13 Best Toddler Lunch Boxes [Easy Containers, Bento Boxes, Utensils, + More!]

When it comes to selecting the best toddler lunch box there are tons of options on the market. You'll want something that's durable and features easy open containers for daycare and preschool.

We've rounded up the best preschool lunchbox for kids from bento boxes with built in containers to insulated lunch bags you can fill with our favorite food storage containers, utensils, and cooling packs. Plus discover tips for choosing the best lunch box for your toddler!

Table Of Contents
  1. Best Lunch Box For Toddlers:
  2. Best Bento Lunch Boxes For Toddlers:
  3. Best Lunch Bags For Toddlers
  4. Best Kids Lunch Containers
  5. Toddler Lunch Box Accessories:
  6. How To Choose The Best Toddler Lunch Box:
  7. FAQS About Toddler Lunch Boxes
  8. Final Thoughts/ Top Picks:
  9. Best Toddler Lunch Box Picks:

Best Bento Lunch Boxes For Toddlers:

Best Overall: Bentgo Kids Lunch Boxes ★★★★★

Bentgo Boxes are definitely considered one of the best overall bento lunch boxes for toddlers thanks to their easy open design, spill proof compartments, and versatility. The Leak proof 5 compartment is the most popular and our personal favorite, but if you want an insulated cooling pack they offer the  Bentgo® Kids Chill Lunch Box you might want to consider instead.

Lastly, they do have an All-in-One Stackable Bento Lunch Box Container set that does include cutlery, but we found the rubber band design a little to cumbersome for preschool lunch boxes and would probably be better suited for 7 or 8 year olds.

Here's a deeper look at our top 2 Bentgo picks:

We have two of these and they are fantastic. Thanks to their ample built in containers and depth, we find that it's all we need for our preschoolers snack time and lunch. It's fully leak proof so there's no concern when packing applesauce, yogurt, or dipping sauces.

Plus toddlers will appreciate the slew of fun prints and easy open clasps. It does take a little practice for younger toddlers to understand how to press the flip top the lid down and pull it open without stuff flying everywhere, but they do get the hang out of it pretty quickly.

Keys Features
  • Container Dimensions: 8.5” x 6.5” x 2”
  • Compartment Capacity: Left: 1 cup; Back: 1/2 cup; Right: 1/2 cup; Front: 1/4 cup; Sauce: 2 tbsp
  • Weight: 1 lb. 4 oz.
  • Bentgo Kids Prints lunch boxes are made of FDA food-grade materials without BPA, vinyl, lead, or PVC.
  • 2 year warranty
  • Microwave and dishwasher safe tray
  • 15+ prints and colors
Good To Know
  • Bentgo® Kids does NOT fit in the Bentgo® Insulated Bag but it does fit on it's own into most toddler backpacks so there's really no need for an additional lunch box in our experience
  • Rubber coated edges for added durability if dropped
  • Not insulated

 Bentgo® Kids Chill Lunch Box ★★★★

The Bentgo® Kids Chill Lunch Box features the same leak proof, secure, yet easy open lock design, and rubberized crash proof edging as the previous pick.

However it has only four compartments instead of 5 and it includes an optional ice pack to keep food cool for longer.

As with all Bentgo products, it comes in a wide variety of colors and prints.

Keys Features
  • Size: 8.9” x 5.2” x 2”
  • Compartment Capacities: 1 ⅓ cup (main compartment); 1 cup (top right); Approx. ½ cup (bottom middle); Approx. ½ cup (bottom right)
  • Weight: 1.7 lbs
  • Bentgo Kids Prints lunch boxes are made of FDA food-grade materials without BPA, vinyl, lead, or PVC.
  • 2 year warranty
  • Microwave and dishwasher safe tray
  • 5+ prints and colors
Good To Know
  • Insulation needs to be frozen
  • If your child likes dips, you may need to pack a separate spill proof container for them

Best for hot + cold lunches: OmieBox ★★★★★

For parents that like to switch it up, you’ll appreciate the OmieBox. Along with three dedicated food compartments, you also get a removable leak-proof 8.5-ounce thermos that saves you money from needing to buy an additional thermos. OmieBox is the best bento box for kids with a thermos that allows parents to pack both hot & cold food together

How it works: The insulated lunch box is great for cold food, and then the leak-proof thermos can be used to store hot food.

It also features a handle, making it the ultimate modern day lunch pail.

This fits nicely into one of the compartments, or can be packed separately if you prefer to use that compartment for more food (so ultimately you're getting a lunch box and a thermos container that can fit into the lunch box).

Additionally, there is a little divider included if you want for one of the compartments to make it four sections.

Keys Features
  • 7.5” x 8.5”
  • 3 built-in compartments — 2 side & 1 main
  • BPA-free plastic material
  • Insulated for hot & cold
  • Removable 8.5oz stainless steel thermos
  • Leak proof
  • Comes apart/easy to clean
  • Weight: 1.7 lbs
  • Comes in green, blue, purple, pink, and yellow
Good To Know
  • Utensils set and lunch bag sold separately
  • Ultimately getting 5 areas for food; 3 main compartments, with 1 divider and a thermos which fits into one of the 3 compartments or can be packed separately.
  • Only bento box for kids that allows you to pack both hot and cold food at once!


Best Stainless Steel Bento Box: Lunchbots ★★★

Lunchbots is our top pick for stainless steel bento boxes for preschoolers. We found it much easier to open and more lightweight compared to the popular PlanetBox Rover lunch box and more durable than WeeSprouts lunch tin.

Lunchbots come in a variety of sizes, we do not suggest the four compartment “small protein packer” for toddlers though as the compartments are to small for leak proof dip cups and toddlers will likely grow out of it fairly quickly.

You can purchase leakproof dip cups that fit in the compartments separately here. The LunchBot lids are completely removable, so make sure to label it as well as the base for preschool so toddlers don't lose it.

Keys Features
  • Stainless steel material
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Completely removable lid
  • Dimensions vary depending on style
  • Weight: 8 to 10 oz depending on style
Good To Know
  • Airtight to keep food fresh, but not leak proof so wet foods without a sub container/lid aren't advised
  • Leakproof dip cups sold separately
  • Lunchbots offers larger lunch boxes as well (check them out here) if you find this is too small

Easiest Open: UMAMI Bento Lunch Box KIDS With Cutlery ★★★

The Umami bento box is the easiest open bento box for preschoolers. Simply press the single-button top latch to open, and fold ti close.

Beyond that, this pick includes cutlery and a leak proof design. This bento lunch box for toddlers has three compartments — two for sides and a main section.

NOTE: It's not as durable as the Bentgo boxes with their shockproof edging and the easy open lid does create a little weakness in the design compared to the sturdier frames on this list.

Keys Features
  • 100% leak proof
  • Dishwasher, microwave, & freezer safe
  • Comes with plastic utensils set
  • Leakproof inner lid
  • Removable tray
  • Dimensions: 8.27” x 7.2” x 2.6”
Good To Know
  • Not insulated
  • Not as durable/higher potential to break than others on the list

Largest: Munchkin Bento Box Toddler Lunch Box ★★★

Munchkin is a fan favorite for parents of toddlers and preschoolers because of their kid-friendly designs and functional product offerings, including their Bento Box Toddler Lunch box which is actually large enough to grow with your toddler beyond the preschool years!

Their bento box comes with five interior compartments, metal cutlery, and an easy snap-close lid and built-in strap.

The interior of the lid features a removable insert that also holds the utensils. And it’s dishwasher-safe.

Keys Features
  • 5 compartments: 1 main, 4 sides
  • Comes with utensils
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Made from BPA-free plastic (utensils are stainless steel)
  • Dimensions: 9.25” x 8.9” x 3.25”
  • Weighs 1.3 Pounds
  • Comes in 2 colors
Good To Know
  • Not leakproof
  • Not insulated for hot/cold foods
  • Cannot purchase replacement utensils to fit in bento box, however the handle does make it compatible with Omie's utensils set
  • Main compartment works as a sandwich container
  • Clasp may be difficult for young toddlers

Most Affordable: EasyLunchboxes® Bento Snack Boxes ★★

Whether your toddler tends to lose items, you have multiple kids, or you're simply looking for an cheap lunch box the EasyLunchboxes® Bento Snack Boxes are a great pick and can double as everyday tupperware.

For about $3 each, this set includes four reusable snack boxes. Each container features four equally portioned compartments that fit about a half a cup of food.

And thanks to the molded lid, these can be conveniently nested for easy storage. While they’re not leakproof, they are microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safe.

Keys Features
  • Set of 4 stackable bento lunch boxes
  • BPA-free plastic tupperware
  • 4 half cup sized compartments
  • Dishwasher, microwave, & freezer safe
  • Dimensions: 6.5” x 6” x 2”
  • Comes in four color options
Good To Know
  • Not leakproof
  • Pull tab on lids may break after a while and no option to purchase replacement lids

Pottery Barn Mackenzie Lunch Box Bags

For parents that prefer the customization of a lunch bag, take it a step further by personalizing it with your child’s name. The Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie Lunch Boxes are available in a wide array of patterns and solid hues as well as multiple configurations depending on your lunch packing style:

You can further complement your child’s personality by personalizing it as well. Depending on the specific style you pick, you’ll get a roomy interior, carrying handle, mesh pocket, and/or cold pack.

Other configurations include exterior pockets for a thermos (not included) and additional straps to wear the lunch bag as a crossbody. The exterior is made from 600-denier polyester while the interior is made from easy to clean food-safe PEVA.

It comes in over 21 prints to choose from, including character favorites and glow in the dark options:

Keys Features
  • Available in 5 configurations
  • Compatible with PBK Mackenzie rolling backpack
  • Designed for easy wipe down
  • Polyester shell, PEVA interior
  • Large easy pull zippers
Good To Know
  • Cold pack fits in compartment so you don't have to worry about toddler taking it out and leaving it at school
  • Multiple pockets/sections for bento boxes, quick snacks, cold pack, and silverware storage
  • Durable easy to clean design meant to last for years
  • Matching backpacks, thermos, and water bottle often available

Skip Hop Zoo Lunchie Kids Lunch Box

For parents that want to capture preschool stage cuteness for a little bit longer, the Skip Hop Zoo Lunchie Kids Lunch Box is a great option.

These insulated lunch bags are designed with a roomy main compartment that can accommodate ice packs, thermoses and larger interior containers. While the exterior is made from a soft material, the interior has an easy to wipe clean surface. There’s also an interior nametag, top handle and a clip to attach to a backpack.

The Skip Hop Zoo Lunchie Kids Lunch bag comes in two styles: a zippered bag or a fold over top reminiscent of the old school brown bag. Both styles are insulated and easy to open for kids.

Keys Features
  • Zippered bag dimensions: 9” x 3.25” x 7.5”
  • Folder over bag dimensions (inches): 7L x 4.25W x 9.5H
  • Mesh side bottle pocket
  • Easy open designs
  • Easy-grab carrying handle and clip to attached to backpack
  • Phthalate-free
  • Insulated
  • Can be wiped clean
  • Single compartment design
Good To Know
  • Matching lunch items (thermos, bottle, lunch kit) can be purchased separately
  • Available in 20 character designs (not all sold at same retailers)

L.L. Bean

It doesn’t get more durable than L.L. Bean, which is why their lunch box is a great option if you want something that’s going to last more than a few months.

This sturdy insulated lunch bag features a main interior compartment with a mesh pocket in the lid. Meanwhile, there’s a zipped pocket on the exterior for quick access and a reinforced handle.

This pick comes in black, pink, red, several shades of blue, and green. You can also add monogramming if you'd like!

Keys Features
  • Dimensions: 7” x 3.75” x 9.5”
  • Capacity: Approx. 288 cu. in., 5 L.
  • Weight: 6 oz
  • Woven exterior wipe clean interior 
  • Tested safe for lead, phthalates, PVC and BPA.
  • Internal mesh pocket fits ice pack
  • Insulated
  • Durable
Good To Know
  • Comes in 8 colors, but no playful prints
  • Can be monogrammed

Wildkin Insulated Lunch Box for Boys and Girls

When you’re looking for a simple lunch bag that’s easy for little ones to manage but is also sturdy, the Wildkin (aka Olive Kids) Insulated Lunch Box is a great choice.

This BPA and phthalate free soft-sided pick comes with a PEVA food-safe liner that's easy to wipe clean. It features a roomy main compartment, with an interior mesh pocket for an ice pack and elastic for a water bottle, as well as an easy access front pocket.

There’s a wide selection of over 40 prints that they have broken down into two listings, one for more traditionally boy themes and the other for more traditionally feminine ones.

Keys Features
  • Insulated
  • BPA-free, phthalate-free
  • PEVA-safe food liner to easy wipe clean design
  • Main interior compartment with mesh pocket & exterior zippered pocket
  • Dimensions: 9.75” x 7” x 3.25”
Good To Know
  • Over 40 prints to choose from
  • Matching backpack and water bottle available
  • Does not fit a water bottle and standard bento box at the same time
  • This brand also goes by “Olive Kids”

Simple Modern Kids Lunch Box

For parents that prefer a slightly roomier lunch bag that can accommodate more containers, the Simple Modern Lunch Box is a great pick.

This triple insulated lunch bag has a roomy interior main compartment with reinforced stitching and a snap buckle handle for added durability.

Kids will appreciate that it comes in over 35 vibrant prints, including popular Disney themes from classic Mickey and Minnie to Moana and Star Wars, here are just a few:

Keys Features
  • Dimensions: 10.2” x 8.2” x 3.7”
  • Polyester exterior, food-safe interior
  • Interior features mesh zippered pocket and elastic water bottle strap
  • Hand wash only with soap and water
  • Triple insulated
  • Available in 36 prints
Good To Know
  • Can purchase matching accessories like water bottles, reusable snack bags and food pouches, backpacks, and more here.

BentGo Kids Lunch Bag

Bentgo is clearly a leader in the kids lunch space, so obviously their lunch bag is expertly designed. It's one of the roomiest toddler lunch bags on the market, with 3 carrying positions so toddlers can easily maneuver it on their own.

It features an adjustable buckle handle at the top that can clip onto a backpack or be held traditionally, a padded carrying handle along the horizontal side, and an adjustable carrying strap for crossbody or over the shoulder wearing.

Additionally, it features an exterior mesh pocket for drinks, interior mesh zippered pocket, and double insulation. Available in 12 cute prints, the fabric is made from non-toxic and BPA-free nylon EVA polyester and is water-resistant for easy cleaning and durability.

Keys Features
  • Made from non-toxic and BPA-free nylon EVA polyester and is water-resistant
  • Double insulated
  • Mesh side pocket and interior pocket
  • Reinforced construction for added durability
  • 3 Carrying positions
  • Dimensions: 13.07” x 11.61” x 4.06”
Good To Know
  • Can purchase matching water bottles, backpacks, and bentgo boxes here.
  • Big enough interior for a bento box, water bottle, and ice packs

Wee Sprouts Stainless Steel Food Containers ★★★★★

Whether you are looking for snack containers, a leakproof option to go along with a bento box, or just separating foods in a lunch bag, the WeeSprout Stainless Steel Food Storage Containers are a great set of easily opened lunch containers for toddlers.

These come with three different size tin containers that can be nested for easy storage when not in use. They come with easy open tabbed silicone lids and are leakproof.

Keys Features
  • 18/8 stainless steel + food-grade silicone lids
  • 150ml, 200ml, & 400ml sizes
  • Leakproof lids
  • Can be used for wet or dry foods
  • Freezer and dishwasher safe
  • Stain and rust resistant
Good To Know
  • Not insulated but stainless steel preserves heat or cold for a while
  • It comes with silicone OR stainless steel lids, for toddlers we only recommend the silicone lid for an easy open
  • Lids can be a little finicky on some sets with some reviewers having 2 very different experiences where the lids were too tight and needed to be open/closed several times until they were easy open and others found the lids to be too big so we recommend double checking for leaks upon receiving

Sistema Lunch Collection Food storage containers ★★★★

If you prefer a cheaper plastic easy open container for toddlers, the Sistema Lunch Collection features phthalate and BPA free plastic and is made in New Zealand.

We like that these food storage containers feature large, easy to use snaps for toddlers. Additionally, the low profile easily fits in most toddler lunch boxes.

These are dishwasher safe (top rack only), freezer safe, and microwave safe (without the lid). When not in use, they can be stacked for easy storage. And the transparent design makes it easy to identify what’s in which container.

NOTE: These are small snack containers not designed to fit even half a sandwich. If you like the klip it system and want something larger we suggest this set instead.

Keys Features
  • Set of 3 6.7oz containers
  • BPA- & phthalate-free plastic
  • dishwasher , freezer, & microwave safe
  • Stackable for easy storage
Good To Know
  • Lacks multiple compartments
  • Not leakproof
  • No shock absorb for durability if dropped
  • These are small snack containers and won't fit a half sandwich. If you want a sandwich containers they also make these.

Skip Hop Toddler Stainless Steel Lunch Box Kit

While we are typically fans of Skip Hop, we do want to note that we don't recommend their Stainless Steel Lunch Box Kit.

While it does combine the easy open clips of the Sistema collection previously mentioned with the benefits of stainless steel from WeeSprouts, with the added bonus of cute designs, we can't recommend it due to the rubber ring inside. It's actually quite hard to open and close and prone ot breaking.

If you do want to take your chances on this set because your toddler is obsessed with a particular character from the Zoo Collection, know these can be used separately or stacked. We suggest keeping the receipt though.

Keys Features
  • Stainless steel & BPA-free plastic
  • Leakproof
  • Interlocking nested design
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Designed to match Zoo Lunchie lunch bags
  • 4” 4.75” x 5.3”
Good To Know
  • Rubber ring makes open/closing hard and breaks easily
  • Can be used separately or together
  • Can purchase matching backpack, lunch bag, and water bottle

OmieBox OmieGo Connecting Bento Box Food Storage Containers | Snack Container ★★★

Stackable, or interlocking containers is a great way to save space and ensure that you don’t misplace anything or food containers don't jiggle all around a toddler's backpack or lunch box. The OmieGo Food Storage Containers are a versatile way to create a bento box or just use an additional snack container when using a lunch bag or just a backpack.

The containers feature easy open clips, that can then be slid into various configurations to keep them all together. The slide on interlocking design may be a little hard for toddlers to assemble once they finish eating, but parents can easily interlock them when full of food going into a school bag.

Additionally, these are 100% leakproof, microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe, and made from BPA-free plastic.

Keys Features
  • 3pc set — two 9oz, one 22oz
  • BPA-free plastic
  • Leakproof
  • Stackable/snap together in any configuration
  • Dishwasher, microwave, & freezer safe
  • 7” x 5.5” (when fully assembled)
Good To Know

THERMOS FUNTAINER 10 Ounce Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Kids Food Jar with Folding Spoon ★★★★

When you want a container that you’re confident won’t leak yet is also insulated, you go with the classics. Thermos’ Funtainer is a 10-ounce stainless steel vacuum insulated container designed to hold smaller portions that are perfect for toddlers.

It comes with a folding spoon and an easy push-button trigger to open the lid and remove it.

Available in 14 styles (solid colors and themed prints like Paw Patrol and Frozen), it keeps food hot for up to five hours and cold for up to seven hours.

Keys Features
  • Stainless steel and BPA-free plastic
  • Insulated and leakproof
  • Holds 10oz 
  • Comes with folding spoon and built-in lid storage
  • Dishwasher safe (top rack)
Good To Know
  • Shock absorb edging for added durability
  • Add boiling water to container for 10 min or so before adding hot food to fully maximize heat retention

Silicone Cups Inside Bento Boxes + Food containers

If you have a bento box or large food container that doesn't have enough sections for all the foods you'd like to pack, having a set of these silicone cups on hand can be extremely helpful!

In the 24 piece set of food grade silicone, BPA free cups you'll get four different shapes. These are also heat resistant and safe for use in the oven, microwave, dishwasher, or freezer.

OXO On The Go Fork + Spoon Set

The OXO on the go fork and spoon set comes with a little carrying case to keep your child's cutlery clean on the way to school and keep their lunch bag from getting dirty with the used silverware.

This toddler sized stainless steel fork and spoon set features no sharp edges for safety, and non slip colored backs.

The case measures in at about 5.75″ T x 2.8″ W and the silverware comes in 3 colors, pink, blue, and teal with white tops.

OmieBox Kids Utensils Set with Case 

While I personally prefer the stainless steel fork and spoon from OXO, I can't leave OmieBox's utensil set off this list thanks to their smart design.

You get a BPA free fork and spoon that actually nest together then fit snugly into a little carrying pod they can't fall out of.

The fork and spoon feature a finger guide encouraging proper grip.

The pod simply loops onto a handle of any lunch box or container that your child can easily pop the silverware in and out of. Lastly, you can choose from five color combinations.

 Fit + Fresh Slim Ice Packs

Keeping your toddlers food cold is typically a top concern for many parents and the Fit + Fresh Slim Ice packs are a great size for most toddler lunch bags.

These ice packs come in a set of four and you can choose from three fun characters: butterflies, penguins, or owls.

Depending on the animal you choose, the measurements will vary, but they are all 1/4-1/2″ thick making them small enough to fit in a fully packed lunch bag; and vary between 3″ x 5″ tall and wide.

NOTE: We found these created the coolest lunch box compared to the Bentgo Buddies, but depending on your child's lunch you may need to pack 2 no matter which brand you go with due to the ultra slim design.

How To Choose The Best Toddler Lunch Box:

Picking the right toddler lunch box is equal parts adorable and a test in practicality. While you want to find a solution that’s durable and functional, there’s also a cuteness factor in seeing your little one carry their cute box into daycare or preschool. Keep the following considerations as you shop for a toddler lunch box. 

Style

Typically toddler lunch boxes come in two configurations, lunch bags or bento boxes. There’s no right or wrong answer here, but you’ll need to consider which option you find more convenient. 

Lunch bag

With a lunch bag, it’s essentially an empty soft-sided container where you then either use sandwich bags or smaller containers to keep food separate. The upside is that if the bag is roomy enough, you’ll have plenty of flexibility regarding what can be stored inside (thermos/refillable water bottles, smaller containers, utensils, etc.). 

Alternatively, the lack of dedicated compartments or storage means you need to supply them. And if you lose any containers, then you have the added cost of replacing them. You’ll also want to ensure that the lunch bags exterior is sturdy enough that the contents won’t get squished.

Bento Box

In contrast, a bento box is usually a hard-sided container designed with built-in compartments and may even have a separate section dedicated to utensils. This can be ideal if you’re trying to cut down on clutter since usually the container is designed so that once the lid is closed, all compartments are securely separated and you're done. This can be a great pick for toddlers whose backpacks are generally empty as you don't need anything else.

With that said, bento boxes aren't always the perfect solution. Some bento box options aren't suitable for keeping foods particularly hot or cold. Others don't have the right sized compartments for what you're packing, and you'll likely need at least 2 bento boxes or you'll be washing, drying, and repacking the same one every day.

Ease of Maintenance

Once you’ve settled on a style, think about how easily you can keep your child’s lunch box clean. Since most lunch boxes are soft sided, you should confirm that you can easily wipe the surfaces clean. And depending on the construction (i.e. materials that keep foods cold or warm), they may or may not be machine washable. 

For bento boxes, check to see if the container is dishwasher safe. And, also consider whether the compartments are removable — which can be helpful if you only need to clean an individual section or tray. 

Durability

Along with a lunch box that’s easy to clean, you want something that’s designed to last and is durable.

If purchasing a pricier lunch box, like a bento box, you'll definitely want to make sure it has a shock absorbing outer shell to stand up to being dropped or pushed off a table. 

Additionally, consider whether your toddler lunch box is leakproof. The last thing you want is to find that a juice box leaked onto other items outside of the lunch box. 

Toddler-friendly

While you want a lunch box that’s durable, your toddler ideally be able to easily manage opening and closing the lunch box or interior compartments if it’s a bento box.

Be sure that any closures are secure when activated, but that little hands can still open them without needing a teacher’s assistance. Likewise, make sure that there aren’t any pinch points such as exposed lid hinges. 

With all of that said, your toddler may not be able to open things on their own right away and that's okay! Teachers will help them, but it's also a good idea to practice at home!

Accessories

While not a requirement, it’s always good to consider whether or not your toddler’s lunch box comes with accessories.

Some popular brands like Bentgo, Skip Hop, and Omiebox tend to have additional accessories like water bottles, reusable ice packs, utensils, and even matching backpacks.

Design

When it comes to design there's a few things to consider: print, insulation, and storage capacity.

Toddlers are coming into their own personalities and going through a lot of change. Allowing them to express themselves through their lunch boxes is a great way to give them a bit of autonomy while embarking on new adventures of preschool.

Beyond that, consider how much can fit in the lunch bag and whether or not it's insulated. Look for things like a mesh exterior pocket or an interior strap to keep a beverage in place. An interior mesh zippered pocket is also a great bonus for packing ice packs if you tend to pack perishables in your lunch box.

FAQS About Toddler Lunch Boxes

What type of lunch box should I buy for my toddler?

Ultimately you need to think about which lunch box style is most appealing to you — both in terms of design and functionality. The most common options for a reusable lunch box are bento boxes and lunch bags. 

Lunch bags can offer more versatility since you can use different containers or even sandwich/snack bags to organize individual food items inside of it as well as additional insulation or room for cooling packs.

Meanwhile, a bento box offers built-in compartments — meaning that you don’t have to purchase additional bags or containers to pack your child’s lunch and they're less likely to misplace things.

What does the ideal lunch box for toddlers include?

The ideal lunch box for toddlers easily opens, is durable, and has enough room for various snacks and a well balanced meal.

If you tend to pack foods that need to be kept cold or hot, then insulation is a top priority. Additionally, if you plan to have your child carry the lunch box separately from their lunch bag it will need a comfortable handle; don't just assume clipping it onto their backpack will work! You don't want their back to get too overloaded.

Lastly, some lunch boxes include moveable dividers, ice packs, mesh side pockets or elastic straps inside for a beverage, and even utensils. While all of these features are nice, you can also purchase these items separately and add them onto most lunch boxes if the need arises.

What material is best for a lunch box?

You’re going to want to focus on durability and easy maintenance. As a baseline, always focus on lunch boxes made from materials that are free from BPA, PVC, and other known toxic materials like lead or phthalates. 

Look for picks that are easy to keep clean. With lunch bags, this means you should be able to wipe them down between uses to quickly clean any stains or interior drips that might happen. With bento boxes, you’ll want to either confirm that the material is dishwasher safe, or that it can easily be cleaned by hand and keep an eye out for any areas moisture can get trapped and turn into mildew or mold!

Are bento boxes good for toddlers?

Bento boxes are great for toddlers who like variety in their lunch.

Ultimately though it depends on the bento box. Some are leakproof and include space for dips, which we highly recommend. Others aren't leakproof and you may need additional leakproof containers to go inside the divided sections if packing yogurt, applesauce, or anything else that could spill.

Additionally, finding a bento box that is age-appropriate and features snaps or closures that are easy for your toddler to manage is helpful. However, most preschool teachers will help the kids open their lunches in the early years so don't be deterred if your 2 or 3 year old hasn't mastered opening and closing it independently yet. Just keep practicing!

How many lunch boxes do I need to buy?

If using a lunch bag, you'll want to have 2-3 spares beyond what you typically use each day. If using a bento box, you can get away with one lunch box, it’s not a bad idea to invest in two or three.

This is because the day is going to come where you forget to clean your child’s lunch box one night. And when you’re trying to get everyone out the door in the morning, the last thing you want is to discover part of yesterday’s uneaten lunch when you’re trying to pack today’s lunch.

Having more than one lunch box/food container set means, you can quickly grab an empty (and clean) one and get your little one out the door. 

What other accessories do I need for my toddlers lunchbox?

Aside from a toddlers lunch box you will need a name tag. We like these ones which are highly durable, even through the daily washing or the dishwasher and they are small enough to individually label silverware if you pack those as well.

Beyond labels for your toddler's reusable lunch items, it will ultimately depend on your unique needs. Some things to consider:

  • Thermos
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Silicone cup dividers
  • Snack cups
  • Ice packs
  • Utensils
  • Leak proof dip containers

A thermos is a great pick if you tend to pack hot/cold items that need the additional insulation and provides a bit more freedom when choosing a lunch bag.

Reusable water bottles are always a smart choice and kids tend to love the fun prints.

Silicone cup dividers can provide additional sections in bento boxes or large food containers. Additionally smaller snack cups can come in handy if the child's class does snack time and you don't want them to open their entire lunch first thing in the morning.

How do you pack a lunch box for a daycare? 

You should pack a healthy lunch that provides proper nutrition for your toddler. Stick to finger foods that are easy for little hands to manage. And focus on a balanced meal of fat, protein, and healthy carbs like fruit.

While teachers will often help open food containers and lunches at daycare, you'll want to make sure food is appropriately cut and no choking hazards are included.

Lastly, check with the daycare or preschool to make sure there aren't any rules around what can/can't be pack. For instance, many places these days are nut free.

What to put in a toddlers lunch box:

In most cases, you'll want to pack a morning snack in addition to your toddler's lunch.

Beyond that, a napkin, utensils, and ice pack can make for a more comfortable experience. And of course, a cute little drawing or momento showing you're thinking of them can be a fun surprise.

Best lunch box ideas for toddlers:

We know how tiring it can be to pack a lunch every day! One little tip is to include your toddler in packing their lunch the night before or morning of, if time permits. But here are some ideas:

  • Cheese and meat stick with crackers and fruit
  • Yogurt, fruit, and veggies
  • Veggie muffins, cottage cheese, and fruit
  • Leftover pasta, pancake, or waffles with cheese and fruit or root veggies

As a healthier alternative to chips you can try dried fruit for the crunch, and instead of prepackaged gummy snacks, you can make your own immune boosting gummies (recipe here).

Toddlers tend to thrive on protein, fats, and carbs so cheese, meat, fruit, and root vegetables will be on rotation most likely!

Final Thoughts/ Top Picks:

Finding the best toddler lunch box can certainly feel overwhelming. But there's no need to feel confused about finding a long lasting, durable, easy open option.

If you don't want to purchase a separate lunch bag and would prefer a one and done solution, our top picks are either the Omiebox if you want to pack a hot/cold lunch or the Bentgo 5 compartment box thanks to its storage compartments and superior leakproof capabilities. We'd personally go with the Omiebox of the Bentgo Chill due to the added versatility of the hot insulation and handle of the Omiebox incase your child needs to carry it separately, but both are solid choices.

If you are looking for a lunch bag to pack easy open food containers like the Wee Sprouts Stainless Steel Food Containers or a bento box, then it really depends on whether or child has a specific print they love. We think the Mackenzie Lunch Box Bags are the best quality and love the BentGo Kids Lunch Bag as well (both feature multiple carrying positions, insulation, mesh pockets, etc.) but we can't deny the cuteness factor of the Simple Modern Kids Lunch Box with their wide variety of Disney prints.

Here are our top picks for toddler lunch boxes and accessories:

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