10 Best Toddler Lunch Boxes for Daycare and Preschool (2023)

Stocking up on back-to-school essentials? Whether your little one is headed to preschool, daycare or camp, a lunch box is a must-have. A healthy lunch will keep your kiddo fueled throughout the day, so finding a container to keep snacks and food fresh, tasty and intact is key. The best toddler lunch boxes are durable, leak-proof and cute, of course! Luckily, there are plenty of options that fit the bill, from insulated lunch bags to bento boxes and other clever containers. Ready to toss out those brown paper bags and go eco-friendly with reusable toddler lunch boxes and food jars? Keep browsing to discover our top cafeteria-ready picks.

What to Consider When Buying a Toddler Lunch Box

Looking for the best toddler lunch box for your munchkin? You’ll want to find a product that meets your kiddo’s specific mealtime needs. Will you be sending your little one with a hot or cold lunch? If so, you’ll want an insulated toddler lunch box to keep everything at an ideal temperature throughout the day. For an extra chilly option, choose a preschool lunch box that has enough room for ice packs or go with a freezable bag. How much food will you be packing? For snacks and short field trips, opt for a small, lightweight container that your toddler can carry. Kiddos who are still in daycare may need a bigger lunch bag with room for multiple meals and snacks, as well as milk. To organize their preschool lunch box, toddler food jars will come in handy. Lastly, you’ll want to make sure your kid’s lunch box is easy to tote. Will they be carrying it by hand? Go for a cross-body toddler lunch box or one with a comfortable handle. If it’s more likely to be hung on the stroller as you walk to your next adventure, be sure your container has a long strap. By keeping these factors top of mind, you’ll be sure to find a kids’ lunch box that checks all the boxes on your list.

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L.L. Bean

LLBean Expandable Lunch Box

Best Overall Kids’ Lunch Box

Need a dependable preschool lunch box that can withstand the wear and tear of busy kids? This classic L.L.Bean insulated lunch box is a great choice. One of the best kids’ lunch boxes for school, this option is much lighter than a bento box and keeps food cold until lunchtime, thanks to its insulated layers. Plus, with its compact dimensions, it can easily fit into a backpack. Have to pack more snacks than usual? No problem–this container expands another two inches for extra space. Best of all: You can add a monogram to ensure easy retrieval from the lost and found.

What We Love:

  • Easy to clean
  • Available in fun prints
  • Unzips for additional space

Things to Consider:

  • Some buyers say that the stitching isn’t as high-quality as they expected

Buy it: Expandable Lunch Box, $25, LLBean.com

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Hydroflask Toddler Insulated Lunch Box

Best Insulated Toddler Lunch Box

This parent-approved option has almost 200 five-star reviews. Available in eight bright colors, the Hydro Flask kids’ lunch box is super-durable with a flexible carry handle made for little hands. But the real standout features: Double-layer insulation and an interior band designed to hold an ice pack to keep food cold for hours. Plus, it’s BPA-free and the interior easily wipes clean–score!

What We Love:

  • Keeps food at an ideal temperature
  • Stylish and durable
  • Comfortable carrying handle

Things to Consider:

  • Exterior cloth material isn’t the easiest to clean
  • Some buyers mention that it’s a little too big for their kids’ backpacks

Buy It: Toddler Insulated Lunch Box, $45, Hydroflask.com

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Munchkin Bento Toddler Lunch Box

Best Bento Toddler Lunch Box

Bento-style toddler lunch boxes are popular picks these days, and with good reason: They’re a practical choice for fussy eaters and children who like variety at mealtime. This colorful version by Munchkin is hard to beat. It has five perfectly sized compartments with space for a sandwich, juice box and an assortment of healthy snacks. It’s dishwasher-safe, making it super-easy to clean. Better yet, it comes with its own set of stainless steel toddler utensils that snap right onto the lid.

What We Love:

  • Can be packed in a backpack or carried by hand
  • Comes with durable toddler utensils

Things to Consider:

  • Some reviewers say that it leaks

Buy It: Munchkin Bento Toddler Lunch Box, $20, Target.com

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WeeSprout Small Stainless Steel Toddler Lunch Box

Best Stainless Steel Toddler Lunch Box

Searching for a super-durable stainless steel toddler lunch box that you’ll have for years to come? This container by WeeSprout has got you covered. Conveniently, the kids’ lunch box features three sections–perfect for keeping tasty bites fresh and separate. With this option, your little one can even enjoy their favorite sauces at lunchtime, thanks to the included leak-proof dip container. The bento lunch box for kids is finished with a colorful silicone sleeve to ensure it doesn’t slip and slide on cafeteria tables.

What We Love:

  • Made with ultra-durable, rust-resistant stainless steel
  • Easy for little hands to carry and open
  • Dishwasher-friendly

Things to Consider:

  • Some buyers say that the lid loosens over time

Buy It: Small Stainless Steel Toddler Bento Box, $22, WeeSprout.com

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Wildkin Toddler Lunch Bag

Best Toddler Lunch Bag

These cute lunch bags for little kids come in a huge selection of designs, so you’re sure to find something your child will love. They’re insulated to keep hot food warm and cold food chilled, and the Velcro closure makes it easy for toddlers to open independently. You’ll love how it collapses completely flat for easy storage and cleans easily with soap and water. It’s also PVC-, BPA- and phthalate-free for ultimate peace of mind.

What We Love:

  • Fun prints to choose from
  • Spacious design

Things to Consider:

  • Some buyers say that the Velcro isn’t as strong as they’d hoped

Buy It: Wildkin Toddler Lunch Bag, $21, Target.com

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PackIt Freezable Toddler Lunch Bag

Best Freezable Toddler Lunch Box

If you like to keep things streamlined, this might be your top pick for the best lunch bag for toddlers. Most options call for separate ice packs to keep food cool. Not this kids’ lunch box though; it features a built-in cooling gel. The PackIt Freezable lunch bag can be folded flat and stashed in the freezer overnight—by morning, it’s ready to keep your kiddo’s meal cold for up to 10 hours. This mini lunch bag was designed with little ones in mind and easily fits into toddler backpacks and diaper bags. It’s made from PVC-, BPA-, phthalate-, formaldehyde- and lead-free materials and has a food-safe, water-resistant lining. An added bonus: It comes in both solid colors and vibrant prints.

What We Love:

  • Perfect for daycare bottles, preschool snacks and other meals in between
  • Easily expands and folds

Things to Consider:

  • Some buyers mention that the stitching wears over time

Buy It: PackIt Freezable Toddler Lunch Bag, $17, Amazon.com

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State Bags

State Bags Rodgers Toddler Snack Pack

Best Toddler Lunch Box for Daycare

If your daycare provides meals and snacks you’ll need a petite toddler lunch box, ideal for housing a few essentials (a small water bottle, a piece of fruit and some snacks). The main zippered compartment comes insulated, and you can get the exterior personalized with your child’s initials. We’re also big fans of the see-through pocket meant for notes or pictures. Of course, if you’re packing a full lunch and other snacks you’ll need a bigger daycare lunch bag. Opt for the regular-size Rodgers lunch box. Whichever option you choose, your purchase will help STATE support a range of causes, like giving fully stocked backpacks to children in need.

What We Love:

  • Wipeable lining
  • The toddler-size option fits perfectly into backpacks

Things to Consider:

  • If you go with the small size, your kids will need a larger option as they get older
  • The brand gives back to support communities in need

Buy It: Rodgers Toddler Snack Pack, $38, Statebags.com

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Bixbee Octopus Water Resistant Lunchbox

Best Toddler Lunch Box for Preschool

Bixbee’s toddler lunch boxes come in a range of fun prints, classic styles and animal-themed designs. Have eight times the fun at mealtimes with this playful octopus-shaped lunch box! It’s heavy-duty, water-resistant and has an outer pocket that’s perfect for storing reusable utensils. Yogurts, fruits, crackers and water bottles are just a few of the options you’ll be able to pack in this sea-inspired container. There’s even an ID window where you can insert a nametag, so your kiddo is less likely to lose it at summer camp, daycare or the park.

What We Love:

  • Clip-on handle for effortless carrying
  • Insulated interior with food-grade lining
  • Matching backpack available

Things to Consider

  • This option doesn’t have an interior pocket

Buy It: Bixbee Octopus Water Resistant Lunch Box, $20, Nordstrom.com

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Arctic Zone Reusable Toddler Lunch Box with Accessories

Best Toddler Lunch Box Set

This preschool lunch box has tons of five-star reviews—and we can see why. The sweet unicorn-inspired set includes an ice pack and two food containers, which all fit neatly into the insulated lunch box. Better yet, the leak-proof Microban lining is easy to clean and protects against bacteria, odors and stains. If your little one is an animal lover, this toddler lunch box set will bring a bit of magic to their meal.

What We Love:

  • Comes with tight-sealing food containers
  • Features a carrying handle

Things to Consider:

  • Some buyers mention that the interior is smaller than expected
  • Reviewers say that liquids sometimes leak through the zipped closure

Buy It: Arctic Zone Reusable Toddler Lunch Box with Accessories, $20, Amazon.com

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Rubbermaid LunchBlox Toddler Lunch Bag Kit

Best Toddler Food Jars

Is your child’s preschool lunch box in need of organization? Look no further than these toddler food jars by Rubbermaid. The set consists of a sandwich container and two small cups that can be used to pack scrumptious snacks. The kit even comes with an ice pack that seamlessly snaps onto the food containers, so your little one can look forward to cool, refreshing lunches every day. When they get home, just pop the containers into the dishwasher and the ice pack into the freezer—easy peasy.

What We Love:

  • Set snaps together for simple packing and storage
  • Different sized containers allow for endless lunch possibilities

Things to Consider:

  • Some buyers mention that the food jars leak at times

Buy It: Rubbermaid LunchBlox Toddler Lunch Bag Kit, $19, Amazon.com

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Thermos Funtainer 10 Oz Insulated Toddler Food Jar With Spoon

Best Insulated Toddler Food Jar

When colder temperatures hit, it’s nice to have the option to bring a hot lunch to school. This Thermos lunch container for toddlers keeps food warm for up to five hours (or cold for up to seven hours). Designed with munchkins in mind, the vacuum-insulated stainless steel interior and exterior are super-durable. Parents will appreciate the wide opening, which makes it easy to fill and the fact that it’s top-rack dishwasher-safe. Bonus: It comes with a foldable spoon that can be stored inside the thermos.

What We Love:

  • Wide-mouth design for easy filling, eating and cleaning
  • Comes in solid colors, whimsical designs and prints inspired by kids’ favorite characters

Things to Consider:

  • Some buyers say that food doesn’t stay hot for more than a few hours
  • Lid could be hard for little hands to open without help

Buy It: Thermos Funtainer 10 Oz Insulated Toddler Food Jar With Spoon, $15, Amazon.com

Plus, more from The Bump:

Easy, Tasty Kids’ Lunch Ideas

Best Kids’ Water Bottles for On-the-Go Hydration

Checklist: What to Pack for the First Day of Preschool

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