Picking out new lunch gear is one of my favorite parts of back to school shopping. I love the shiny new water bottles, fresh lunchbags and all the cute little extras that make lunch so fun.
I know lunch is a chore for most people but I actually don’t mind packing for my girls and great gear makes things so much easier. School is hard. As cheesy as it sounds, I always feel like a little something fun in the lunchbox reminds the kids of home and sends them a little virtual hug from Mom.
Here are some ideas of things that are perfect for back to school for the kids or for Mom and Dad:
I am grabbing these this year for my kids. They are roomy but they fold up tight accordion style for storage and you put the entire lunchbox in the freezer each night and the bag itself serves as an ice pack. No need for extra ice packs in lunchboxes. There is a bucket handle to clip onto backpacks or sports bags.
I have wanted these for awhile but they are a little pricey for lunch boxes. I decided to just go ahead and grab them this year- believe it or not these tend to sell out. The main feature I love is the built in thermos to hold nuggets, soup, mac n cheese, pasta etc… plus little cubbies that can be adjusted according to what you pack that day. If you don’t need the thermos party- no problem-o. It pops out to create a roomy sandwich size box.
This bento bowl is really fun and although it is slightly more expensive, in reading reviews this seems to be the one that actually keeps food hot. The bowl has a bottom that serves as a thermos and a lid that allows for smaller snacks and utensils and such.
These snack bags have a bottom that sits flat which I think is a really nice feature. The reviews on these are great and it eliminates the need to constantly buy a million wasteful little sandwich bags. This comes in a pack of 5 so you could pack all the snacks in one go at the start of the week.
If you don’t want to try or invest in the Omiebox, the funtainers are great to have to warm items. We actually use funtainers all the time to transport more hearty snacks to sports after school. Orange Chicken and Rice is on repeat, chicken nuggets, sometimes burrito bowls and so on.
Travel Utensils (another option here)
These compact little guys are fantastic to eliminate waste with disposables and more sturdy than disposables anyway.
If you pick up a normal lunchbag and not the Pack It kind, these little freezer packs are thin enough to slip into the sleeve of many lunchbags or just pop them on the bottom to keep things cool all day.
Swell Water Bottles (or a more affordable option here)
New water bottles are always on the agenda for back to school and I love the stainless steep variety for durability. I know these are also supposed to keep liquids cold all day but I have tried many, many water bottles and I swear by HydroFlask. Hydroflask is pricey (find them here) but we have them for sports and they can sit in 100+ degree weather for soccer tournaments or softball tournaments for hours and the water is still ice cold. I do have a Swell (not Sip by Swell- click here to see) and that also works very well. The only complaint I have about Swell is that I have a 16oz size and I am constantly filling it up. I wish I had a larger one.
I know ain’t no one got time for fancy lunches with dolphins sandwiches with little blueberry ocean waves. Plus those types of things are so impractical as they will be a total mess if the lunchbox gets even slightly shaken up. I don’t cut sandwiches into shapes and all that now that my girls are older, it is just so wasteful and really who has the time. But bento picks take not even a second to stab into fruit or cheese cubes or whatever and these little eyeballs are really fun. You can choose from so many designs from animals to emojis so why not grab something fun to give your little people a giggle at school.
And if you are struggling with what to pack in the cool new boxes you bought, here are some ideas:
Click here for 21 awesome school lunch ideas.
Super simple homemade applesauce recipe
Perfect chocolate pudding (great for lunchboxes!)
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