in it) so your little one doesn't lose it, and durable enough to last the entire school year—or longer!
Here are our favorite options for this season:
Ekobo insulated lunch bag
We love this for both big and little lunch packers. It has a modern shape, but doesn't skimp on functionality—plenty of pocket space for endless snacks and even includes loops for cutlery. Plus, it's made from recycled bottles. We might get one for ourselves, too.
Bamboo square bento box
Opting for homeschool or virtual sessions this year? No worries, mama. Keep all of the snacks ready to go with the removable containers. Swap out one to add a sandwich or keep them both out for easy mealtime. Picky palates, meet your match.
Bamboo rectangular bento box
Whether they're heading back to in-person school or taking virtual lessons, your little's food will be ready-to-eat with this larger style bento box. Perfect for those picky eaters who don't want foods touching or grazers who prefer to pick through different options at lunchtime. The best part? The top doubles as a plate when it's time to eat to help you cut back on dishes.
Funkins insulated kids tote bag
Not only does Funkins have adorable designs your kid will adore, but they're a mom-owned company so they're exactly what kids need for school. They're insulated, machine-washable, expandable to fit various containers, and include an interior pocket to hold notes or utensils. Plus, they're stain, tear and water-resistant and fold flat for storage.
Love Mae betno box
These bento-style lunchboxes don't sacrifice on style or practicality. They're dishwasher friendly, 100% recyclable, and toxic free. The leak-proof set includes two mini containers to use for dippings or smaller snacks. They also offer insulated cooler bags.
Pottery Barn Kids customized tote
Ultra-durable, these bags are made to last for years. They're weather-resistant, have an exterior mesh pocket for water bottles, and sit upright so food or drinks won't topple over. We love that it can piggyback on other PBK backpacks for easy transportation. Oh, and we highly recommend getting your child's name monogrammed for the ultimate personalization.
PackIt freezable lunch tote
PackIt lunch bags fold up up flat and has cooling technology built in so it's a freezer bag on its own—no need to remember to pack ice packs, mama! Simply place it in the freezer each night and it'll be ready to go for your kids' lunch. The buckle handle clips onto backpacks and it features a zip top to keep everything inside fresh.
Skip Hop Kids lunchbox
For the younger kids, the Skip Hop Zoo collection features adorable animal designs. We love the unicorn one. 🦄They're roomy, insulated and easy to clean for those inevitable messes. It has an interior mesh pocket inside, great for storing utensils, notes from mama and dad, or napkins.
Boon Bento is perfect for preschoolers for its size and easy-to-use clasp for small hands. The exterior design is silicone that stretches for storage, whether that be a fork or spoon, or a sweet note. The inside is built like a bento box, where you can separate foods with removable compartments. It includes a freezer pack to keep everything cool and the textured surface is perfect for writing your little's name.
Pottery Barn Kids retro lunch bag
The retro lunch bags are smaller and more compact than most lunchboxes, making them easier to tote around for smaller hands. But, it's still spacious enough to fit multiple small storage containers and a small bottle. The clasp at the top easily hooks on to backpacks.
L.L. Bean softpack cooler
For your little who needs to squeeze a lunchbox into any and every bag, the softpack cooler is ideal. It folds down so you can store it away in the pantry, while still being durable for rough hands. The top handle is easy to grip and the bag is lightweight enough for the smallest of kiddos.
Garnet Hill eco lunch box
These lunch packs are sturdy, beautifully designed and has a spot for everything your child might need. If they need to store lunch money, there's a back Velcro pocket and there's enough space for a 20 oz. water bottle. Each pack recycles 4.5 water bottles. We love these reusable snack and sandwich bags, too.
We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.