Best plastic free lunch box gear for kids, including containers, snack size boxes, and water bottles. Read on to prepare your kids for back-to-school with a healthy lunchbox, even before the food gets packed. (links below are affiliate links in Amazon for you to see the various sizes available.)
What are some first steps we can take to create a plastic free lunch box for kids?
- Switch to glass and stainless steel whenever possible.
- Purchase produce not wrapped in plastic, or remove once you purchase from the store.
- Transfer food to glass storage containers as you meal prep.
- Avoid putting any plastic you have in the dishwasher.
Why do we want a plastic free lunch box for kids?
In case you missed it, the Academy of Pediatrics released a new study showing the danger of plastics and the effects on children. They released a statement expressing concern about the scientific evidence that chemicals from plastics interfere with the body’s natural hormones and long-term development. The chemicals that are cause for concern in the latest statement include phthalates, which are needed to make plastic flexible. It also includes bisphenol (BPA) which is still used to line metal cans, and also perfluoroalkyl (PFCs) found in grease proof paper and packaging.
Infants and children are particularly vulnerable to exposure to hormone disruptors. This can increase their risk of obesity, diabetes, and fertility issues. Make the switch to glass and stainless steel, for your kitchen and for creating a plastic free lunch box for kids.
Best Plastic Free Lunch Box
Let’s start with the actual bag, or tote, for your kid’s lunch. There are so many options, but not all are created equal. Look for ones that are PVC, BPA & Phthalate-free, and CPSIA compliant. One of our favorites has been the Wildkin brand. (they also make really sturdy backpacks too!)
- Plastic free lunch box bento style in stainless steel
- Rover is great for most school aged kids.
- Launch is great for older kids (and adults)
- Comes with coordinating containers for “wet” food like yogurt, applesauce, and oatmeal.
- variety of simple, stainless steel containers
- great for busy parents…keeps packing simple and you can toss them in the dishwasher at the end of the day.
- I have multiple on hand so some are ready to prep, while others are getting washed overnight
Plastic free lunch box snack containers, great food storage containers for home and school
- Kids Konserve– variety of sizes and easy to open silicone lids. I’ve used them for years, and finally ordered a second set last year. Love them.
- Kid Basix Safe Snacker– sandwich size option, but also fits a salad for my 9-year-old. Added this to our lineup last year and it’s a great multi-use option. Also good for car trips.
- opt for generic colors so the containers don’t “belong” to any particular child. It will make your packing lunch life easier.
- Wean Green– we have had our first set of Wean Green containers since our youngest went to daycare at 9 months. We packed baby food in them, and now they hold her salad dressings! They now offer a variety of sizes and they are super durable. Dishwasher friendly and the square sizes pack really well in the lunch box. As you go up in size, they are also great for meal prep!
Plastic Free Lunch Box Bags and Accessories
- Beeswax wraps- skip the bag and use a beeswax wrap. This is great for young kids as it’s easy to open, and doesn’t add extra weight to their backpack like glass does.
- Lunchskins are our favorite fabric sandwich bags. Itzy Ritzy zippered fabric bags are my favorite for smaller snack size options. They have a ton of cute patterns too!
- Bamboo utensils to pack for oatmeal, salads, or yogurt parfaits for lunch. Stainless steel kid utensils are great for the dishwasher, but adds more weight to the lunch bag.
- Stainless steel thermos options are another great way to add more variety to your kid’s lunch. We like the Lunchbots Thermo Soup Jar. It works for when we send in oatmeal or a yogurt parfait. (Or a fried egg that stays hot and can be used for an egg sandwich!)
Plastic Free Water Bottle for Lunch Box
This has been a struggle for way longer than I would like to admit. Between straws that are hard to clean, leaky snap covers, and paint that chips off, we have seen it all. I can give you a few suggestions of what everyone has been happiest with lately.
- Contigo Thermalock bottle– we bought this last September and it’s still in great shape for the school year ahead! No straw, easy to clean. I do think it’s better for older kids as it may be challenging to open it.
- Eco Vessel Kids Scout bottle– this has also latest over a year for us. It does have a food-grade silicone straw, but it detaches easily and the spout cleans well too. My younger kids have this one and love it.
- As our kids get older I see them asking for bigger water bottles. Certainly for sports they need more water. The Hydro Flask brand is a favorite in our house as they have a variety of lids, depending on what you need. The sport top is the easiest for the kids to “lock” so we don’t end up with wet backpacks!
Whew! That’s a lot of info about how to switch to a plastic free lunch box! Happy back to school everyone!
- NY Times article
- Back to School Meal Plan
- Green Smoothies Your Kids Will Love
- Get Organized for Back to School-free printable
50 Snacks for Energy
Snacks for the whole family are important and deserve some planning. Moms need snacks too! Get my list of 50 healthy ideas to stock in your kitchen and plan them for yourself, and the lunch boxes this week. Skip the processed stuff and give yourself better quality food. Get ready for more energy, better sleep and a happier tummy.
About Emily Roach
Emily Roach is a culinary nutrition expert and works with clients to create a healthy lifestyle design. She loves teaching her kids how to cook, playing tennis and inspiring women to take control of their health. Emily does one-on-one consulting, cooking workshops and speaking engagements.