Best kids lunch boxes as they go back to school

Amy Sedghi
·7-min read

September is creeping ever closer, and with that comes the familiar rush towards getting our little ones school ready.

With schools in Scotland already open, the rest of the UK is due to follow next month. Enhanced cleaning procedures and promoting good hygiene are among the government’s new system of controls for educational establishments. Understandably, this is also something many parents are concerned about and are looking for ways to address with their new back to school purchases.

For instance, search interest in personalised lunch boxes has been up 200% over the last few months, according to Google Trends. As well as meaning children won’t lose their belongings, it also helps prevent them picking up other kids' water bottles and lunch bags by mistake. Win, win.

So, with the new measures and good hygiene in mind, we’ve taken a look at the best children’s lunch boxes that are practical, easy to clean, good value and fun. Not to mention, they’ve all earned the seal of approval from our expert youngsters too.

Ages 2-5

Skip Hop Zoo Fox Stainless Steel Lunch Kit

This stainless steel lunch kit is a great way for kids to organise their lunch. Simply stack the smaller container on top of the larger container and snap the plastic clips shut. We loved the cute fox design, its compactness and how secure it felt. It’s advised for children over the age of three and we agree that younger children may find the clips a little tricky.

£18 | JoJo Maman Bébé

Team Avengers 3D Lunch Bag

If you're child is an action film fan, and in particular a Marvel enthusiast, then this 3D lunch bag will be a winner, with its cast of characters from the Avengers. It's insulated, has a wipeable PVC-free lining and comes with a 450ml BPA free bottle, which can be popped into its designated pocket. There's also a name label on the underside of the bag to help ensure the bag makes it back home too.

£6 | Sainsbury's *On sale from £8

Melon Lunch Bag

There’s no missing this jolly watermelon lunch bag, and for that reason we’re big fans. Made of neoprene, the idea for Bibetta’s range came when founder, Paul Brown - a product designer and keen surfer - was inspired by the material of his wetsuit to craft a more waterproof and durable bib for his baby daughter.

The great thing about this lunch bag is that it can be chucked in the washing machine, doesn’t have any seams that trap food and can also be opened flat to act like a placemat. We loved its softness and flexibility but it lacks compartments and has no hard shell, which means you’d have to use additional containers or bags to stop items getting squished. It is large enough to accommodate a lunch box and a drinks bottle though.

£14.99 | Bibetta

Miffy’s Lunch Personalised Lunch Box

A simple but cute option for little ones. You can also personalise the lunch box, which our little tester loved. With enough space for packing in sandwiches and snacks, it’s a no fuss option which will slot easily into any school bag. It’s not dishwasher safe but is very easy to clean.

£14.99 | Miffy Shop

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Ages 6-11

Smash Reversible Sequin Unicorn Insulated Lunch Bag

Australian brand Smash is a popular choice for school lunch bags, and this version packs a fun surprise. Run a hand over the sequin unicorn on the front of the bag and ta da, it transforms into a rainbow. Little ones are sure to love the interactive element, while parents will love that both the bag and its 500ml leak proof bottle are 100 per cent BPA and phthalate free and easy to wipe clean. As well as an insulated side pocket to pop the drinks bottle in, the bag consists of one main fully insulated compartment with antibacterial lining and has a soft top handle for carrying.

£12 | Amazon

Hype Grey Mono Camo Lunch Box

Hype’s wide range of lunch boxes are a popular back to school choice. We really liked this grey mono camo version for its twist on a classic print. Its main compartment has a dual zip closure and it also features a front pocket and a handy mesh side pocket for a drinks bottle.

£18 | Alex and Alexa

Jump for Joy Bamboo Lunch Box

Known for their cute designs, Cath Kidston’s sweet jumping frogs illustration on this bamboo lunchbox does not disappoint. It’s made of 35 per cent bamboo fibre and has a silicon strap to keep it secure. It’s lightweight, compact and simple to keep clean. We also loved the matching collapsible water bottle - a handy addition that is super easy to tuck away in a cupboard when not in use.

£10 | Cath Kidston

Football Retro Lunch Box

These days there are all sorts of offerings when it comes to transporting lunches, but this traditional rigid plastic lunch box is a classic style that does the job. Not only is the retro football design pretty cool, it also comes in six different colours and can be personalised with your child’s name. You can pop all the essentials in this roomy lunch box and we liked how easy it was to clean.

£24 | NOTHS

Age 12+

Lezed Bento Box

This Lezed wheat straw container ticks a lot of boxes. It’s environmentally friendly, has a leak proof design and plenty of compartments to separate food items. It comes at a great price too, plus it was our teenage tester’s pick of choice. It’s also microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe and comes in three pastel shades: blue, green or pink. A spoon and fork, which come with the bento box, slot neatly into a storage space on the top.

£12.99 | Amazon

Buruni two-tier lunch box

Made of stainless steel and comprising two separate tiers, this lunch box has a whopping 1,300ml capacity - perfect for ravenous teens. Levered locking clips keep the two containers together and a seal in the top section makes it leak resistant, while the bottom section is designed for drier foods such as sandwiches.

£25 | Ethical Superstore

Rainbow Bamboo Lunch box

Made from sustainably sourced bamboo fibre, this lunchbox with a silicone strap, has a special edition rainbow design, with all funds raised from sales supporting Oxfam’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic across the world. It has a silicone seal inside which keeps the lid securely in place - although it’s not leakproof - and the solid bamboo lid makes it one of the weightier options.

£9.99 | Oxfam

Fjallraven Kanken Mini Cooler

Swedish company, Fjallraven’s backpacks are a hit with cool and hip teens, so this Kanken Mini Cooler is sure to be a winner too. It’s not cheap but Fjallraven are known for creating high quality, durable gear so this is a piece that can be used not only at school but also on camping trips and picnics in the park. Who knows, it may make it all the way to sixth form. It also comes in five stylish colours including peach pink, ox red and frost green.

£37.15 | Amazon

Stasher Reusable Silicone Bag

Step away from the clingfilm and forget flimsy plastic bags. These platinum silicone bags, with a Pinch-loc seal are made from natural resources - primarily sand. They are 100% plastic free and BPA free and are endlessly reusable. You can even write on them.

We loved how versatile and user friendly they are: you can stick them in the fridge, freezer, microwave, dishwasher, in boiling water and even in the oven. Stasher also come in a range of sizes from snack and sandwich up to a half gallon and there are a variety of stylish colours which we really liked.

From £9.99 | John Lewis

Design Letters Green Veggies Snack Box

If you were wondering how to make veggies more fun, then this cute little snack box is a good way to try. From Danish brand Design Letters, this BPA free container gives a cool Scandi-style vibe to lunch boxes. It’s also microwave and dishwasher safe.

£8 | Alex and Alexa

Verdict:

For its versatility, price point and eco-friendly materials, we are big fans of the Lezed Bento Box, which we think could work for a range of ages. We loved the Stasher bags for making life easier when it comes to organising packed lunches and think the Bibetta is a great concept as it can be machine washed easily to get rid of any germs.