Brown bagging it is so 2001.
From bento boxes to heart-shaped grilled cheese, we’re here to make eating—and packing—your toddler’s lunch something neither of you will dread this school year.
Picky eaters beware: mama, you’ve got this!
File this one under your (oh-so-long) list of “why wasn’t this around when we were kids?!” Bento boxes are, quite simply, awesome. Kids love the bright colors and the separate food compartments, and mamas love just about anything that will get our kids to eat. The Bentgo box is one of our faves: it’s perfectly sized for toddler portions, taking the guesswork out of how much food to pack. It’s also dishwasher safe and is completely leak proof.
Pro tip: Yumbox is another one of our faves in this category, and we especially love their mix and match tray inserts.
The Prius of bento boxes, the PlanetBox is the eco-friendly bento of choice. Made from stainless steel and built to last—it comes with a 5-year warranty!—it’s one of the pricier bentos on the market, but for good reason. It’s durable, dishwasher safe, doesn’t retain stains or smells, and can be completely customized with these off-the-charts cute magnet sets.
Pro tip: We love using silicone cups inside our bento to contain smaller items or to further separate foods. Also, they are really fun!
Step up your bento game! Food picks not only add an extra layer of cute to your toddler’s lunch box, but more importantly an extra layer of “I’ll do it myself!” since they encourage feeding independence. They come in a huge array of designs and are great for both decoration and making mini skewers—try some with fruits, veggies, or even fruit snacks for dessert!
Pro tip: These picks are pretty tiny, which makes them great for toddlers’ little hands, but also not something you’d want your kiddo to be using unsupervised.
If bento boxes aren’t your jam, head over to the Lunch Bags section from Pottery Barn Kids. These monogram-worthy, lunch-toting classics come in an array of sizes and enough patterns to make any toddler smile. We love how easy to clean they are, the food-safe vinyl lining, and the option to easily strap them on to a matching backpack.
Pro tip: ?#momhack alert! ?Bento + lunch bag = the ultimate toddler lunch vehicle! We use a PB Kids lunch box, throw in a few ice packs, and then pop in our favorite bento box. Genius, if we do say so ourselves…
And just when you thought your toddler’s lunch couldn’t get any more fun… sandwich cutters! Turning a grilled cheese into a dinosaur is a quick, fun, and easy way to shake up the usual lunch routine and combat picky eating. And hey, even if it doesn’t convince your toddler to eat, at least you’ll have fun eating the leftovers!
Pro tip: Try fruit and veggie cutters and a wooden grill skewer to create mini kebabs!
If you’re anything like us, you’ve purchased more sippy cups than you care to admit. Stop the madness! The Munchkin Stainless Miracle Cup is, well, sort of a miracle. The stainless bottom keeps drinks cold all day (seriously—we tested it!); it doesn’t leak or spill at all, ever; and it’s dishwasher safe with no annoying straws or spouts to keep clean. Win, win, and win. ?
Pro tip: When choosing a toddler cup, stick with rimmed or straw options, which will help support normal muscle development in your child’s mouth.
As your toddler gets a bit older, we love the Kid Classic Sport water bottle from Klean Kanteen. It holds up to 12oz of liquid but is still perfectly-sized for little hands, and the silicone spout and stainless bottom are BPA and Phthalate-free. And of course we ? that one more reusable bottle means one less plastic one.
Pro tip: Klean Kanteen also makes an insulated water bottle option that keeps liquids warm for up to 12 hours and cool for up to 40.
Stuck in a toddler lunch rut? Enter Weelicious, your lunch box recipe ninja. Catherine McCord’s book and website are the go-to for fun and creative toddler recipes perfect for shaking up your usual routine. From PB&J pancake sandwiches to chocolate graham crackers, there’s something here for even the pickiest of toddler palettes.
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