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 the essential lunchbox supplies that will help you start packing lunches like a pro!
With so many lunch containers, lunch bags, and other supplies out there, it’ hard to know which ones will suit your lunch packing needs for the entire year. Will the container leak? Will it last the entire school year? Is it bulky? Will my child be able to open it? All real questions to ask before you start shopping.
In this post, I hope to show you which lunch containers have worked best for my family and thousands of families in the MOMables community for the last 16+ years. Yep, my little girl in the photo below is now a senior in high school, so when I’m telling you I have experience with lunch containers over the years – I really mean it!
Packing school lunches is a smart way to make sure your child gets the right balance of healthy, nutritional, and yummy foods. Having the right supplies will not only keep the lunches fresher but allow more room for creativity, so you don’t get into a lunch packing rut!
Here are a few of my all-time favorite lunch supplies that my family and our members love:
One of the most important assets of packed lunches, at least for kids. While the pretty printed lunch bags may look nice, you’ll want to make sure they are durable and keep the food properly insulated!
Why This is my top lunch container pick for back-to-school:
- 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.
If you want to send hot lunches like soup, last night’s pasta, and stir-frys, then a thermos is the way to go. Plus, they play double duty because a thermos is not just for hot foods! They also keep cold items cold for longer, so it’s the perfect vessel to send yogurt or a smoothie for lunch!
- 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 video for the complete guide to our all-time favorite thermos containers.
Why this is a top pick:
- 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.
- Easy to clean.
Why this is my top pick:
- 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, this is why I always get the hard shell ice packs instead of the “squishy” ones that can break.
- 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. This is why I always buy them in packs of 3!
Killer-licious Lunch Ideas
Of course, we couldn’t leave out the 101 Packed Lunches Ebook! What good are any of these items if you don’t have an excellent lunch to pack? Plus, we do all the hard work for you with lunch recipes and a complete packing guide! Talk about #winning!
101 Packed Lunches eBook
All my best kid-friendly lunches from over a decade of creating meal plans. Add some variety to your child’s lunchbox with these epic lunches, plus receive my Pack Meals Like a Pro ebook, free with purchase!
Okay, the next item isn’t technically essentials, but I’ve found them all to be extremely helpful when packing lunches and they do allow more room for creativity!
If it seems like too much, start with purchasing the items you find to be necessary and build your stash as you go.
What are your must-haves when packing lunches for your kids?