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The best adult lunchboxes and bento boxes that'll actually inspire you to meal-prep

“When it comes to finding the perfect lunchbox for you, it’s important to keep functionality in mind."
Simple Modern; Calpak
/ Source: TODAY

Out with the brown bag, in with the insulated lunch bag.

While many of us often dread meal prepping and packing our lunch every day, there are ways to make it more fun. One way to make your life just a little bit easier? Investing in top-quality food containers and a lunchbox.

From PlanetBox to Kate Spade, check out our list of the best adult lunch bags and bento boxes that will get you excited to make midday meals. We also spoke with experts on how to find the right gear for your dining preferences.

How to shop for a lunch box

“When it comes to finding the perfect lunchbox for you, it’s important to keep functionality in mind,” recommends Modern Picnic founder Ali Kaminetsky. “You are going to want a lunchbox that is insulated, will protect you against spills and that can fit in easily with your day-to-day life.”

“Insulated lunchboxes typically have a layer of thermal material that helps maintain the temperature of your food,” says co-founder and chief culinary officer for Chiyo Jennifer Jolorte Doro. “Look for lunchboxes that advertise their insulation capabilities, and read reviews to ensure they perform as promised. Bento-style lunchboxes have multiple compartments, which can help keep different foods separate.”

Sustainability is also integral when it comes to searching for the best quality lunchbox. Single-use containers and cutlery take a backseat to more long-lasting options.

“It's best to look for lunch boxes made from sustainable materials such as stainless steel, bamboo or silicone,“ recommends Jolorte Doro. “Single-use is definitely worse for the long term unless the single-use container is fully recyclable. Maybe the stackers or reusable bags won’t last forever but they’ll likely get 3+ years of use, so it’s one piece then versus multiple pieces over time.”

Adult lunch bags to shop

Mazforce Insulated Lunch Bag

Colorways: 2 | Dimensions: 10.2" x 8.7" x 4" | Capacity: 6 liters | Care: Spot or wipe clean

This traditional waterproof lunchbox with leakproof insulation has over 15,000 verified five-star ratings on Amazon. One awesome feature is the clip-on handle, which users can't stop raving about. "My favorite part is the clip on the handle, makes it easy to clip on the side of your backpack or purse and not have to hold it," one reviewer said.

EasyFun Insulated Lunch Bag

Colorways: 13 | Dimensions: 10.5" x 10.5" | Capacity: 11.5 liters | Care: Spot or wipe clean

This insulated nylon lunch tote with 4,200+ verified five-star Amazon ratings can practically fit all the food in the world! Aside from its large size, this bag is made with a leakproof aluminum foil liner and has outside pockets for extra storage.

Fit & Fresh Townsend Lunch Kit

Colorways: 4 | Dimensions: 9” x 9” x 4.75” | Capacity: N/A | Care: Spot or wipe clean

What time is it? Lunch time! Fit & Fresh have partnered with Simplify to create a colorful new collection of lunch boxes. This tote with three layers of insulation comes with two snack containers so you can include some yummy treats with your sandwich.

High Sierra Single Compartment Lunch Bag

Colorways: 13 | Dimensions: 10” × 7” × 3.3” | Capacity: 5 liters | Care: Spot clean with mild soap and water; air dry

This single compartment lunch box features a fully insulated main compartment with PEVA lining and grab handle with side release buckle to easily attach to a backpack. There’s also an internal name tag to let all your colleagues know this is your lunch, so hands off!

Simple Modern Blakely Lunch Bag

Colorways: 9 | Dimensions: 8.5” x 5.1” x 8” | Capacity: 4 liters | Care: Spot or wipe clean

This water-resistant lunch box with a removable and adjustable strap is the ultimate choice for commuting to the office. Triple-insulated with side compartments for added storage, this bucket-style option is the answer to all your lunchtime prayers.

“This is my 3rd purchase of these lunch bags. The size is good for packing a whole lunch and snacks for the day, without being too big. They have been our favorite lunch bags to date,” raved one verified buyer.

Fit & Fresh Lyon Luxe Lunch Bag

Colorways: 2 (black available here) | Dimensions: 9” x 10” x 5” | Capacity: N/A | Care: Spot or wipe clean

This designed “By Women, For Women” emerald green bag might be the most luxurious lunchbox on the block — but nobody will know you didn't pay a luxurious price for it. Made from faux croc leather, this insulated lunch tote doesn’t sacrifice style for substance, though its wipeable, water-resistant interior can handle. In addition to the lunch bag, this set includes a six-piece travel utensil set.

“This lunchbox is deep, and big enough that when I add my salad container to it, I don't have to squeeze it in, and I can fit a few more items in it without having to force the zipper closed. The fact that it's a lunchbox, but super fashionable is nice. I received lots of compliments on it; that just made me happy,” said one five-star reviewer.

Hydro Flask 8L Lunch Tote

Colorways: 5 | Dimensions: 12” x 11” x 5” | Capacity: 8 liters | Care: Wipe clean

This lunch bag from Hydro Flask is waterproof, lightweight, insulated and spacious enough for a complete meal and then some. It keeps food chilled or warm for up to four hours, according to the brand, and has a collapsible design for easy storage after the work day.

Baggu Puffy Lunch Bag

Colorways: 9 | Dimensions: 7" x 8.5" x 6.25" | Capacity: N/A | Care: Spot clean; line dry

The viral brand's lunch bag has been one of the top 10 rising search queries on Google Trends over the last 12 months and we totally get it. Beyond its interior and polyfill being sourced from recycled materials, shoppers called out loving its lightweight feel and how it "holds your standard Tupperware sizes without struggle."

Vera Bradley Cotton Bunch Lunch Bag

Colorways: 39 | Dimensions: 9” x 7.5” x 4.25" | Capacity: 4 liters | Care: Machine-wash cold, gentle cycle, line-dry

Be bold with this lightweight lunch tote from Vera Bradley. This adorable recycled cotton lunchbox features a PEVA-lined insulated interior and an exterior ID window for extra safekeeping. Unlike the one you had in third grade, this stylish bag will have you looking and feeling like a sophisticated, confident professional.

Calpak Insulated Lunch Bag

Colorways: 21 | Dimensions: 10” x 9” x 7” | Capacity: N/A | Care: Wipe clean

You may have already invested in a Calpak backpack or carry-on luggage, but did you know the brand also carries insulated lunch bags? With a drawstring closure, ample outer pockets and water-resistant interior, this "cute and functional" tote is the perfect option for bringing your lunch to work.

PlanetBox Rover Stainless Steel Lunchbox

Colorways: 1 | Dimensions: 10" x 7.4" x 1.5" | Capacity: N/A | Care: Hand-wash or dishwasher-safe

The durable, stainless steel Rover, PlanetBox’s bestselling lunchbox, includes two leak-proof containers (cutely called the Big Round Dipper and Little Round Dipper) and five bento-style compartments for easy grazing and food separation. It also comes with a set of magnets for an extra touch of customization.

“Durable, functional, beautiful - and no plastic, these lunchboxes are my favorite,” summarized one verified buyer who gave this five stars.

Corkcicle Lunchpod

Colorways: 4 | Dimensions: 11” x 8.75” x 4” | Capacity: N/A | Care: Spot clean exterior with damp cloth and mild detergent; wipe clean interior with water and mild detergent; air-dry before storing

Lunch just became your new favorite meal with this sleek new launch from Corkcicle. With a sturdy neoprene exterior, "crush-proof" design and several pockets inside and out, this high-performing insulated tote is designed to keep your food cold for hours.

“I absolutely love this lunch box. It has a lot of space for me to pack lunch plus snacks, yet it doesn’t take too much space in my work bag. Everything is kept cool for hours. Plus, it’s beautiful and looking at the vibrant color makes me happy,” said one five-star reviewer.

Yeti Daytrip Lunch Box

Colorways: 13 | Dimensions: 10.7” x 8.7” x 4.6” | Capacity: 1 liter | Care: Wipe clean with warm water and mild soap; air-dry before storing

If you splurge on this waterproof lunch box from Yeti, we promise you won’t regret it (though if you change your mind, it comes with a three-year warranty). This easy-to-clean, insulated box is the ideal option for lunching solo or with your favorite co-workers in the cafeteria. It’s lightweight, closed-cell foam is designed to keep your lunch fresh with its temperature-holding power.

Dagne Dover Axel Neoprene Lunch Box

Colorways: 5 | Dimensions: 10” x 4” x 7” | Capacity: 0.4 liters | Care: Hand-wash in cold water with mild detergent; lay flat to dry

Adulting never looked so good. This neoprene lunch box from Dagne Dover is waterproof with a wipeable lining in case you accidentally channel your inner child and spill your milk. This tote also features an adjustable shoulder strap, so it'll be zero hassle to transport to and from work.

Modern Picnic The Luncher

Colorways: 15 | Dimensions: 8.5” x 9.8” x 6.5” | Capacity: N/A | Care: Wipe clean with warm water and soap

This isn't your average lunchbox. If you're dressing to impress and willing to splurge, this Modern Picnic "Luncher" is the bag for you. You'll certainly fool your colleagues into thinking this insulated lunchbox is a handbag. It's designed with a premium vegan leather exterior, a lengthy shoulder strap, a slot for cutlery and the option to monogram.

"I always get compliments on this lunchbox when I use it and it's such a conversation starter; people can't believe that it's not just a purse! It's definitely a step up from the traditional (and boring) lunchboxes you're used to," Shop TODAY associate editor Kamari Stewart summarizes. "The inside is insulated so it keeps my refrigerated foods fresh on my commute and it's super easy to clean inside if you have any spills (I've had my fair share already). The handle is super sturdy and the loop is a good length so it sits comfortably on your arm. Another thing I really like is that the magnetic clasp almost automatically comes together when you put the handle up so you don't have to worry about your lunch spilling out."

Containers and bento boxes

Cat & Jack Bento Box

Compartments: 3 | Dimensions: 2.25” x 8.5” x 6” | Flatware included? No | Microwave safe? Yes (without lid) | Dishwasher-safe? Yes

If you’re a total kid at heart, you’ll absolutely love this adorable bento box. This dishwasher-safe container is BPA-free and features three separate sections and a removable lid with side clasps to avoid your lunch spilling all over your laptop backpack.

Bentgo Classic Stackable Bento Lunch Box

Compartments: 3 (two in top container, one in bottom container) | Dimensions: Top: 6.8” x 4.3” x 1.7”; bottom: 7” x 4.5” x 2.5” | Flatware included? Yes | Microwave safe? Yes | Dishwasher-safe? Yes (top shelf recommended)

Looking for a bento style that takes food separation to the next level? This popular Bentgo option has not only won shoppers (just check the 32,000+ verified five-star ratings on Amazon alone), but also Shop TODAY associate editor Emma Stessman. "I love my stackable Bentgo!" she said. "The bottom compartment is big for the main part of my meal, and the top one is sectioned off so I can keep my foods separate. Also love that it's all microwaveable and comes with utensils!"

Lovina Bento Box for Adults

Compartments: 3 | Dimensions: 7.8” x 5.1” x 2.7” | Flatware included? Yes | Microwave safe? Yes (without lid) | Dishwasher-safe? Yes (hand-washing recommended for lid)

If you're looking for a smaller bento box with multiple compartments, this pick is the perfect choice. It's lightweight and leakproof, which gives you one less thing to worry about during your day.

Umami Bento Lunch Box

Compartments: 2 (adjustable) | Dimensions: 7.2” x 4.13” W x 4.21” | Flatware included? Yes | Microwave safe? Yes (without lid) | Dishwasher-safe? Yes (wipe clean recommended for lids)

This bento box with 9,200+ verified five-star ratings helps you distribute the correct portions and avoid overeating at work. Complete with bamboo lids, this convenient container is dishwasher-safe, odorless and durable for long-lasting use. It also comes with two screw-top jars for whatever dressing, condiment or accompaniment you'd like to add to your lunch spread.

Smallable Haps Nordic Steel Boxes

Compartments: 1 | Flatware included? No | Microwave safe? No | Dishwasher-safe? Yes

“Stainless steel containers with silicone lids is another great option [for lunch containers],” suggests Jolorte Doro. This new set of three BPA-free containers are waterproof, sturdy and made with recyclable, biodegradable materials, according to the brand.

Bentgo Glass Leakproof Salad Container

Compartments: 4 (in top tray) | Dimensions: 8.50” x 9.50” x 4.75” | Flatware included? Yes | Microwave safe? Yes | Dishwasher-safe? Yes (top shelf recommended)

Keep everything from croutons to veggies fresh with this glass leakproof salad container from Bentgo. When using its insertable tray, this clear container can hold up to 7.5 cups of food, according to the brand. This set also conveniently comes with a fork and dressing container, so you’ll be ready to dig in instantly. Lettuce celebrate!

Frequently asked questions

Why should you bring your lunch to work?

If packing your lunch once seemed like a daunting task, times have certainly changed.

“Bringing your own lunch to work is faster, cheaper and healthier,” says Kaminetsky. “By making food at home, you are not only spending significantly less than if you were to eat out or order takeout but you are also reducing single-use plastics. We all want to savor every moment of our lunch breaks, so why waste it by waiting in line for an overpriced salad?”

Dos & don’ts for bringing your lunch to work

If bringing your lunch to work still seems unappealing, Kaminetsky is here to provide beneficial dos and don’ts to help guarantee a successful mealtime experience:

Do: Use a leakproof container — you'd rather not worry about accidental spills.

Do: Prep your lunch the night before! In case you are running late in the morning, you can just grab it and go!

Don't: Throw your lunch in a paper or plastic bag — not only are they wasteful, but they are definitely not functional.

Don't: Use unnecessary single-use plastics to transport your food — try to find a more sustainable alternative.

Don't: Pack the same thing every day — no one wants to eat the same thing every day. Try to switch it up, so you don’t get bored of it!

Meet the experts

Ali Kaminetsky is the founder and CEO of Modern Picnic, a modern lunchbox brand geared towards women.

Jennifer Jolorte Doro is a clinical nutritionist, co-founder and chief culinary officer for Chiyo, a nutritional program geared towards maternal health.