Back-to-School: Essentials for Packing the School Lunchbox

Shopping for back to school lunch supplies can be an overwhelming task and sometimes you don’t know what you really need until you start the school year. Today, I’m showing you 6 essential supplies that our lunch plan members love that will help you start packing lunches like a pro!

Are you prepared for packing the lunchbox? You must check out these essential lunchbox items to make sure you are packing lunches like a pro!

Are you prepared for packing the lunchbox? You must check out these essential lunchbox items to make sure you are packing lunches like a pro!

While there are many other lunch storage solutions in the marketplace, these are the ones we typically use in our meal plans and recipes and for my kids. I hope this gives you a little guidance and helps you get packing healthy and fresh school lunches. You can check out all the other lunch containers and supplies we recommend in our store. 

#1 Lunch Containers

Easy LunchboxesWhile there are lots of lunch containers out there, these are a great place to start when you have multiple lunches to pack.
Browse all styles and shop for EasyLunchboxes here.

What to look for

  • Lunch containers that fit a standard lunch bag.
  • Lunch containers that are free of harmful chemicals.
  • Durability. While plastic containers aren’t as durable as stainless steel, a good set will last at least through the school year.
  • Affordability. Depending on your budget and how many lunches you pack, some lunch containers are more affordable than others.
  • Leak-proof. While not all lunch containers are leak-proof, many hold thick foods like hummus without an issue.

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

#2 Reusable Drink Container

Thermos Funtainer 12 Ounce BottleWe love reusable drink containers that our kids can refill throughout the day.
Shop for this Thermos Insulated Container here.

What to look for

  • Durability of the container is key since kids often play with their drink containers and carry them by hand.
  • Insulation. We love insulated drink containers (like the one on the left) that keep drinks and smoothies cool for hours.
  • Size options. While the one here is 12oz, bigger kids and kids in sports should carry a 16oz cup so water is available to them all day.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Straw containers. It’s true, kids (and adults) tend to drink more when they are sipping through a straw.

#3 Thermos Food Container

Thermos FoogoEssential to send hot foods to school, use up leftovers, and send variety to school.
Browse all 10oz Thermos styles and shop here.

What to look for

  • Stainless steel out-performs plastic food jars – always. Don’t waste your money on plastic containers that claim they keep foods hot or cold.
  • Easy open grip. We love rubberized lids (left) that open with ease.
  • Size. There are various sizes, most start at 10 ounces.
  • Wide mouth jars with a bigger capacity (16oz) are a great option for bigger kids and foods that need a large opening.

Check out this post to see how long it’s safe to keep food hot in a thermos

Related: Top 5 Thermos Containers We’ve Tested

#4 Freezer Jars

Ball Plastic Freezer JarA must-have for sending smoothies to school and a great snack keeper!
Shop for 8oz freezer jars here.

What to look for

  • The most important feature is the ability for the jar to be leakproof.
  • Freezer safe.
  • Chemical-free plastic is crucial since you never want to freeze or send glass containers to school.
  • Versatile. We love that these freezer jars are great for snacks, yogurt, and smoothies!

#5 Insulated Lunch Bag

yumbox lunch bagYou’ll need an insulated bag to keep foods temperature controlled and carry them!
We love (and use) this bag and this one

What to look for

  • Insulated lunch bags are best.
  • A handle at the very least and a strap is helpful.
  • “Square” bags are a little bigger and will give you the most options.


#6 Best Ice Pack for Lunch Box
covered ice pack

Depending on where you live and the type of foods you send to school, an ice pack is a great idea.
We love (and use) these ice packs and this covered pack. 

What to look for

  • Durability. You’ll want an ice pack that won’t leak or break since kids tend to play with things they find interesting in their lunch bag. I recommend that you purchase an ice pack with a cover or at least one that is tamper proof.
  • Size. Make sure the ice pack you purchase fits inside your lunch bag.
  • Consider purchasing a spare ice pack since you’ll forget to freeze the one for the day from time to time, guaranteed.


What is your go-to item you use all the time to pack lunches? 

Are you prepared for packing the lunchbox? You must check out these essential lunchbox items to make sure you are packing lunches like a pro!

About MOMables - Laura

Mom to 3 kids, obsessed with coffee, meal planning, and helping you cook fresh meals for your family fast!