Remember when choosing a lunch box was the most vital decision you could make before the start of the school year? Now that you're in charge of actually buying school supplies, you might be surprised that the classic hard plastic lunch boxes of your childhood are hard to find.
Whether it was due to concerns over BPA (a common chemical in plastic) or an increased demand for insulation, many manufacturers have opted to create soft lunch bags over hard plastic boxes. But hard lunch boxes are starting to make a comeback. Modern versions of the hard plastic lunch box have received a major facelift. Not only are newer plastic models BPA-free, but many also feature insulation and bento-style compartments that let you separate foods and snacks without the need for additional disposable bags.
Although soft, insulted lunch boxes are still a popular choice, lots of parents will tell you that hard plastic boxes are easier to clean, tend to last longer, and aren't as quick to pick up every single odor left behind from spilled soup or drink.
If you've been searching far and wide for the best hard plastic lunch box for your child, I've got 12 safe and well-designed models that will last them all year.
1A Lunch Box With Rubber Handles That Makes It Easier To Carry
With six styles to choose from, including Batman, classic LEGO, and LEGO Friends, these lunch boxes feature easy-to-hold rubber handles and are free of BPA, phthalates, and PVC. Reviewers noted that this is not a huge lunch box but it can fit a bagged sandwich, snack, and drink, which makes it ideal for younger children and toddlers.
2An Award-Winning Lunch Box With A Labeled Tray
This award-winning lunch box is designed to help kids establish healthy eating habits. Its unique removable tray features six compartments, five of which are divided into ½-cup portions and labeled with one of the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. It's dishwasher safe, BPA- and phthalate-free, and available in five designs.
3A Double Decker Bento-Style Hard Lunch Box With A Click-Latch
Organize your child's food using this double compartment bento-style lunch box, which has a click-lock latch and built-in handle. The box is FDA-approved and PVC-, BPA-, and phthalate-free. One level features two roomy compartments and a second level has three compartments.
4A Two-Tier Panda Bear Lunch Box With Food Compartments And A Soup Bowl
This fun bento lunch box has two separate compartments for food and snacks and a top lid that doubles as a bowl. This box is BPA-free, and every component except the inner lid is both microwave and dishwasher safe.
5A Retro-Cool Lunch Box With Separate Compartments
This hard lunch box has three separate compartments and a kid-friendly locking-lid design that prevents spills. It's free of BPA, PVC, and phthalates, and comes in a variety of retro designs that include robots, cupcakes, and hedgehogs.
6A Dishwasher-Friendly, Insulated Lunch Box That Comes With An Ice Pack
Consider this lunch box the best of both words. It's a hard plastic lunch box that also happens to be insulated, so it will keep your child's food and drink fresh. It's free of BPA and includes a non-toxic, snap-in ice pack. The lunch box is dishwasher safe and is available in dark blue or pink.
7A 'Thomas & Friends' Lunch Box With A Sandwich Container And Canteen
Toddlers and young children will love this plastic Thomas & Friends lunch box, which comes with a double-decker sandwich container and an 11.5-ounce canteen with a straw that pops open when your child hits a button.
8A Two-Layered Lunchbox With A Clear Compartment For Utensils
This two-layered lunchbox lets you easily separate foods, and it has a secure snap-on lid that prevents spills. Plus, there is a clear compartment on top that is perfect for fitting utensils and napkins.
9A 3-D Rabbit Lunch Box With Separate Compartments
This adorable 3-D rabbit lunch box features two tiers with separate compartments that have spill-proof, press-on lids. It's made out of food-safe plastic and the rabbit cover is secured with an elastic band.
10A Stylish Lunch Box You'll Want To Steal For Yourself
Thanks to this lunch box, you no longer have to chose between giving your child something hot or cold to eat. This thermal insulated box has two temperature zones to store hot and cold food at the same time. Although it's pricier than most lunch boxes on the list, it's likely to last long after your kid graduates high school.
11A Bento-Style Stackable Brick Lunch Box For The Most Fun Meal Ever
If you have a child who loves LEGOS, your greatest challenge will be convincing them to stop playing with this bento-style brick lunch box. This smart design features three separate compartments: one large brick to fit sandwiches or an entree portion, and two smaller bricks that stack right on top for snacks and side dishes. A 100 percent cotton carrying bag is included.
12A Minions Lunch Box With A Built-In Water Bottle Compartment
Click the Minions water bottle right into this plastic lunch box, and your child may never lose a drink again (but I can't make promises). You'll be able to fit a sandwich and snack in this box and your child can easily transport it to school, daycare, and field trips, thanks to an easy-carry handle.
13A Plastic Lunch Box With Four Compartments That Comes In A Variety Of Characters
This BPA-free lunch box contains one large compartment and three smaller compartments to keep food separated. Children can choose from a variety of beloved characters like Olaf, Elsa, Thomas and Friends, Monsters University, Minnie Mouse, Minions, and The Avengers. Plus, the box itself is dishwasher safe.
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