A CONVENIENT lunch box for kids is essential, whether you have a toddler heading to nursery most mornings, or a school kid. Even at home, they're great for picnic lunches in a den or camping snacks when the kids are playing outside.
We’ve rounded up the best lunch boxes for kids based on our own preferences as parents and the best kids' lunch boxes out there.
Lunch boxes are also useful for any activity camps or excursions you take with the kids – packing a sandwich, snack, water and some fruit on an afternoon park run can be the difference between a contented child and total public meltdown.
Many lunch boxes these days are handy organisational tools that divide up a child’s meal into different sections, like a bento box.
A lunch box can also be an insulated thermos that keeps food warm from the morning when you pack it, until kids get to eat it hours later in the day. From an eco perspective, a lunch box can be helpful in minimising the need for extra wrappings like clingfilm or tin foil.
Kids and parents are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a lunch box: they come in every colour, pattern and shape you can imagine, and are available in a range of materials at a variety of price points.
When it comes to finding the lunch box that’s best for your kids, the most important criteria is that it's BPA-free (if made of plastic), so you have no safety worries.
The best lunch box for kids is easy to clean, won't leak – and, of course, the kids will think it's cool (more crucial than you'd like, but essential nonetheless).
1. Best kids' all rounder lunch box: Sistema Bento Lunch Box
- Sistema Bento Lunch Box, £5 at Amazon – buy here
This BPA-free plastic lunch box has a great design that makes packed lunch prep super easy, with compartments for a sandwich (or alternative), fruit, veg, snacks and a closed pot for yogurt, fruit or hummus, so they don't spill and leak all over your child's lunch.
Parents also like that it's super-easy to clean.
2. Best labelled kids' lunch box: Cheeky Elephant Yumbox Classic lunch box
- Yumbox Classic lunch box, £24.95 at Not on the High Street – buy here
This colourful bento box has a cult following of parents and experts who love the design, which has a clear, removable tray with six compartments, which are helpfully (and cutely) labelled for each food group: grains, protein, dairy, fruit and veggies.
The silicone lid keeps food fresh, and, of course, the Yumbox is leak-proof and made with non-toxic materials.
3. Best kids' lunch box set: Orla Kiely Flower Bamboo Food Storage Boxes
Orla Kiely Flower Bamboo Food Storage Boxes, Set of 3, £25 at John Lewis – buy here
Lunch boxes or food storage boxes, take your pick.
This set of three boxes in different sizes in a lovely floral print also ticks the eco box – they're part bamboo.
They can also be chucked in the dishwasher.
Win, win, win.
4. Best two-layer kids' lunchbox: PuTwo Lunch Box 2 Tiers Bento Box
- PuTwo lunch box, £13.99 at Amazon – buy here
This stackable bento box has two compartments for those picnic days when you need lunch for yourself and your child, plus it can be used in the dishwasher, microwave or freezer and comes with a fork and spoon so you don't need to remember to pack utensils (something we often forget).
5. Best compact lunch box for kids: Black and Blum lunch pot
- Black and Blum lunch pot, £19.95 at Amazon – buy here
This stackable lunch box is so gorgeous and handy, you're going to end up buying another for yourself (or stealing your child's, since it is a sophisticated design – it's never too early to teach 'em about good taste, right?).
With two stackable pots, a spork and a handle, this leak-free lunch box is eco-friendly and can be used in the microwave or dishwasher.
6. Best printed kids' lunch box: Tyrrell Katz Pandas Lunch Box
- Tyrrell Katz Pandas lunch box, £9 at Amazon – buy here
This BPA-free design from Tyrrell Katz – the brand known for its playful prints and phrases on the lid – is easy to use and versatile.
It opens and clicks closed with side clips, has an inner divider you can remove and can be used in the dishwasher or the freezer.
7. Best kids' lunch box for hot meals: Thermos Stainless King Food Flask
- Thermos Stainless King Food Flask, £17.81 at Amazon – buy here
If you buy one new piece of kit to make your kid's packed lunches better, this Thermos flask should be top of your list.
It can keep hot dishes like soup, stew or pasta warm for up to nine hours so you get a lot more variety when it comes to daily lunch-making, and keeps cool things cool for 14 hours, thanks to its amazing vacuum insulation technology.
The kids will love the metallic sheen and fold-up spoon tucked into the lid; you'll love that it works on all of their overnight trips, too.
Top tip: fill the Thermos with boiling water for a few minutes before putting hot food in to maximise warmth potential.
8. Best lunch box for toddlers: Bentgo Bento-Style Kids Lunch Box
- Bentgo Children's lunch box, £24.99 at Amazon – buy here
This lunch box is on the more expensive side, but parents are impressed with how much food you can pack into it and the five different compartments allow you to include a variety of different foods and snacks – a must-have on days out with your toddler in tow.
With leak-proof technology and rubber-coated edges, it's also perfect for toddlers who tend to chuck things.
We love the range of cute prints available, like mermaid scales, sharks and rockets.
9. Best eco kids' lunch box: Mintie Duo stainless steel lunchbox set
- Mintie Duo stainless steel lunchbox set, £22.95 at Amazon – buy here
This stainless steel container looks sleek and is divided into two compartments with an additional pot with silicone lid and an elastic for extra protection.
It also comes with a fabric bag which can be used to carry fruit or as a lunch bag.
This is a built-to-last item that's easy to clean, looks great and eliminates the need to use extra clingfilm or tin foil.
10. Best customisable kids' lunch box: MB Tresor Bento Box
- Mon Bento Tresor kids lunch box, £17 at Mon Bento – buy here
Designed with small hands in mind, this colourful and cute bento box is made from BPA-free plastic with a handy clip closure, bottom container and two food cups.
We love the little details like the customisable, illustrated tags – which can also double as entertainment (well, for five minutes at least), when out and about.
11. Best minimalist kids' lunch box: Mepal Pink Lunch Box
Mepal Pink lunch box, £18 at Urban Outfitters – buy here
Dutch brand Mepal is known for trendy, well-made tableware, including lunch boxes, bento boxes and lunch pots.
Minimalist and stylish, this polypropylene design has two compartments and a separate mini box for sauce and dressings.
The teen in your life will love it – but you may be tempted to keep it for yourself.
12. Best insulated kids' lunch box: S'nack by S'well Disney Frozen Insulated Lunch Box
- S'nack by S'well Disney Frozen lunch box, £20 at John Lewis – buy here
Like the popular S'well water bottle, this snack pot keeps food cold or hot for up to eight hours.
The triple-walled design promises not to leak, and the selection of Frozen prints will be a hit with the kiddos, who will also love swinging it by the carry handle.
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Need some more parenting supplies? We've got a whole parenting section for you to browse.
More of a lunch bag person than a lunch box person? We've rounded up the best lunch bags on the market, right here.
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