The other day we started looking at how to assemble your own reusable lunch kit. For this you’ll need a stand alone reusable lunch bag or box. Then you’ll need to gather some extra supplies, such as a water bottle, food container, cloth napkins and more.
Choose a few items from each category below and you’ll be able to pack a nice waste-free lunch all year long. Oh, and since I don’t want to say, “BPA-free, toxin-free, chemical free” all day long – if something is linked below, and I don’t mention it, assume that yes, I did look it up and the company claims the item is ick-free; meaning no BPA, no extra chemicals and the item is food safe.
Water & juice bottles
You’ll need one good water bottle and one smaller bottle for milk or juice, for days when your child might like an extra drink. See my large guide – 10 cool BPA-free reusable water bottles for kids for ideas.
You’ll need about 4-6 good food containers. I own around 8 various sized food containers, so I don’t have to wash them each night (I normally use about 3-4 containers per packed lunch). Look for BPA-free plastic containers or stainless steel mini food containers. I normally don’t recommend glass as it’s too heavy and breakable, but there are a few decent glass containers for kids.
If you want some DIY (and super inexpensive) ideas consider reusing yogurt cups, baby food jars or other small containers that food comes in.
Below are some good food container options.
- I love my Citizenpip Pippin Lunch Set – these also come in cool new colors; Tangerine, Bubblegum or Steel .
- Kinetic Go Green GlassLock Containers – come with a BPA-free airtight, leak-proof lid and containers nest inside one another for compact storage. Made of tempered safety glass. Many sizes available.
- Gel-Cool Bento Box – has non-leaking Gel-Cool layer in the lid to keep food cold. Also available in a cute Polar Bear style box.
- Easy Lunchbox Compartmentalized Food Containers – Features a large compartment perfect for a sandwich or main entree. The two smaller sections can be used for complimentary side dishes. One lid covers all the compartments and holds everything securely. Made of non-toxic, food-safe, polypropylene (PP or plastic #5). Plastic # 5 is recyclable in many areas.
- LunchBots Duo Stainless Steel Lunch Box/Food Container There’s also a LunchBots Uno Lunch Container, which is one large container vs. a split container.
- Thermos Foogo Leak-Proof Stainless Steel Food Jar – perfect for warm dishes or soup. Or take a look at Kids Konserve 12-Ounce Insulated Stainless-Steel Thermos.
- Innate MC2 Stainless Steel Food Container has an innovative design with an 18/8 stainless steel bottom container and a European food-grade silicone lid that expands into a microwavable bowl.
- I have a New Wave Enviro Stainless Steel Food Container and really like it, although the lid can be a little hard to manage for young kids. On the plus side, the lid stays on like mad – NO leaks.
- Good for younger kids’ packed lunches is the Thinkbaby BPA Free Feeding Set, which is meant for babies, but good for on-the-go preschoolers or kindergartners too. Comes with many containers that will fit into a lunch box, such as a bowl with lid, soup bowl with lid, bento box with air tight lid, plus for use at home a kids cup and fork and spoon.
- To Go Ware 2-Tier Stainless Lunch Box – you’ll still need a lunch bag, but this is a great multi-use food container.
- Nalgene reusable jars – made of durable, safe BPA-free plastic.
Reusable snack baggies
Reusable baggies are a great space saving alternative to food containers. They don’t work for everything though, so I use both. Reusable baggies are perfect for dried fruit, crackers and other small non-messy items. Some are made special for sandwiches though and can take a little more mess.
- I have the Plum Creek Reusable Fabric Sandwich and Snack Bags and they hold up well, are easy to wash and save a lot of space in Cedar’s lunch bag.
- WasteNot Saks Sandwich & Snack Bag
- Reuseit Sandwich Bag – available in other colors as well.
- ReUsies Snack Bags
- Graze Organic snack and sandwich bags (set of five) – adorable and organic cotton! Also comes in a set of three.
Other food container options
Beyond food containers and reusable baggies you do have a few more options. Some save more space and others are just really cool.
3. Wrap N Mats open flat into a placemat, for a clean eating surface anywhere and are food-safe – 100% BPA, lead and phthalate-free.
4. FreshSnackPack Sandwich and Snack Bag – made with PVC free, phthalate free, non-toxic EVA plastic and comes with a built in placemat.
Of course you can send any silverware you have with a child’s lunch. However, getting your child his own set means you won’t lose home silverware and also kids enjoy having their own fun flatware set.
- Trebimbi Puppets 3-pc. Flatware Set – Sky Blue
- To Go Ware RePEat Bamboo Utensil Set – made from sustainably harvested bamboo and comes with a carrycase made from recycled plastic bottles (PET).
- Fred Dinnersaurs Fork and Spoon Set made with silicone handles.
- Trebimbi Gnam 3-pc. Flatware Set – Aurora
- Bambu Kids Utensils – natural and finished with top grade natural, food-safe oil; dye and chemical free.
- Fred and Friends Snack and Stack.
- Green Toys BPA-Free Feeding Spoon/Fork
- Fred & Friends Chimpsticks Chopsticks
- Danesco 3-Piece Stainless Steel Children’s Flatware Set, Teddy Bear
Any old cloth napkins you have laying around the house will do. If you want to get fancy, here are some options.
- Litter-Free Lunch Organic Cotton Napkins
- Fabkins Everyday Cloth Napkins for Kids – Fair Trade napkins made with soft 100% certified organic cotton.
- Kids Konserve Set of 4 Caterpillar Cotton Napkins
- Park B.Smith Eco Astor 4-Piece Recycled Cotton Napkin Set