Choosing The Best School Lunch Box, Drink Bottle & Accessories

With a new school year comes the chance to fill your child’s lunch box with some delicious and nutritious bites to see them through their busy day. When it comes to choosing a good lunch box and drink bottle, there are several things to consider.

Choosing a lunch box and a drink bottle that works for your child can be a bit of trial and error. So to avoid the hassle, here are our tried-and-tested helpful tips on what to look out for.

Choosing the right lunch box

Choosing a lunch box that works for your child’s particular tastes and preferences can begin to feel like a harder decision than choosing their name! Lunch boxes come in a huge variety of sizes and styles. Here are the most popular ways for kids to transport their lunch to school (and, let’s face it, sometimes home again too!).


Bento-style lunch boxes are great for kids who like a range of foods without the need for plastic wrap to keep things from getting jumbled up together. They’re a popular option for schools that promote a litterless lunch and are great for those looking to be more eco-friendly. There’s a huge variety of bento boxes to choose from so consider how big your child’s appetite is and the type of foods they like to find an option that suits them. For instance, leak-proof styles will enable you to include yoghurt. Adjustable compartments are great for fitting in different sized rolls or wraps.

Bento lunch boxes also enable you to buy in bulk, therefore saving money and packaging waste, and you can portion out snacks to suit your child’s appetite.

Lunch bag

If your child changes lunch preferences as often as they change their socks (is that often?), then a lunch bag is a great option. These zip-up lunch options can accommodate a range of small, reusable containers. A variety of tubs will give you plenty of options for different snacks and sandwiches. To clean the bag you can wipe out the inside and the tubs can be washed easily.

Standard lunch box with clip-shut lid

This standard lunch box is no fuss, big enough for plenty of yummy sandwiches and easily opened, closed, and washed ready for the next day. But the contents will need to be wrapped or put into smaller tubs to keep it from all mixing together in a big mess.

Keeping it cool

If your child’s lunch bag or box can accommodate their drink bottle then freeze that the night before to keep everything cool and fresh. If not, a small freezer block is simple to pop in with the lunch.

Picking a drink bottle

Drink bottles are one of those items that kids tend to use a lot during the school year, for the school day as well as sports, travel and on the go on the weekends.

When choosing a drink bottle for your child, consider how much water they tend to consume. Keeping hydrated is important but all kids are different and the amount of water they will drink varies. Choose the size of drink bottle that will provide enough hydration without the need to refill continuously but also isn’t so huge that it weighs their bag down! If you have a particularly thirsty child, check how easy it is to refill water bottles from the school’s drinking fountains.

Aluminium or stainless steel bottles are a durable option, while double-walled bottles will keep their drink cool for longer. Plastic bottles are lighter and tend to be less expensive. When choosing a plastic bottle, opt for ones made from recycled plastic that are phthalate and BPA Free to avoid any nasties. A freezer-safe bottle gives you the option to freeze a bottle of water the night before for cool refreshment the next day. Avoid glass bottles for school use.

It’s also important to choose a drink bottle that has a good seal to avoid a backpack of soaked books! Look at the way that the bottle opens and closes. Does it close with a waterproof seal? Could it be easily knocked open? For young kids, also consider whether it is easy for them to open and close the bottle without assistance.

What is your best lunch box tip for school lunches?

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her world julieWritten by Julie Scanlon

Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire. 

Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”


  1. SarahBlair 08/03/2020 at 4:17 pm

    Getting the right lunch box can be tricky, especially with schools being rubbish free now. Lots of different compartments are good but can be limiting as to what you can fit into the compartments. We have quite traditional style lunch boxes and we use reusable wraps, bags and containers to keep thing separate.

  2. Alezandra 06/03/2020 at 10:48 pm

    This article came on a good time as we ready for school for my soon to be 5 year old. I have the sistema bento box for when he goes to kindy and I’m hoping this is enough to keep wastage at bay. This gave me a good idea to try the aluminium drink bottle to keep the cold longer especially this summer. I might get that separately for those hot days.

  3. Mands1980 04/03/2020 at 8:33 pm

    In our house we have the sistema bento lunch box’s Which are great as they have 2 separate smaller areas to put things into. You can also put in the little container which comes with the lunch box food items. Plus you can wrap items to add to the lunch box. We have eco- tanker aluminium drink bottles for the kids too so they can put ice in them and have cover to keep them cool.

  4. Jen_Wiig 27/02/2020 at 1:46 pm

    I have a bento yumbox for Mr 5 so he has no litter to worry about and helps us with trying to be abit more waste free… I also like how it makes me thoughtful in what I’m feeding the boys as it has no plastic or paper.
    I went with aluminium drink bottles this year I got from warehouse Stationary and they have been a big hit… Keeping the water cold after being in freezer overnight and decent size without a sippy part thing more like a thermo so can pour into a cup if want to as well.
    My older 2 I just have the basic clear systema box and got them to decorate with stickers to indivualise. Easier for older 2 as they are all about convience so lots of snacks in wrappers they can carry around in pockets as if they take whole lunchbox out they’re stuck with it all lunch break due to classes being locked.

  5. MuddledUpMolly 26/02/2020 at 10:24 pm

    We made the mistake of sending our then five year old to school with a lunch bag and it was pretty gross after awhile and difficult to keep completely clean and hygienic! From then we have started and will continue to use Sistema bento style lunchboxes as they cut back/minimise waste and are easy to keep clean. They are also relatively robust which is a bonus!

  6. Micht 25/02/2020 at 9:46 pm

    Each year my daughters needs seem to change and so does the lunch carrying options… we went for the double decker but it is quite bulky for the backpack… it works though seperating morning tea and lunchbreak…but choosing the right options for packing is difficult at times..

  7. Shorrty4life1 25/02/2020 at 11:22 am

    Awesome different selections of lunch boxes and drink bottles and they are all really reasonable prices. My son loves yoghurts so I prefer to get him the cooler bag sort of thing as his lunch box and my daughter likes sectioned sort of lunch boxes so she can have fruit’s etc chopped up in different sections.

  8. Bevik1971 19/02/2020 at 10:25 am

    My 7 year old used to use a plastic lunchbox with the compartments, but she always seemed to have trouble with getting it opened and closed properly. We have purchased a zip up bag/lunchbox with 2 compartments which can also be used as a cooler bag so great for yoghurt pouches as I pop in a small slicker pad (haha showing my age) to keep cool

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