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10 Best Lunch Boxes for Toddlers and Kids

Send your little one off to school in style with one of these cool toddler lunch boxes.
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Published July 16, 2023
Toddler Lunch Boxes-hero
Image: Skip Hop
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Stocking up on back-to-school essentials? Whether your little one is headed to preschool, daycare or camp, a toddler lunch box is a must-have. A healthy lunch will keep your kiddo fueled throughout the day, so finding a container to keep snacks and food fresh, tasty and intact is key. The best toddler lunch boxes are durable, leak-proof and cute, of course! Luckily, there are plenty of options that fit the bill, from insulated lunch bags to bento boxes and other clever designs. Ready to toss out those brown paper bags and go eco-friendly with reusable toddler lunch boxes? Keep browsing to discover our top cafeteria-ready picks.

What to Consider When Buying a Toddler Lunch Box

Looking for the best toddler lunch box for your munchkin? You’ll want to find a product that meets your kiddo’s specific mealtime needs. Consider the following pointers to streamline your shopping experience:

  • Insulation. Will you be sending your little one with a hot or cold lunch? If so, go for an insulated toddler lunch box to keep everything at an ideal temperature throughout the day. For an extra chilly option, choose a preschool lunch box that has enough room for ice packs or choose a freezable bag.
  • Size. How much food will you be packing? For snacks and short field trips, opt for a small, lightweight container that can be carried by hand or fit into a backpack. Kiddos who are still in daycare may need a bigger lunch bag with room for multiple meals and snacks, as well as milk.
  • Portability. Lastly, you’ll want to make sure your kid’s lunch box is easy to tote. Will they be carrying it by hand? Go for a cross-body toddler lunch box or one with a comfortable handle. If it’s more likely to be hung on the stroller as you walk to your next adventure, be sure your container has a long strap.

Best Toddler Lunch Boxes to Shop

Ready to find the best toddler lunch box for your little one? We’ve got you covered, from insulated lunch bags for kids to daycare-friendly designs. Here, check out our top picks for a range of categories.

Overall best toddler lunch box

Expandable Lunch Box, Print
Image: L.L. Bean
Buying Options
L.L. Bean|$24.95
What We Love
  • Easy-to-clean material
  • Unzips for additional space
  • Has organizational pockets
  • Monogram options available
Things To Consider
  • Some buyers say that the stitching isn’t as high-quality as they expected

Need a dependable preschool lunch box that can withstand the wear and tear of busy toddlers? This classic L.L. Bean design is a great choice. One of the best kids’ lunch boxes for school, this option is much lighter than a bento box and keeps food cold until lunchtime, thanks to its insulated layers. Plus, it’s compact, so it can easily fit into a backpack. Have to pack more snacks than usual? No problem—this container expands another two inches for extra space. Best of all: You can add a monogram to ensure easy retrieval from the lost and found.

Dimensions: 7" (L) x 3.75" (W) x 9.5" (H) | Capacity: 4.3 L (expands to 6.2 L) | Weight: 6 oz. | Color options: 5

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Best thermal toddler lunch box

What We Love
  • Keeps food at an ideal temperature
  • Stylish and durable
  • Comfortable carrying handle
Things To Consider
  • Exterior cloth material isn’t the easiest to clean, according to reviewers
  • Some buyers mention that it’s a little too big to fit in their kids’ backpacks

Next up is this parent-approved option that has hundreds of five-star reviews. Available in several bright colors, the Hydro Flask kids’ lunch box is super-durable with a flexible carry handle made for little hands. But the real standout features are the double-layer insulation and an interior band designed to hold an ice pack to keep food cold for hours. Plus, it’s BPA-free and the interior easily wipes clean—score!

Dimensions: 10.65" (L) x 10.65" (W) | Capacity: N/A | Weight: 1.2 lbs. | Color options: 10

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Best bento toddler lunch box

Bentgo Kids Bento-Style 5-Compartment Lunch Box
Image: Amazon
What We Love
  • Durable, drop-proof design is ideal for tots
  • Has five compartments inside
  • Dishwasher-, microwave- and freezer-safe
Things To Consider
  • Parents say it’s not quite big enough to fit a standard-sized sandwich

Bento toddler lunch boxes are popular picks these days, and with good reason: They’re a practical choice for fussy eaters and children who like variety at mealtime. This durable, modern version by Bentgo is hard to beat. It has five perfectly sized compartments with space for a main meal and an assortment of healthy snacks. It’s also dishwasher-safe, making it super-easy to clean. Better yet, it comes in an array of fun colorways and prints, so even the most discerning of tots are sure to find one that they like.

Dimensions: 8.5" (L) x 2" (W) x 6.5" (H) | Capacity: 567.8 mL | Weight: 1.4 lbs. | Color options: 28

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Best preschool lunch box

Mackenzie Navy Solar System Glow-in-the-Dark Lunch Boxes
Image: Pottery Barn Kids
What We Love
  • Features convenient external pockets
  • Compatible with Pottery Barn Kids’ bento box
  • Available in three sizes
Things To Consider
  • Glow-in-the-dark treatment can fade overtime due to excessive wear and tear

When it comes to picking out the best preschool lunch box, this classic design from Pottery Barn Kids is sure to check all of the boxes on your list. Inside, you can fit a bento box filled with your kiddo’s favorite foods—and on the outside, there’s a handy pocket for their water bottle. There’s also a zippered, external pocket to hold a napkin or tot-friendly utensils. Thanks to the straps on this toddler lunch box, your child can easily carry it in their backpack to boot. Choose from a wide variety of aesthetically pleasing designs, like this glow-in-the-dark option, a tie-dye print or a dino pattern.

Dimensions: 7.5" (L) x 4" (W) x 8.5" (H) | Capacity: N/A | Weight: N/A | Color options: 44

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Best daycare lunch box

What We Love
  • Wipeable lining
  • The snack pack fits perfectly into backpacks
  • Personalization options are available
  • The brand gives back to support communities in need
Things To Consider
  • If you go with the small size, your kids will need a larger option as they get older

If your daycare provides meals and snacks you’ll need a petite toddler lunch box to house a few essentials (a small water bottle, a piece of fruit and some snacks). Our favorite? This mini lunch box from STATE Bags The main zippered compartment comes insulated, and you can get the exterior personalized with your child’s initials. We’re also big fans of the see-through pocket meant for notes or pictures. Of course, if you’re packing a full lunch and other snacks you’ll need a bigger daycare lunch bag. In that case, opt for the regular-size Rodgers lunch box. Whichever option you choose, your purchase will help STATE support a range of causes, like giving fully stocked backpacks to children in need.

Dimensions: 7.09" (L) x 3.35" (W) x 5.12" (H) | Capacity: 1.5 L | Weight: 5.6 oz. | Color options: 13

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Best stainless steel toddler lunch box

Bentgo Kids' Stainless Steel Leak-Resistant 3 Compartments Bento-Style Lunch Box
Image: Target
What We Love
  • Made from ultra-durable stainless steel with a leakproof seal
  • Features three main food compartments, and a bonus container
  • Dishwasher-safe
Things To Consider
  • High price point
  • Recommended for tots who are 3 years or older

Searching for a super-durable stainless steel toddler lunch box that you’ll have for years to come? This sleek design from Bentgo has got you covered. Conveniently, the kids’ lunch box features three sections—as well as a bonus container—that are perfect for keeping tasty bites fresh and separate. You’ll also appreciate the leakproof seal and new, improved locking clips for added security. What’s more, it’s dishwasher-safe, so cleaning up when the kiddos get home from school will be one step easier.

Dimensions: 9.8" (L) x 2.2" (W) x 7.6" (H) | Capacity: 1.1 L | Weight: 1.5 lbs. | Color options: 5

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Best affordable toddler lunch box

Zoo Insulated Kids Lunch Bag
Image: Skip Hop
What We Love
  • Affordable price point
  • Insulated to keep food at the perfect temperature
  • Flap closure is toddler-friendly
Things To Consider
  • Recommended for tots who are 3 years or older
  • Spot clean or hand wash; dry flat

Picking out a top-notch toddler lunch bag doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. Case in point: This cute, simple style from Skip Hop. For under $10, you’ll get an insulated lunch box that you can count on to keep meals and snacks at their ideal temperature. It’s also complete with a mesh water bottle pocket, so you can send your little one to school with their favorite drink. Best of all, the flap closure makes it easy for tiny hands to open and close. Choose from four sweet designs, including this pug, a butterfly or a koala.

Dimensions: 7" (L) x 4.25" (W) x 9.5" (H) | Capacity: N/A | Weight: N/A | Color options: 4

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Best toddler lunch bag

Wildkin Kids Lunch Bag - Boys
Image: Target
What We Love
  • Fun prints to choose from
  • Spacious design
  • Flap closure is toddler-friendly
Things To Consider
  • Recommended for tots who are 3 years or older
  • Some buyers say that the Velcro isn’t as strong as they’d hoped

These cute lunch bags for little kids come in a wide range of designs, so you’re sure to find something your child will love. They’re insulated to keep hot food warm and cold food chilled, and the Velcro closure makes it easy for toddlers to open independently. You’ll love how it collapses completely flat for easy storage and cleans easily with soap and water. It’s also PVC-, BPA- and phthalate-free for total peace of mind.

Dimensions: 8.5" (L) x 5" (W) x 10" (H) | Capacity: N/A | Weight: 4.8 oz. | Color options: 13

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Best freezable toddler lunch box

Freezable Lunch Bag
Image: Macy's
What We Love
  • Perfect for daycare bottles, preschool snacks and other meals in between
  • Easily expands and folds
Things To Consider
  • Some buyers say the stitching wears over time

If you like to keep things streamlined, this lunch bag for toddlers is bound to check all of the boxes on your list. It features a built-in cooling gel, so you can fold it flat and put it in the freezer overnight. Then, by morning, it’ll be ready to keep your kiddo’s meal cold for up to 10 hours. This mini lunch bag was designed with little ones in mind and easily fits into toddler backpacks and diaper bags. It’s made from PVC-, BPA-, phthalate-, formaldehyde- and lead-free materials and has a food-safe, water-resistant lining.

Dimensions: 8.5" (L) x 6.5" (W) x 9.5" (H) | Capacity: 5.7 L | Weight: 1.34 lbs. | Color options: 12

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Best toddler lunch box set

Bento Box, Insulated Lunch Bag, Ice Pack & Water Botle Set for Kids
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$33.59
What We Love
  • Convenient five-piece set, including an insulated lunch bag and a bento box
  • Parents say it’s easy to keep clean and that it’s super leakproof
  • Available with a water bottle or a thermos
Things To Consider
  • Recommended for tots who are 3 years or older
  • Some reviewers say it’s a bit challenging for their little one to open independently

This preschool lunch box set has tons of five-star reviews—and it’s easy to see why. With it, you’ll receive an insulated lunch bag, complete with a spacious main compartment and a zippered front pocket. But that’s not all—it also comes with a five-compartment bento box to keep meals organized, a water bottle, a slim ice pack and a reusable spork. Prefer a food jar instead of a water bottle? No problem, there’s a set for that as well. Now comes the hard part: Choosing just one of the many color options that are available.

Dimensions: 10" (L) x 3.3" (W) x 8" (H) | Capacity: N/A | Weight: 2.27 lbs. | Color options: 29

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How We Chose the Best Toddler Lunch Boxes

To help you pick out the best toddler lunch box before your kiddo’s first day of school, we did the bulk of the research for you, and browsed tons of options from leading brands and trusted online retailers. When sourcing lunch boxes for our roundup, we considered several aspects such as portability, size, insulation features, value, capacity, material and organizational elements. We read user reviews to understand how these toddler lunch bags have worked for real families, and didn’t consider anything with less than an average four-star rating.

Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.

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