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Back to School Bento Boxes for Every Budget

I know it’s July and the last thing you want to think about is back to school season (or maybe you’ve got a countdown going, really, I won’t judge!) If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know how much I love packing a fun little bento lunch for the boys everyday, it’s fun for me, gives me a way to be creative and the kids love it.

We’ve stuck with the Bentgo Kids’ for the past year, but the kids are getting older I think I’m ready to expand my bento collection! I have a lot of bento packing instafriends, so after asking around and doing a little research this past week I  have come up with lots of bento options and I’m sharing what I found. Some of these are on sale for a limited time so if you’re seeing this and the prices have changed it’s only because the sale is over. Who knew the best time to buy lunchboxes was in July?!

I’m adding an update here, I just hosted a super fun virtual lunch packing party and I’d love for you to join! For details and to register for the next one, click here!

I’ll start with what I already use and love…

Bentgo Kids lunchboxes | Back to school bento boxes | @ginaekirk

The Bentgo kids has been my favorite this year because it’s affordable, easy to use, is BPA free, dishwasher safe and super durable. I pack them inside an insulated lunchbox (like this one) because I also pack a snack for snack time and sometimes an ice pack. Plus the Bentgo doesn’t have a handle, so it would be awkward to carry around I think. Here’s where you can find them:

The Groupon 2 for $50 deal is the best sale happening right now. Every once in a while these are on Amazon as a lightning deal, so keep your eyes peeled! Bentgo also makes two other bento lunch containers, the traditional all-in-one stackable, and the Bentgo Salad.

Bentgo Kids lunchboxes | Back to school bento boxes | @ginaekirk

Bentgo Kids lunchboxes | Back to school bento boxes | @ginaekirk

I don’t own the stackable containers, but I do absolutely love their Bentgo Salad. It’s great for other food and I especially love it for traveling, and I often fill it with pasta on the bottom and mix ins on the top for baby Vinnie. Here’s where you can find them:

Now onto the newbies that I have been looking at! 

YumBox is one that looks very similar to the Bentgo Kids, it’s leakproof, and comes in fun colors. It still doesn’t have a handle, but it does come in many different styles with the option to choose how many compartments you want, which I thought was a neat idea. The Yumbox also has cute little cartoon drawings on the inner compartment, so you can choose your “theme”. 

Bentgo Kids lunchboxes | Back to school bento boxes | @ginaekirk

I’m not sure if I will end up trying this one, simply because it’s very similar to the Bentgo, but I might, because I do like the idea of different compartment sizes and it’s close in price to the Bentgo. Stay tuned on that! Here’s where you can find it…

Next up, Easy Lunchboxes. These are very basic with one large compartment and two smaller ones. One thing I like about these is that you can fit an entire sandwich in the large compartment (something you can’t always do with the Bentgo Kids).

Bentgo Kids lunchboxes | Back to school bento boxes | @ginaekirk I have seen people on Instagram use the silicone baking cups to create more compartments which is a great idea. Considering these are pretty inexpensive, and come in a set of four, I’ll definitely pick some of these up before September! I actually love the colored lids because it’ll make it easy to assign each kid their own box. Here’s where you can find them…

The next one I want to share is a great deal for those of you who don’t want to spend a lot. I found this Fit & Fresh Bento set at Target and it looks similar to the Easy Lunchboxes, though it also comes with icepacks and an insulated lunchbag.

Bentgo Kids lunchboxes | Back to school bento boxes | @ginaekirk

It doesn’t appear (or say) that it’s leakproof, but it does come with inner containers that have lids so for the price I’d say it’s worth a try! Here’s where you can find it…

The last plastic one I want to share is called mmm…Lunch-Buddies. This one is again pretty similar to the Bentgo and the Yumbox, but it also comes with an insulated carrying case. Bentgo Kids lunchboxes | Back to school bento boxes | @ginaekirk

It does have a larger single compartment, is BPA free, dishwasher and microwave safe and comes with an individual lid for the small sauce container which is a good thing! They also advertise it as leakproof which is a bonus in my book. Here’s where you can find it…

Okay, so if plastic is what you prefer, you should have a pretty good selection to choose from above. I, personally, have not tried any stainless steel lunchboxes, but I have been looking into them and what, if anything, makes them better than plastic. 

First up, PlanetBox! These seem to be pretty popular, and after a little research I found that they are very durable. PlanetBox makes their own insulated lunchbags too, which is a plus. 

Bentgo Kids lunchboxes | Back to school bento boxes | @ginaekirk

The only downfall I can find with the PlanetBox is that the lunchbox itself isn’t leakproof, only the smaller containers provided – though they do fit inside the lunchbox. The lunchboxes also come in bundled packages with magnets to make them more fun and colorful, as well as carrying bags. These are the most expensive lunchboxes I have found thus far, if you’re new to packing lunch, I personally would start with something less expensive! Here’s where you can find them…

Last but not least, I wanted to share these LunchBots! They are also a stainless container, but seem to be more affordable and come in lots of different sizes. 

Bentgo Kids lunchboxes | Back to school bento boxes | @ginaekirk

If you’re in the market for stainless steel bento box, I think this is the way to go if you’re a newbie to stainless like me. I don’t think I’m ready to full commit to the $80 PlanetBox, which is why I really like that LunchBots comes in a variety of sizes for about $40. Some of them have colored lids, and others just plain so you can really customize what you get. I think this will be a great option for my 10 year old who may be wary of carrying a bright blue bento box around. You know, because he’s cool now. 😉 More on that later, here’s where you can find these:

So there you have it! If you’re in the market for new bento boxes this school year, one of these is sure to fit your needs and budget. If you have a bento box that you love, tell me about it in the comments below! I’m really excited to share that I’m going to be hosting a lunch packing workshop this summer, more details to come on that. You can subscribe below to get my free Learn To Lunch digital download and lunchbox planner, and be the first to know all the details!


Back to school bento boxes for every budget

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  • Reply
    July 8, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Great post! Ordering a bentgo for my toddler asap.
    Katie @

  • Reply
    Stacey Loring
    July 9, 2016 at 12:19 am

    Those are really neat. I have a few Eco something or other cases for when I pack my lunch, but these are much nicer. I may have to consider grabbing one to test it out.

    • Reply
      July 27, 2016 at 2:30 am

      So glad you found it helpful Stacey!

  • Reply
    August 31, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    Gina- We went with the Bentgo Kids this year then I bought these insulated lunch boxes. Ice packs are built in! – they are on Amazon too and usually under $20.

    • Reply
      September 1, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      This is awesome to know, thank you Lisa!!

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