Selena from How About Cookie here! I’m back to share some of my favorite back-to-school lunch gear from Target. I know; packing lunches may not be the first thing on your mind as you’re lounging on the beach with your kids, but as those Target aisles will tell you, school is just around the corner. Feel free to keep up with my blog for meal ideas and bento-packing tips, but first things first: let’s talk lunchboxes.
You’ll need these essentials to make lunch-packing a success:
- a sturdy food container
- an insulated thermos for hot food
- insulated lunchbox
- ice pack
- water bottle
The back-to-school section has been up for a while, so here are some of my recommendations:
Goodbyn containers and Lunchskins sandwich bags. These are in both the back-to-school section and the regular lunch section, so make sure to check both. Goodbyns at Target come in three sizes: the full-size Bynto (top) with three sections, the square-shaped salad or sandwich container (bottom), and the small snack container (not pictured, but see them here) with two sections. Super durable, easy to clean, and easy for kids to open and close. The Lunchskins come in a two-pack (sandwich sized and snack size) and are a fun, washable alternative to plastic baggies. I own both brands and love them.
Blue Avocado pouches and character pouches. These were in the food container section (Rubbermaid aisle) at my store, but are perfect for the lunchbox. The all-clear ones have a zip lock, the ones with a colored piping with a top zipper. Both come in a two-pack and are great for dry food and snacks, crayons, a change of clothes, you name it. I don’t know what brand those Ninja Turtle ones are but your TMNT fan will love those.
Dollar Spot bento containers. These were a pleasant surprise! They look similar to Sistema Klip-It lunch cubes with space for a sandwich and two sides, all for just $3.
Character lunch bags will get your reluctant kids excited for school, and most fit the Goodbyn Bynto, albeit with room for little else. Tip: choose a lunchbox with a bottle holder on the outside to save interior space for your containers.
Thermos FUNtainer bottles: Kids will need water throughout the day, and I’ve heard of many moms who pack smoothies or milk in these.
Thermos FUNtainer food jars: These are a must for cooler months to pack soups, stews, pasta, even quesadillas, chicken nuggets, or mac and cheese.
Ice packs: Character ice packs are mixed in to this section (the Hello Kitty), but more choices are in the regular lunchbox aisle.
Embark lunch bags. These bigger lunchboxes have more room for bigger appetites, and some have hard sides for more durability.
Size comparison: The top row shows an Easylunchbox (not sold at Target, but one of my favorites) and a Goodbyn Bynto in the same small Circo bag. The bottom row shows the Easylunchbox in a deep character bag (this was a Barbie one that lights up) and a Goodbyn in an Embark bag.
Camelbak water bottles and matching Circo lunch bags. How cute are these sets? The designs coordinate so you can get your little one a matching set. This water bottle is the 12-oz size.
More Camelbak water bottle options. More Camelbak designs are available in the 12-oz size. For bigger kids, opt for the 20-oz size. (The biggest bottles sold at Target are 24-25 oz.)
Labels. Finally, label all your finds so they don’t end up in the lost and found bin. These are a great affordable alternative to higher-priced designer labels. The ones on the left are microwave and dishwasher safe, ideal for your containers and water bottles. The ones on the right are for fabric and also machine washable. I’ll need to pick those up and test-drive them on our lunch bags!
Selena Kohng is a mom of three by day and freelance writer and blogger by night. She started making fun food for her kids to encourage them to eat healthier, and it’s her most addicting hobby. Clearance shopping at Target is a close second. Follow her bento lunches and food art on her personal blog, How About Cookie, on Instagram, and on her Facebook fan page.