Bento, waterproof, compact or cute: The best lunch boxes for work or school

by Sarah Spigelman Richter / / Source: TODAY

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It's officially fall and now that the kids are already back-to-school, you can find some great late-in-the-season deals on lunch boxes.

Sure, you or your kid could pack up the same type of container every day but let's face it, different foods have different needs. When it comes to portable meals, one size does not fit all!

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite lunch box containers so you'll never have to brown bag it again. These boxes are stylish and functional and they'll make any mid-day meal just a little more fun.

Food stylist and recipe developer Lauren Bloomberg is here to give us her tips on how to find the best lunch box for your specific needs.

1. Waterproof

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Mikey Store Portable Waterproof Oxford Lunch Bags Carry Tote Storage Bag, $4, Amazon

Amazon

Bloomberg says waterproof lunch containers are a must for both kids and adults. And it makes sense because there's nothing worse than a backpack or tote bag dripping food-flavored water. This Mikey Store Portable Waterproof Oxford Lunch Bags Carry Tote Storage Bag is chic enough to make even a high schooler feel elegant.

2. Appropriately sized compartments

Bentgo Kids, $28, Amazon

Amazon

Does your kid only eat mini croissants and halved grapes? Do the foods have to remain un-touching at all time? These Bentgo bento-style boxes are great because kids can’t lose them since it's one whole unit. And the Fitbo is not only beautiful but ideally engineered to help include the right amounts of nutrients in your lunch.

3. Good deal

ReaLegend Lunch Bag Cooler Insulated Tote, $14, Amazon

Amazon

Sometimes even the cutest lunchbox is just too much money to spend for something that might get lost in the school yard or office refrigerator. For $15 or less, you can get a cute, functional lunchbox that really works. Try this insulated ReaLegend lunch bag with tons of pockets and compartments. It’s understated enough to stay in style for years.

4. Lightweight

Nordic by Nature Insulated Neoprene Lunchbox Tote, $20, Amazon

amazon

As Bloomberg points out, the last thing anyone wants to lug around more heavy stuff — even if it does contain food. For the most lightweight options, you might want to look at neoprene styles, which are also often waterproof and insulated. This Nordic by Nature option works equally well for the first day of first grade or the first day of a real office job.

5. A 2: 1ratio

Yumbox, $30, Amazon

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Bloomberg recommends making your kids’ lunch with,”two things they definitely like and one surprise.” She suggests anything from fresh veggies to foreign fruit gummies for the surprise. Indulge in a cute Yumbox lunch box and accoutrements from Minilujia to prompt your budding foodie to think outside the (lunch) box.

6. Mix and match

Rubbermaid Lunch Blox Sandwich Kit, $6, Amazon

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Bloomberg advises that sticking to a routine is the best way to deliver delicious, nutritious lunches without stressing out or forgetting to include a spoon for the applesauce. This Rubbermaid Lunch Blox unit is an entire modular system where you can switch around containers and even an ice pack. If you’re running late, you’ll be able to notice there’s a gaping hole where that container of cherry tomatoes should live.

7. Keep it fun

Thermos Novelty Lunch Kit, Star Wars R2D2 with Lights and Sound, $19, Amazon

amazon

Food should nourish, but whenever possible, it should also delight ... and that goes for the lunchbox too. Use fun cookie cutters to make sandwiches into cool shapes and pack them into Thermos’ insulated R2D2 lunchbox, complete with lights and sound.

Looking for more great lunch boxes? Check out some our favorite cute finds for kids!

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