I get a lot of questions about the best lunch containers, how to clean lunch containers, and how to store lunch containers. There are so many options when it comes to lunch containers; it can be hard to choose the right one.
When I was a kid, I used to jam a bunch of bulky, ill-fitting plastic containers into my school bag. Now, there are so many cool all-in-one lunch storage solutions! We’ve got a bento box, we’ve got a salad container, we’ve got a collapsible double-decker container, and so much more. When I was shopping for these containers, it seriously made me wish I had these when I was growing up.
Keeping in mind portability and storage, I’ve parsed through everything and picked out the very best lunch solutions just for you! And of course, in keeping with the Clean My Space theme, I’ll also tell you how to clean them.
Bento Box Lunch Container
Sistema has a cool bento-style container. This container is great for food that comes with dips and dressing. It has movable dividers so that you can easily customize the box to fit whatever it is that you’re putting inside.
Salad Lunch Container
I don’t know about you, but when I bring a salad with me to work I usually dump everything into one container, and it ends up all soggy and gross. Or, I will use like a million different containers, each carrying a different ingredient, I don’t know about you, but when I used to bring a salad with me to work, I’d throw everything in the same container, and come lunchtime, it would always be soggy. The Sistema salad container is a real all-in-one solution for salad lovers. It has a separate compartment for dressing, and it fits right into the main box, so you don’t have to schlep around multiple boxes. And it even comes with a fork and a knife that fit into the main container as well.
Collapsible Lunch Container
The double-decker container by Smart Planet is made of silicone, so the bottom half is collapsible. This makes it so easy to store at home and collapse in your bag when you’re finished eating. Plus, silicone is great because it doesn’t hold onto flavors or odors. This one also comes with a little container for dip and a spork.
When I was a kid, I had this hideous red plastic lunchbox. Today, kids are so fortunate because the lunch bag options are endless, and they actually work with your lunch containers.
I love this Bentology lunch bag because it fits my bento-style container plus a thermos perfectly. It’s fully insulated and comes with a bottle holder, bento-box, five lunch containers, and an ice pack, and it can accommodate all of these at once! What more could you ask for?
There are many neat snack container options that will work for your kids’ many snack preferences or yours! The Sistema Klip It Collection Breakfast Bowl To Go is designed for breakfast. You can store yogurt and granola or scrambled eggs and tortillas separately with multiple compartments, so nothing gets soggy.
The Munchkin Snack Catcher is perfect for small hands looking for a tasty snack. Even if it’s tipped upside down, the snacks won’t fall out. Just imagine all of the goldfish and gummy bear lives you’ll be saving by using one of these!
I used to bring metal forks and knives to work to eat my lunch, but they were heavy, they would clink in my bag, and the knife would sometimes scratch my containers. It was all kinds of drama! So having a portable cutlery set is a game-changer. For kids and adults alike, this thing rocks. This set from Sistema is excellent because it comes with a fork, a knife, a spoon, and chopsticks.
With the advent of litter-less lunches, drinking containers have not been left in the dust. Drink in the Box is a portable, reusable juice box. Buying individual juice boxes is not only wasteful, but it’s expensive! With Drink in the Box, you can buy a jug or carton of juice and send the little ones off to school with their reusable, dishwasher-safe juice box. Kind of genius.
For keeping kids’ drinks cold all day long, the Thermos Funtainer is perfect. They come in a child-size 12-ounce stainless steel, vacuum-insulated container with a straw. These containers really work and will keep drinks cool for up to 12 hours. Plus, they come in a variety of colors and designs.
Storing Your Containers
When it comes to storing containers, there are a few different options. I like to store my containers with the base on the bottom and the lid sealed on top (making sure both are dry first), stacked on top of each other. Then, it’s easy for me to pull out containers as I need them without fishing around for all the components.
However, if you like keeping containers separate from the lids, an expandable food container lid organizer is a great option, which can also be used for dishes and pans. Store your lids from biggest to smallest, so they’re easy to find.
If you open your cupboard drawers and lunch containers spill out, you probably have too many. Ditch flimsy, lightweight containers, containers that are scratched, or those that are holding onto food smells and odors.
Cleaning Lunch Containers
Now it’s time to talk about everyone’s favorite thing, cleaning. I joke, but cleaning your lunch containers properly will help them live the longest life possible.
Luckily, good-quality lunch containers are actually quite easy to clean. Most good lunch containers are dishwasher safe. So, to clean them, just pop them in the top rack of the dishwasher. Avoid putting them in the bottom of the dishwasher. The bottom can get hotter, which risks your favorite lunch storage solutions getting a little melty.
If you’re handwashing, like with a thermos, simply use warm soapy water and a good sponge. If there’s anything hardened on, or a stain, add a little bit of baking soda to the mix and scrub with a cleaning toothbrush or bottle brush. A cleaning toothbrush is also great to get into hinges, rims, and corners.
Lunch bags definitely need proper cleaning, probably more frequently than you’d like. But they tend to get smelly and can even grow mold and mildew if not taken care of. Check out our video, How to Clean Lunch Bags. And remember to check the care label because not all lunch containers are machine washable.
Lunch Containers for the Win
I hope this article has helped you make excellent decisions about packing your kids’ lunches and how to up your own lunch game. Soon you’ll be the envy of the break room.
Drop a comment below and tell me your favorite lunch container and packed lunch!