Must-Have School & Work Lunch Supplies

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If you are shopping for back-to-school (or work) lunch supplies, check out my recommendations for the best lunch-packing products that we have loved using over the years.

Caption reads Must-have School / Work Lunch Supplies
Must have School / Work Lunch Supplies

To enjoy a good mid-day meal at school or work, you need lunch supplies that’ll keep your meals at the right temperature and won’t leak.

After having packed lunches for over a decade now, here are some of the products that I love and recommend.

Lunch bags

When shopping for a lunch bag, here’s what I look for:

  • Leakproof.
  • Front flaps with easy access to snacks.
  • Insulated.
  • A slot to hold a water bottle.
  • Sturdy enough to last at least a year, if not more.


  • Always have backups of kids’ lunch supplies in case they forget their lunchboxes at school (my kids have done it several times!).
  • I have listed a few options for both kids and adults. All of these come in different colors than what you see in the images below. If you don’t like the one you see here, click on the image to go to the site to find other colors/options.
  1. Kids Lunch Box – Option 1
Yellow lunchbox

These cute bags have great reviews, and if your kid loves to match stuff, they sell coordinating backpacks too! The only con is that it doesn’t have a slot for water bottles.

Great for toddlers and preschoolers!

  1. Kids Lunch Box – Option 2
Black lunchbox with flowers on it

Though they have a kid’s version, get the adult one because it has more space without being bulky.

I love that it has a slot on the side for water and pockets in the front to hold snacks and silverware.

  1. Kids Lunch Box – Option 3
Blue kids lunch box

This is a good option if you own a Bentgo lunch box. You can place the lunch box horizontally, and it fits a full meal with snacks and drinks.

  1. Lunch box for teens and adults – Option 1
Grey Insulated Lunch box with blue ice-packs

This is a super cute bag that comes with enough space to hold large containers. This insulated bag has front pockets + side slots as well.

  1. Lunch box for teens and adults – Option 2
Black insulated lunch box with leather straps

This double-deck insulated lunch bag allows you to separate cold and hot food.

Need more lunch bag options? Find a few more options here – school lunch bag supplies

Lunch box containers

Here’s what to look for when buying lunch box containers –

  1. Easy to open.
  2. BPA-free.
  3. Leak-proof.
  4. Will keep food at the right temperature.
  5. Environmentally friendly – no single-use plastics.

I prefer glass or steel containers when I pack lunch for my kids or for work. Here are the ones we use to pack lunches and snacks –

  1. Glass containers with 2 and 3 compartments
Glass containers with 2 and 3 compartments

We use glass containers similar to the ones shown here. These are perfect if you need to keep your food separated.

  1. Single-compartment glass containers
Stacked single compartment glass containers

This set includes four 2-cup glass containers that are perfect for kids. You can use the larger ones to store leftovers. I love that these don’t stain easily and that the lids are BPA-free.

  1. Steel lunch boxes
Steel lunch boxes and stainless steel water bottle

I love these because it comes with an adjustable/removable divider. It is also dishwasher, freezer, and oven-safe. Bonus: It comes with an insulated stainless steel reusable water bottle.

  1. BPA-free plastic containers
Plastic containers stacked

These BPA-free and stain-resistant plastic containers are a good alternative if you don’t want to use glass containers.

  1. Bento Lunch box container for kids
Purple Bento Lunch Box container

This BPA-free lunch box is popular with kids. The different compartments allow the food to be separated and gives you an opportunity to serve them a variety of foods.

Snack containers

You’ll love these environment-friendly options! No need to use single-use plastic anymore.

  1. Reusable silicone containers
Green silicone containers

I love these Zip Tops for sandwiches and snacks! They are easy to open and close. I use them to pack a week’s supply of roasted nuts or trail mix so the kids always have a healthy snack when they need them.

  1. Stainless steel snack/dressing containers
Stainless steel snack/dressing containers stacked

I love to use these for salad dressings, snacks, and fruits. They come in sizes of 3, are BPA-free, and are plastic-free.

  1. Small glass bowls with lids
8 small glass bowls lined in two rows

These are great for snacks, chopped fruits, or a side of yogurt.

  1. Pyrex bowls
Stacked Pyrex bowl containers

You may already have these at home. They can be used for packing snacks and sides.


Having a thermos comes in handy when you don’t have access to a microwave at school or work. It is also helpful when you have limited time to eat and don’t want to stand in a line to heat your food.

Tips for buying thermos:

  • When buying a thermos, make sure it is wide-mouthed and can store food warm for at least 4-6 hours.
  • 10 oz 14 oz is a good size for kids. For teens and adults, I would recommend at least 16 oz.

Note: To ensure that your thermos keeps your food warm, follow the instructions below –

  1. Fill your thermos with boiling water. Put the lid on.
  2. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes, and then pour the water out.
  3. Add steaming hot food (at or above 74°C or 165°F).
  4. Secure the lid.
  1. Thermos for kids – Option 1
Steel and pink thermos

This 14oz thermos has a wide 3.5-inch opening making it easy for kids to scoop out noodles and rice. Food stays warm for over 6 hours and cold for up to 12 hours.

  1. Thermos for kids – Option 2
7 colorful thermos

We own this 12-oz thermos and love the fact that it is wide-mouthed. Though the site does not mention it, my kids have reported that it keeps the food warm for at least 4 hours.

  1. Thermos for kids – Option 3
Blue thermos

This 10 oz jar is great for younger kids. It keeps hot for up to 5 hours and cold for up to 7 hours.

  1. Thermos for teens and adults Option 1
Light Green thermos

This 17-oz wide-mouthed thermos comes with a pressure release button that prevents the lid from getting stuck. It is ideal for keeping foods hot for up to 6 hours or cold for up to 12 hours. 

  1. Thermos for teens and adults Option 2
Stainless steel thermos

This 18oz wide-mouthed thermos keeps food hot or cold for up to 12 hours. It comes in a 14-oz size as well.

  1. Thermos for teens and adults Option 3
Stainless steel thermos with blue cap

This 16oz, triple-insulated thermos mimics a bowl shape, making it easy to eat from and convenient to fill! It also comes with a vent button on the top of the lid to release pressure making the lid easy to open. It will keep your meals hot for up to 6 hours.

  1. Reusable ice packs
4 reusable ice packs with a penguin with sun glasses cover

These slim ice packs are perfectly sized for all types of bags. This set includes four reusable, non-toxic, BPA-Free plastic ice packs.

A sign up form which reads pack a well-balanced school (or work) lunch with ease. Grab this free lunch packing cheatsheet.

Water bottles

  1. Water bottle for kids under 6
Purple and green water bottle with a sippy cap

This 12 oz bottle comes with a sippy cap and is the perfect size for toddlers.

  1. Water bottle for kids under 6
Green water bottle with Anna and Elsa on it

If your kids are into Disney characters, they’ll love this 12 oz funtainer thermos. It keeps drinks cold for 12 hours and comes with pop-up straw and integrated carry handle.

  1. Water bottle – for all ages
5  insulated water bottles of different colors

This simple modern insulated water bottle comes in different sizes from 14 oz to 84 oz. They also offer different types of lids – BPA-free straw lid, chug lid and handle lid.

  1. Water bottle – for teens and adults
Light blue Hydroflask

We love this 18 oz Hydro Flask metal water bottle – it can keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours or hot for up to 12.

To see some more recommendations for lunch supplies, click here – School lunch supplies

Helpful resources

Get dinner on the table faster!

Learn my meal planning + prepping secrets to make fresh Indian food without spending hours in the kitchen.

An overhead shot of Gujarathi kadhi along with rice, rotis and a side of lemon


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