Back to School Lunch Essentials List

Right when we have the summer routine down we find ourselves purchasing  back to school supplies.Back to school lunch essentials list via #backtoschool

Chances are you’ve already been sent their school supply list, but for us faithful lunch packers, we’re also dusting off our back to school lunch supply list, assessing what we have, and what we could use to add to our arsenal. If you pack MOMables lunches, you will find the following supplies essential!

School Lunch Ideas: Let’s face it. Packing school lunches every day can be a daunting task. You could subscribe to our school lunch plan and get 5 fresh lunches, a shopping list and a prep-ahead sheet every week! If you want to preview a free week, click here.

Food Storage Containers: Possibly one of the first questions is what to pack your child’s lunch in. Without a doubt, the Easy Lunchboxes have quickly become my favorite lunch packing container. Easy Lunchboxes have 1 large compartment and 2 small compartments- perfect for holding a main dish and sides. They have easy-open lids that also come in a variety of bright colors, making them super kid-friendly. They contain no BPA, lead, vinyl or PVC. Plus, they are freezer, dishwasher and microwave safe. They are affordable, durable and eco-friendly. Easy Lunchboxes also makes a mini dipper container. This type of container is nice to have for times when you need to pack a dip, sauce or dressing. My favorite stainless steel lunch containers are Lunchbots. These containers come in a variety of sizes, styles, and colors.

Insulated Containers: You will thank yourself if you invest in an insulated thermos. These are great for packing food that you want to be eaten warm or that you want to be extra cold- they can do both! I also love our insulated drink thermos. At my son’s school, children are allowed to have a water bottle with them throughout the day. So I pack an insulated drink thermos in addition to a drink for lunch. I pack it in the morning, before school, and the ice is always still frozen by the end of the day. These also work great for packing a smoothie for lunch.

Reusable Snack Bags: Reusable sandwich and snack baggies help you cut down on plastic baggie use. Because most come in fun patterns, they’re a stylish way to create a litterless lunch. Most are dishwasher safe and toxin free.

Drink Bottles: It’s a good idea to invest in a small water bottle. I use a smaller water bottle because my son doesn’t drink an entire bottle of water at lunch. A smaller water bottle meets his thirst needs and it cuts down on space taken up in the lunch bag.

Reusable Utensils: Cut down on waste and purchase reusable utensils.

Sandwich & Vegetable Cutters: Ok, ok, this doesn’t exactly qualify as an “essential” but it is a simple way to add some fun to your child’s lunch. It’s a simple way to transform a sandwich, vegetables or fruit into something else.

lunchbox essentials

Silicone Muffin Cups & Silicone Yogurt Tubes: I like to use silicone muffin cups to divide up larger container compartments. You can find these in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. I also love the silicone yogurt tubes. To cut down on cost, instead of buying per-packaged yogurt tubes, I will sometimes buy a large container of yogurt and then add individual portions to my silicone yogurt tube. This is much more cost effective than buying a box of yogurt tubes. You can also send frozen smoothie pops in these. Just pull them out of the freezer right before packing and they will be thawed by lunch.

Antibacterial Hand Wipes: Back to school means, back to being exposed to all of the yucky germs it houses. I always send my son with an antibacterial wipe and ask him to try and remember to wipe his hands before and after eating his lunch. It’s 50/50 whether or not he remembers to do this, but it’s a simple way to try to prevent the spreading of germs.

Ice Packs: This probably seems like an obvious one, but hey, us moms have a lot of things to remember! Make sure to have ice packs frozen and ready to be packed in your child’s lunchbox to keep everything cold until lunchtime.

Lunch Bag: So, what is the best thing to pack all of these wonderful items in? A lunch bag that will work for you! My daughter loves her Bixbee sparkle lunch bag and my son typically carries a his Easylunchboxes bag. He doesn’t like his food to get shaky and that bag carries everything flat (or upright). Both are affordable, and that’s important!

LabelsWhen the school tells you to “label everything” they mean everything. This year I’ve purchased some iron on labels from Label-Land and some dry erase ones from KiddoTags.

If this seems like an overwhelming list, don’t fret! Start slowly by purchasing the things you find to be absolutely essential and just slowly add to your arsenal. I slowly accumulated new lunch packing accessories throughout the entire year, and am still on the prowl for products that simplify lunch packing and help me cut down on waste. The great thing about it is that after the initial investment you can enjoy these products for years and years to come.

See the supplies we recommend over in our store.


  1. Lauren Dooley says

    I love my Easylunches!! Love my momables lunch cookbook. What kind of backpack is that in the picture? So cute.

  2. Tiffany says

    So I bought those silicone tubes for yogurt but they have been a disaster. The lids don’t stay on tight and once they thaw they make a huge mess in my kids lunch boxes. Plus we have used them twice and they have this smell to them. I have washed them thoroughly and even tried lemon juice and vinegar, but what is the point if they leak everywhere anyway. What brand do you use so your’s don’t have this problem? I have read a ton of reviews for different ones on Amazon and they all seem to have these issues.

    • says

      Tiffany, I haven’t had an issue. I stick them inside an actual lunchbox so they don’t get squished or mushed –not loose in the punchbag. the lids haven’t come off yet. I have the norco ones.

    • mom of 5 says

      We had that problem too. The leaking in the lunchbox. But my kids love to eat them for snack or breakfast so no biggie. Ours do not have any odor though. I bought the norpo from amazon.

  3. sarah says

    I♥ this list…..thanks you so much for taking the time to do it. I had some on my list but I was missing some r pretty major ones. Now I will be ready!

  4. Julaine E. says

    Do the lunchboxes really keep the food cold with an ice pack?? Looking for another lunch box for my sons first year of school. Thank you!!

  5. Diana Shirley says

    I bought these containers too, and mine have all either cracked or the lids have cracked and pieces have broken off. I don’t know if I just got a bad bunch or if maybe I am washing them incorrectly. So disappointing.

    • says

      Diana, please email them or return to amazon. I’ve had my containers for over 2 years. they go in the dishwasher load after load without a problem.

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