How to Select a Lunchbox

A lunch box can save you a lot of money compared to eating out and spare the environment a lot of trash. A good one will also last a long time and keep the food inside cold or warm, not to mention protected from your trip out. Here are some considerations in selecting the right lunchbox for you.


  1. Image titled Select a Lunchbox Step 1
    Get a lunchbox that is larger than you think you need. You may need a larger lunchbox if you are carrying a lot of food for extended trips away from home (even if your extended trips simply mean long workdays). If you use a lot of hard-sided containers, or if you carry a large water bottle or Thermos, plan for the size of those items, too.
  2. Image titled Select a Lunchbox Step 2
    Get a lunchbox that is insulated. Insulation might not be so important if you have a short commute and there's a fridge you can use when you get there. Otherwise, if you want to be able to branch out from peanut butter and jelly, get something insulated and use a freezer pack to keep it cool until lunchtime.
  3. Image titled Select a Lunchbox Step 3
    Consider how many pockets and divisions you want. Do you want to stack things or place them side by side? Do you want everything in one compartment or do you want to keep certain things separate? Do you need a separate pocket for a napkin or fork? Do you need features to contain an ice pack or keep a beverage bottle from tipping?
  4. Image titled Select a Lunchbox Step 4
    Choose something sturdy. Plan to use it for at least a full year.
  5. Image titled Select a Lunchbox Step 5
    Try out the handles, straps, and any closures. Make sure they will make a loaded lunchbox easy, comfortable, and secure to carry (won't pop open or tip over).
  6. Image titled Select a Lunchbox Step 6
    Choose a lunchbox that can contain spills. If your soup or drink leaks, or if that nice, squishy peach gets squished, at least the mess will be contained and not all over the rest of your stuff.
  7. Image titled Select a Lunchbox Step 7
    Choose something washable. For heavy use, this may mean a hard-sided mini cooler, but many soft-sided lunchboxes have plastic or foil liners that can be wiped down and even removed for cleaning.
  8. Image titled Select a Lunchbox Step 8
    Choose something with style.
    • For adults, a plain outside will do fine for the office, but choose fun characters or sophisticated quilting or handbag styling if you prefer. If it's been a few years, look again. There are many styles to choose from.
    • For kids, choose something fun. A favorite cartoon character might be worth the extra expense if it helps convince your younger child that what's inside is fun. For older kids, it's probably best to let them choose the style, so long as it fits everything it needs to.


  • Is there a microwave you can use at your school or work? If not, a vacuum flask or Thermos can keep things warm as well as cold. Coffee, tea, and soup are common choices, but try looking up thermos recipes for things like lasagna and oatmeal.
  • If you can't find quite what you're looking for, consider making your own bag exactly the size, shape and material you'd prefer.
  • Even for adults, the back-to-school offerings of late summer or early fall can offer the widest selection of lunch boxes and some of the best discounts.


  • Empty your lunch box or bag nightly and wash it regularly.

Article Info

Categories: Back to School