Healthy Kids

Our Favorite School Lunch Gear (2022)

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Back to School Season has arrived! It’s time to start packing school lunches, and if you’re anything like me- that also means researching the latest and best school lunch gear, to make sure I’m packing lunches in the most efficient way possible. We’ve been packing lunches for over 6 years now- and we’ve narrowed it down to our absolute favorite must-have (and nice-to-have) gear. Let’s dive in!

The Lunchbox

First up- the lunchbox! Having a great lunchbox can make the difference between an easily-packed and enjoyed lunch and a squished sandwich and smushed grapes. We have used MANY lunchboxes over the years, and we’ve narrowed it down to three favorites we use again and again.

1. Planetbox Rover (big kids) and Launch (little kids)

These have been our go-to for both of our kids (pre-k and grade 3) for the past three years.

Pros and Cons of the Planetbox Lunchbox:

We LOVE the Planetbox lunches for a few reasons:

  • They’re eco-friendly. Made from stainless steel, we’re not worrying about excess plastic.
  • They’re SUPER durable.
  • They’re dishwasher-friendly
  • They hold a TON of food
  • There’s a huge variety in how you can pack lunches
  • They have accessory options to customize your lunchbox packing
  • They have fun magnet stickers to change up the box without buying a new one, each year.

However, they don’t come without some cons.

Cons of the Planetbox Lunchbox:

  • They’re a little cumbersome (the Rover, especially). This is the one complaint of my 8-year-old- she says they’re pretty heavy to carry to and from the bus stop and the lunchroom.
  • They don’t fit into a standard size lunchbox cover- and their covers only last so long (2.5 years until we started seeing major wear and tear- which isn’t the worst, but not the best for the price).
  • They’re NOT inexpensive (they do always have a back to school sale, so be sure to check out the website!). I think it’s worth it for how long they last- but an $80 lunch box is certainly not a super accessible price point.

Click below to grab your FREE Healthy Kids Lunchbox guide, complete with my simplified healthy lunchbox formula, planning system and over 25 lunch ideas!

2. The Bentgo Box (including new Bentgo Prints Lunchboxes– we just got two new ones for the season!). They also have a new Bentgo Pop Lunchboxes that are supposed to be leakproof (we haven’t tried them out, yet!).

These were the first bento-style lunchbox we started using 6 years ago, and our first one lasted four full years before we noticed some mold (we couldn’t get off) in the top sealing component- not a bad life, if you ask me!

Pros of the Bentgo Lunchbox:

  • Fairly lightweight
  • Easy for kids to open
  • Bento box style makes packing lunch easy
  • Inside removes for easier cleaning (inside is also top rack dishwasher safe)

Cons of the Bentgo Lunchbox:

  • Not as large as the Planetbox lunchbox; recommended age is 3-7 (our 8 year old feels like it’s plenty big enough for her lunch, however)
  • Plastic
  • Not fully dishwasher safe

3. The new (to us!) OmieBox

Ok friends, this lunchbox is SO cool! Though this was a new find for us, we started using it for outings right away. It’s not small- but also not huge, and it’s deep- so it holds a lot. Probably the best part of the Omiebox is that it has a built-in thermos for hot foods! My kids are big fans of leftovers, so this is a GREAT option for us and other families whose kids love hot lunches (but would rather have them from home!).

Pros of the Omiebox Lunchbox:

  • It’s deep- which means it holds a lot!
  • Built-in divider to change the size of the cubes
  • Built-in removable thermos(!)
  • Lightweight for the size
  • Easy to open

Cons of the Omiebox Lunchbox:

  • It IS large, but does fit into many standard lunchbox covers
  • Not the least expensive lunchbox (about $45 on Amazon)
  • Plastic (except the stainless thermos)
  • Not dishwasher recommended

Last but not least, let’s talk accessories!

  1. Lunchbox covers: Our longtime favorites have been Wildkin, LoneCone and Bentology.
  2. Freezer Packs: We like the flexible flat ice packs from Fit n’ Fresh, or the fun Cat & Jack shape packs from Target.
  3. For snacks, these Snaplock double-decker snack containers are great; we also have a side-by-side set from Sistema. For baggies, we love the silicone bags from Stasher, and I’ve also been loving the slightly more affordable silicone bags by Ever Spring (found at Target)
  4. Disposable-but-better options: For sandwiches, our go-to is the Lunchskins sandiwch bags, and for sides we also love the Matter compostable snack bags.
  5. When I dip, you dip: We’re BIG a BIG dip family, so for dips, we have a set from Sistema and one from Snaplock, and we also use containers that fit into the Planetbox lunchboxes (but the Sistema ones do, as well! Eventually I want to grab a set of these because they’re stainless steel.
  6. Utensils: We just threw away our old grungy sets in favor of these recycled utensils that come in an individual container from Target (similar here).
  7. Thermos: Aside from the Omiebox, we also have a Thermos Brand and a DaCool brand, and both work great.
  8. FUN! We LOVE a fun lunch accessory. Here are some of our favorites:
    1. Cookie Cutters for fruits and veggies
    2. Little animal picks
    3. Silicone muffin cups (as dividers)
    4. Fun shaped and bamboo skewers (these come in various sizes)

Click below to grab your FREE Healthy Kids Lunchbox guide, complete with my simplified healthy lunchbox formula, planning system and over 25 lunch ideas!

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