Lunch hour and recess are favorite parts of the school day. A fun, unique lunchbox can brighten the break even more -- and possibly make a fun conversation starter on the first, nerve-wracking days in a new grade. While any reusable lunchbox saves money and waste from paper bags, parents and kids must decide among insulated bags, bento boxes, and more. Start by thinking about the child's needs, such as portion sizes and a preference for hot or cold food. Remember that the container must be kept clean, so a machine-washable bag could be a good choice. Many parents also look for products that are BPA-, PVC-, and phthalate-free.
10 Snazzy School Lunchboxes Under $15
This double-decker bento box has room for an entree or sandwich on top, while three proportioned compartments hold snacks on the bottom. The pieces are dishwasher safe and let families avoid buying and throwing away plastic baggies all year. One latch secures the box, which comes in three whimsical designs.
The H2O Lunch Pack from Arctic Zone features insulation to help maintain food temperature. It comes with a detachable bottle holder, which is also insulated. An easy-clean, antimicrobial lining prevents stains and odors.
The Bentgo Bag has earned a 4-star rating from more than 300 customer reviewers on Amazon. This is a sturdy, insulated bag for packing reusable plasticware. A mesh pocket on the lid allows storage of utensils, an ice pack, or napkins, while an elastic strap secures a small thermos or cup. The spacious interior is stain- and odor-resistant. Bentgo recommends handwashing to prolong the product's durability.
Bright, fun prints adorn the lunchboxes in Wildkin's Olive Kids collection. These sturdy, structured lunchboxes hold their own in the cafeteria, according to reviews on Amazon, where the lunchbox has earned an average 4.6 out of 5 stars from more than 350 reviews. One customer raves about the insulation, noting that it kept a bag of ice mostly frozen for several hours.
If your child is still singing "Let It Go," look to this lunch bag inspired by Disney's "Frozen." It comes with an adjustable shoulder strap, so it can be worn like a purse. The bag boasts a 4.4-star rating on Amazon, with many reviewers saying it still looked great after a year's use. Quite a few were unimpressed with the included water bottle, which is made of plain, white plastic and not listed as BPA-free.
This vintage-style metal lunchbox pays homage to a classic. It features embossed "Lion King" artwork on the front and back and a bright tribal pattern around the sides. Measuring 8 inches wide, the traditional retro shape provides ample room for an entree, snack, and drink. There are other classic themes for sale alongside it, including Minnie Mouse, Smurfette, and My Little Pony.
Etsy seller SewSweetEmb makes personalized, hand-embroidered lunchboxes. The shop offers a variety of fonts, colors, and patterns to choose from. Sit down with a child to create a custom design that won't get mixed up with other kids'. The polyester lunchboxes are outfitted with insulation and an exterior pocket.
Skip Hop Zoo lunchboxes feature colorful animals; Target carries the dog and owl versions. Coordinating latches come in fun shapes, such as a dog bone, and there's a snack container inside. This dishwasher-safe box closes with a secure lid and rubber seal.
This lunch box can go from the cafeteria to the playground to a family trip. It has an adjustable shoulder strap and top handle for easy carrying. Insulation keeps food cold and a mesh pocket on the inside can hold utensils, a flat ice pack, or napkins. The small size (7.9 x 6.3 x 3 inches) is best suited to young children.
The patterns on these Wildkin lunchboxes are less juvenile than the Olive Kids line; the colorful, graphic prints may appeal to older children. The main insulated compartment and front pocket zip closed and the sturdy construction holds up well. More than 500 reviewers give the lunchbox an average of 4.5 stars on Amazon.
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