You don’t know the meaning of a long lunch until you’ve eaten with a toddler. Inevitably, their favorite snack yesterday is their most loathed enemy today, and don’t even think about letting any of the foods on their plate come close to touching each other unless you’re prepared to deal with a meltdown of epic proportions. The saga doesn’t end once your kids go to daycare or school either, because then you have to strategically pack a lunch, and just hope for the best.
Half the battle of getting your tots to eat their lunch is to prep it properly, and choosing the right lunch box is key. It needs to be easy to open and close, be sturdy, keep food fresh, and, for your sanity, be cleanable without a ton of effort. Whether your kid wants something a little fun, or a container that keeps all their food groups separated, here are 15 of the best toddler lunch boxes to make mealtime a little easier for them (and you).
Bento Boxes and Food Containers for Toddlers
This drop-proof BPA-free bento box has rubber coated edges and five compartments for food — your toddler is bound to eat at least one of the things you pack. The compartment tray is also removable for easy cleaning and the latches are easy to open and close for little hands.
Lightweight with an easy to open and close latch, the Yumbox bento box has five 1/2 cup compartments so even the pickiest toddler can have a variety of foods for lunch. The removable tray is easy to rinse off as well.
This lunch box has a removable thermos insert, so in addition to their regular foods, you can also pack a warm lunch for your little one. While the thermos is leakproof, we can’t promise it will prevent your kid from making a mess at lunch.
This BPA-free lunch box is microwavable and has a secure but kid-friendly cover to prevent leaks. It also has three compartments for an assortment of foods.
If you’re looking for a non-plastic option, try a stainless steel lunch box. The LunchBots small bento box is ideal for packing toddler-sized portions of four different snacks. It’s not leakproof, but it’s dishwasher safe and super durable.
Simple and functional, EasyLunchboxes come in a set of four BPA-free, easy-to-open containers. The boxes each have three compartments and are stackable and microwavable.
DaCool Bento Boxes have an inner insert and partitioned lid to keep food in its place. The inner box has five compartments and can be removed and put in the microwave, and the edge has rubber coating for easy gripping.
If you’re lucky enough to have a child that only requires one main course for lunch, a food jar will do the trick. This double walled stainless steel container will keep food warm for up to five hours. The lid has a rubber grip and a there’s a wide opening to make it easier for kids to use.
Mix and match these containers that snap to reusable freezer packs and to each other. The kit comes with two snack containers, one side container, one sandwich container, and one blue ice.
Lunch Bags, Boxes and Totes for Toddlers
For the kids who can’t put down their LEGOs, let them bring their favorite toy to school. This LEGO lunch box has one main compartment to store food and will make lunchtime so much more fun.
Send your tot to school with a lunchtime friend. These adorable animal lunch bags (comes in narwhal, dinosaur, dragon unicorn, and more) are insulated to keep food and drinks cool, and the top handle can clip on to any backpack for safekeeping.
Wildkin’s insulated lunch bags come in a variety of colorful patterns and are spacious enough to fit lunch and a snack or two. There’s a convenient top carry handle and the fabric is both durable and easy to clean.
There’s freezable gel built into this insulated lunch bag. Just store it in the freezer overnight and it will keep your toddler’s favorite foods and drinks cool without having to use a separate ice pack. There’s also a zip-top closure and water-resistant lining inside.
A lightweight, stretchy neoprene lunch tote is easy to carry for little tots. And best of all, once it gets dirty (and it will get dirty), you can toss it into the wash with the rest of your laundry.
Your toddler will be more than excited to bring their lunch to school in a Paw Patrol or Frozen-themed soft lunch box. The box is insulated and has padded carrying handles, and there are numerous screen printed graphics to choose from.
Need more things for your little ones? Check out top kids gear picks here.