Last Updated on September 2, 2022 by Dawn Head
Stainless Steel Lunch Containers – Do you dread packing school lunches? I used to. I felt so wasteful using those plastic zip-locking bags, especially when I used up to five per lunch, per day.
I’ve also used many different brands and sizes of plastic containers. These were okay sometimes but didn’t work all the time. I really wanted to remove all plastics from the lunch-making process. I resolved to do things differently and better, and I bought LunchBots stainless steel lunch containers. This was in 2015, and here in 2022, we are still using them.
LunchBots products I bought:
- Medium Quad All Stainless: Lid isn’t locking but stays in place. Bento box with four compartments; ideal for kids who are grazers.
- Medium Trio All Stainless: This lid doesn’t lock. Bento box with three containers separated by the stainless steel.
- Set of Two Clicks: These have secure lids. They are ideal for runny foods, such as strawberries or for packing leftovers such as pasta, meatloaf, etc.
- Set of Three 1.5 oz Small Dips: LunchBots Dips containers seal by twisting the cap on and off. Ideal for packing blueberries, condiments, such as ranch or ketchup, or small cookies.
What I love about all of these is that they are dishwasher safe. The Dips caps have silicone inside the lid so you should wash them in the top rack.
If your kids bring sandwiches for lunch, you’ll want the LunchBots Uno or Duo which will fit sandwiches better than the Quad and Trio.
Read on to learn about the benefits of using stainless steel food containers, and how they can make your mornings so much easier and make packing lunches less wasteful. In addition to reviewing the LunchBots containers, I review a few other brands that I’ve tried.
No plastic bags in lunches with stainless steel lunch containers
I’m not into making cute lunches. I’m not really that “into” food or recipes to begin with. But I do encourage my kids to choose healthy foods for lunch as often as possible. I have tried all types of containers for packing my kids’ lunches. The best I have found and use exclusively now is LunchBots.
Both of my kids are picky eaters. One of my sons has dairy and egg allergies and won’t eat bread. It used to be a challenge to pack healthy lunches that would nourish and sustain them through the school day.
The stainless steel lunch containers I bought from LunchBots have helped immensely. I now have a way to package and transport leftovers and other foods they like and actually eat.
Why stainless steel lunch containers?
There are many benefits to using the LunchBots stainless steel lunch containers. For my two children, I bought one Quad All Stainless, one Trio All Stainless, a set of three Dips Condiment Containers, and the Clicks Small Leak Proof Set which comes in a set of two. These are the only containers I now use to pack lunches.
Here’s what I like best about these stainless steel lunch containers and some things I don’t like.
Pros to using LunchBot stainless steel containers
- Food-grade stainless steel safer than plastic
- Easy to clean in dishwasher
- Eliminated need for other containers
- They fit in the lunch boxes my kids use
- Lids are easy to open and close
- Easy to pack various foods, including leftovers
- Fits the foods my kids eat
- Eco-friendly and reusable
- Toxin & BPA-free
- I’m not buying so many plastic bags
- Durable and will last a long time
Pros to using these LunchBot stainless steel containers
- Expensive initially
- For dry foods mostly (as stated on their website; this was not a surprise)
- Have to cut a sandwich smaller to fit (fits in Uno and Duo sizes) which I knew before buying the Quad and Trio
Quad All Stainless and Trio All Stainless
Stainless Steel Lunch Containers Pros
Dips Condiment Containers
Dips Condiment Containers Pros
- fits small amounts of anything
- stainless steel
- safe & easy to clean in dishwasher
- kids can open/close easily
- great for dips, ketchup, etc.
- will save money over time
Dips Condiment Containers Cons
- silicone seal inside lid (food-safe)
These Dips Bot containers are perfect for sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, raisins, cookies, dried fruit, nuts, blueberries, etc.
Toward the end of the school year, my kids’ lunch snack was one Oreo.
I put it in one of the circular containers, and it fit perfectly.
The container fits two Oreos stacked on top of each other perfectly.
Clicks Small Leak Proof Set
- stainless steel base
- seals completely
- put anything inside
- nice for larger portion of main course; also used for chips
- easy for kids to open/close
- lasts for many years
- stacks easily
- saves money over time
Clicks Small Leak Proof Set Cons
- plastic lid (BPA-free)
- I wash the lids by hand though they are dishwasher-safe
All of the items are made from high quality 18/8 stainless steel safe for foods.
Quad All Stainless: 6″ x 5″ x 1.75″
Trio All Stainless: 6″ x 5″ x 1.75″
Dips Condiment Bots: 2” x 1.5” each
Clicks Leak Proof Set: 5” x 4” x 1.5” and 5” x 4” x 2” (1.25 and 2 cups)
Other stainless steel lunch containers available
There are many other items in various practical sizes.
I bought what worked for what my kids would actually eat at lunch.
My friend purchased the [easyazon_link identifier=”B00II5B0B2″ locale=”US” tag=”gogreentravel-20″]Bento Cinco All Stainless[/easyazon_link].
This is 60% larger than the other containers and wouldn’t fit in my kids’ lunch bags which have the insulated section on the bottom.
It does fit in her kids’ rectangular lunch bag (the one without a separate zippered section).
It measures 8″ x 6″ x 1.75″.
Because of the cost, she just bought one to start to see how her kids would like it.
They both love it and want to use it so they take turns until she purchases a second.
The only downside is it is not leakproof (as she knew) and once their blueberries smashed and ran into the other foods.
If my kids would eat yogurt, soups, chili, or stews, I would definitely purchase the 8 oz. Rounds containers as well.
Less clutter in kitchen
Because these containers are expensive, I only have used them for my kids’ lunches at school.
We don’t take them anywhere else.
They won’t get lost or misplaced this way so I was able to justify the investment in these safe, durable, and convenient containers.
They have saved me the hassle of looking for the perfect sized container.
Because we only use these containers, I recycled and donated all of our other plastic containers.
Also, because we use them every day, we pretty much pack them, wash and dry them, and refill them.
Great stainless steel lunch containers
I procrastinated and then panicked as I realized lunch making season was upon me in two days: school was starting.
My grammar-school-aged kids had never once, ever, bought a school lunch (or even a milk).
This is a first world “problem” for sure, but I really despised making their lunches every day.
This was mostly because I didn’t have a system that worked, until now.
I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to find these products.
After buying and using LunchBots, it has been so much easier for me to make lunches.
I no longer worry about plastic touching my kids’ food.
I’m no longer feeling guilty using and wasting all of those plastic bags on a daily basis.
Why I didn’t want plastic containers
I already had lots of plastic containers.
They worked for some things, especially when I wanted to pack one thing, like pretzels for a car ride.
But there were too many impractical sizes for the foods my kids took for lunch.
And somehow, we were always misplacing the lids.
It was hard to clean them well.
I didn’t want to put them in the dishwasher because the heat could break down the plastic which could release harmful chemicals into the food.
Best stainless steel lunch containers are eco-friendly
The benefits of these stainless steel containers is that I could put them in the dishwasher to sanitize them after every use.
I took them out and refilled them the next morning and repeated the process each day.
I only needed one day-to-day container and lid per child which eliminated all of the different-sized containers I was always searching for before.
And think of all of those plastic bags I was saving from the landfills.
After a (school) year of using the LunchBots, I don’t think I used a little plastic bag more than one or two days, and that was because my kids needed to pack a disposable lunch for their field trips.
The LunchBots I purchased were the ones with stainless steel lids.
They sell the Quad, Trio, Duo, and Uno with plastic lids also but I highly recommend the “All Stainless” series, which includes the stainless steel lids as well.
I wanted to be 100% stainless steel and be able to safely put everything in the dishwasher without worrying about the plastic breaking down over time.
The items I purchased with plastic lids were the leak proof ones. It is the only way to ensure there won’t be leaks.
Now it’s easy to pack lunches
All of this was easy when my kids were in preschool, and I sent them with a plastic bag full of Goldfish and another one with grapes or apple slices.
I was just packing snack time fare for them to reinforce table manners, to sit still, and to learn how to socialize with their peers.
Now that they are in elementary school, I need to provide them with actual sustenance.
Best stainless steel lunch containers for kids!
As a recap, we own five different sized containers.
I wanted to buy what I considered to be universally useful for the types of foods I usually pack for my kids so I bought the Quad All Stainless and the Trio All Stainless.
I also wanted a small container for ketchup and salsa.
They offered a three-pack of 1.5 ounce circle containers (Bots) which I bought.
The last two items (Clicks) came in a two pack and are the leak proof containers.
They were the ones I was debating on.
I’m glad I bought them because we use them a lot.
I wanted them because I liked the sizes.
I thought they would still easily fit in my kids’ lunch boxes and be useful for the types of foods my kids eat.
And unique to these containers is that they have leak-proof lids that snap shut.
The downside is the lids are made from plastic.
All of these containers have been user-friendly for my kids.
Goodbye plastic containers
Something to note: I don’t use any of my other plastic containers any more.
I donated them if they were decent and recycled the rest.
This act alone reduced the amount of clutter in my kitchen from having over 20 plastic containers and lids to now owning a nice stackable set of four rectangular containers and three small circular ones.
I keep them in their own section on a shelf and for most of the year, they are in the dishwasher or in my kids’ lunch bags.
We only use these for school lunches.
I don’t take them for snacks in the car or on outings because I do not want to lose them.
If I use an occasional plastic bag or paper cup for them to eat Goldfish from sometime in the car, so be it.
I am trying to simplify and be healthier for the 180 days my kids bring lunch to school.
I really am happy to have lessened the clutter in my kitchen cabinets.
And remember, you need to have food options.
This should go without saying but it is so true that after almost every trip to the grocery store I think to myself, “It is so much easier to feed my kids when I actually have food in the house!”
Yes, this should be obvious. But we have all been in this situation: trying to scrounge up healthy choices for a meal when you don’t have a “main food” and some produce.
I find if I have a meat or some type of protein to work around — even a jar of peanut or sun butter — then I can populate the rest of the meal with handfuls of this and that: some carrots and ranch dressing; some apple slices and raisins; some spinach and blueberries.
Something filling and healthy.
My point is that it really helps to have something around, even a box of pasta and a jar of sauce.
Learn more about stainless steel lunch containers at LunchBots Quad Stainless Steel Bento Box and Best Bento Box Lunch Boxes and eliminating 9 Hidden Toxins in Homes.
Make mornings easier with the right stainless steel lunch container
Most of us have seen the cute lunches on Pinterest.
It is hard enough for me to wake up in the mornings and pack my kids’ lunches much less create art out of them.
And I always knew I could make them healthier.
When I first saw those cute bento lunch kits and lunch boxes I thought it was for the trendy and or the people who buy whatever is new.
It didn’t occur to me how eco-friendly they were.
I have used plastic bags and even those snack size plastic bags to try to save on plastic.
I felt wasteful using the zip-lock plastic bags, especially because I was learning more and more about how toxins in plastics can leach into our food.
But mostly I just felt bad every time I used a bag to pack their lunch items; I didn’t want to contribute to the landfills.
I have used many different brands and sizes of plastic containers.
Learn about the Yeti Rambler vs Ozark Trail tumbler and eliminate the need for disposable cups.
Eliminate plastic bags in lunches
These LunchBots stainless steel lunch containers are convenient, are safe for food, and they get the job done keeping each food separate and also allowing the foods to be portable, just like the plastic bags.
I plan on my kids using these every school day for years.
Best Lunch Containers Review: Here’s What to Get and Why
Those of us who pack our kids’ lunches know it’s a pain.
Yes, yes, we know: We should have our kids pack them.
Well, in our house, I’m still packing them and plan to for some time.
I just don’t need another battle right now.
Packing school lunches
My kids are very picky eaters.
One also has several allergies, which is an additional challenge.
For lunch, they eat practically the same foods every single day, so packing their lunches shouldn’t be a pain. But it still is.
This school year, I thought if I had better reusable lunch containers, maybe I could get my kids to eat better at school.
I didn’t want more plastic containers.
One of the ways we try to live green at home is to not use wasteful plastic bags.
I try to use reusable lunch containers whenever possible.
We’ve tried so many, some with more success than others.
What makes for the best lunch containers?
There are always considerations:
- What materials is the container made from and are they safe?
- Does it seal completely?
- Does it fit in the lunch bag?
- Will it hold the foods my kids will eat?
- Can my kids open it?
- How easy is it to clean?
- Will my kids want to use it?
- Will it keep foods hot or cold?
This year, instead of giving my kids the same foods every day, I wanted more variety and more protein.
My older son brings a slice of pizza every day (always a pain to be sure to have it ready and not the healthiest food) and my younger son brings four slices of regular bacon or turkey bacon (also a hassle to make every day and also not healthy).
I also wanted to be able to pack different types of foods for them, including leftovers.
After researching online, I ordered two stainless steel Thinksport insulated food containers.
We use their water bottles and like that they’ve lasted a long time.
GO4TH insulated container review
We ordered the 12 ounce and 17 ounce [easyazon_link keywords=”GO4TH container” locale=”US” tag=”gogreentravel-20″]GO4TH containers[/easyazon_link].
They are made from 18/8 medical grade (304 grade) stainless steel.
Thinksport GO4TH 17 oz and 12 oz
Safe lunch containers
Thinksport products are safer than a lot of reusable food containers.
Each product’s label lists exactly what isn’t in their products.
These are materials to avoid at all costs.
These Thinksport containers are:
- Free of BPA and BPS
- No PET, phthalates, or PVC
- No other biological chemicals that are harmful
In addition to the safe materials, there are great things about the GO4TH containers:
- Plastic doesn’t touch the food
- These containers hold a lot of food
- They are 100% leak proof
- They are vacuum-insulated and keep food hot
- Built-in spork (my sons love it)
- They can be used for foods or drinks
Thinksport GO4TH 17 ounce review
My older son uses the 17 oz container to bring spaghetti with meat sauce to school.
It’s been great to introduce a new hot food.
It would work well for stews and soups as well.
We’ve also packed strawberries and watermelon (without the rind).
These fruits are usually hard to pack for a school lunch because they take up so much room.
It’s also been good for salads and fruit salad.
Pros of GO4TH 17 oz container:
- The spork is great and allows them to eat foods without using their fingers
- Holds a lot of food
- You can put liquids in it without fear of leaking
- Compact container for all it holds
Cons of the GO4TH 17 oz:
Like that the vessel is narrow but it’s hard to reach the food at the bottom without tipping it.
The spork doesn’t reach to the bottom.
There’s an extra plastic piece in the center of the interior lid.
If you remove it, there’s a hole.
When you wash the lid, water can get in it — and into the cap — so you have to be careful to shake out excess water and to let it completely air dry to avoid mold growth.
I’m not sure why this plastic piece is there as it doesn’t seem to serve a purpose to the user.
There are two lids.
You have to use the one that holds the spork for it to be leak proof.
The other one serves to cover the spork but isn’t otherwise necessary except maybe to help insulate it more.
This second lid does stay clean as it doesn’t come in contact with food but it’s still another piece for the kids to deal with at lunch.
They haven’t complained.
Thinksport GO4TH 12 ounce review
My younger son loves meat, and this container has been a great way for him to take it for lunch.
[easyazon_link keywords=”The 12 oz GO4TH” locale=”US” tag=”gogreentravel-20″]The 12 oz GO4TH[/easyazon_link] is a good size for leftovers.
I’ve packed orange chicken, cut up hamburger, and cut up sausage.
He’s eaten them all and has said it stays hot.
On days he still wants bacon, I’ve put chunks of frozen berries in the container.
He said they’re not completely frozen but likes they are still cold and easier to eat than if they were entirely frozen.
So far this container has been exactly what I’ve been looking for.
Pros of GO4th 12 oz:
- Spork is handy and easy to use
- Holds enough food
- Accommodates leftovers
- Keeps food hot
- It hasn’t leaked
- The spork reaches the food at the bottom
Cons of the GO4TH 12 oz:
- This one also has a removable plastic piece in the interior lid (see above)
- There are two lids; wish there was just one
Both sizes come with a spork
My kids love using the spork and like that it snaps right into the lid.
It’s easy to remove and to store the spork after you close the lid which means the spork won’t get lost.
What’s also nice is if you don’t use the interior lid (which makes it leak proof) you can fit more food.
Note: If you don’t use this interior lid, you have to keep it upright if something can leak but it’s a non-issue if it’s meat, pasta, etc.
It wouldn’t work for soups, juicy fruits, etc.
The 17 oz size would be great for adults to use for lunch at work and on the go.
Thinksport gives back to nonprofits as well.
Check out how they are making a difference.
We’ve found these to be the best lunch containers for kids.
They’re made from stainless steel and fit in my kids’ lunch bags well.
They aren’t bulky.
My kids have enjoyed using them at school each day.
I’ve been feeling better about giving them some different foods and being able to pack protein-rich foods they will actually eat.
Best Bento Box Lunch Boxes for School and Work
If you pack a lunch every day for work or your kids’ school lunches, you know how much waste can be involved when using harmful plastic baggies and pre-packaged foods.
Make the change this year to a bento box lunch system and eliminate the need for packaging.
You will feel better about packing food; it will be healthier; and you will be helping the earth when you use one of these best bento box lunch boxes.
What is a bento box lunch system?
Inspired by Japanese bento boxes, America bento box systems make it easy to pack non-packaged foods such as salads, left-overs, fruits, sandwiches, and snacks.
And depending on the container, there are those that can handle liquids such as yogurts and soups as well.
Eco-friendly bento lunches can be easily made with products ranging from simple BPA-free plastic containers paired with your own lunch box or tote Tupperware Bento Box to more durable, less porous stainless steel bento containers with multiple compartments and levels.
To help you find the right one for you and for your family, we’ve rounded up our favorite bento box lunch brands and listed their pros and cons.
Remember it is okay to mix and match to suit your family’s needs!
Click the following to learn about stainless steel lunch containers, LunchBots Quad Stainless Steel Bento Box and eliminating 9 Hidden Toxins in Homes.
Best Bento Box Lunch Boxes
Laptop Lunches are kid- and budget-friendly.
You can buy the BPA-free plastic ‘Bento Buddies’ containers separately in sets of four.
We found that the Bento Buddies boxes fit perfectly in the lunch boxes my kids already owned, saving us money (and allowing us to buy an extra few sets of Bento Buddies as back ups).
Plus they’re cheap enough that you won’t panic if you child loses one or two, and they come in plenty of fun colors to keep kids happy.
Another company also offers a full system which allows the containers to fit perfectly inside its own Laptop Lunches Bento-Ware.
EasyLunchBoxes are very popular as well.
What makes them special?
First, they’re affordable at only $13.95 for a set of four.
Second, they are all one piece, making it easy for small kids to manage on their own.
They even have easy-to-open lids for small hands.
EasyLunchboxes 3-Compartment Bento Lunch Box Containers, Set of 4, Classic are available in just the bento containers or in an entire system with lunch tote.
Since they’re self-contained, it’s easy to store EasyLunchBoxes, too.
Basically, they’re just… easy!
And like all the other bento systems listed here, they’re BPA-free.
Light My Fire Outdoor Meal Kit
The Light My Fire Outdoor Meal Kit is designed for outdoor meals, but works well at home, too.
We took ours on our backpacking adventures during the summer.
Each child had his own and was responsible for cleaning his own.
What is great is that they are available in different colors, so everyone knows which kit belongs to him or her.
Now that we’re home for school, our oldest likes to use his for school snacks.
The kit includes a triangular main compartment with an extra covered bowl and cup, and includes utensils.
The pieces all fit together for storage.
It’s is a little small for complete lunches, but does close securely to be loaded up and placed in a backpack without a tote.
Goodbyn Bynto System
Perfect for young kids, the Goodbyn system is another all-in-one unit of BPA-free plastic with molded sections.
This one is shaped like a monster or fantastical animal, and comes with fun stickers for kids to personalize.
The Goodbyn doesn’t come with a tote, but rather is self-contained with a handle and lid.
It may be too childish for older kids, but preschoolers and kindergartners will love it.
It has three large sections, and can be picked up for under $16.00.
I really love the LunchBots brand, and in my opinion these are the Best Bento Box Lunch Boxes.
Right before school started, I bought some of their stainless steel bento boxes for my elementary-school aged kids.
I ordered directly from Amazon and enjoyed free shipping.
The items arrived in just two days!
I bought the Quad and the Trio and put them in my sons’ lunch boxes every day.
I also purchased the Small Leak Proof set which came in a package of two.
Last, I bought the set of three Condiment Containers.
My kids are not dressing-eaters but I have used it for ketchup.
Mostly, I use it for small treats, including dried coconut, a few pieces of candy corn around Halloween, or a few M&M’s or other candies.
Lastly, the grown-up Mr. Bento, perfect for adults and older kids.
Mr. Bento is more expensive than the other options in our round-up at $40.00, but is made of stainless steel that won’t leech any chemicals or flavors into your food, and has a sophisticated look of stacked containers.
You won’t want to send small kids to school with this one — just too easy to lose — but your co-workers will probably notice and ask you where you got it.
Mr. Bento comes in a more feminine version as well, though I think the classic stainless steel works for everyone.
Do you have a favorite bento box system?
What works for you?
What do you think are the Best Bento Box Lunch Boxes?
LunchBots Quad Stainless Steel Bento Box Review
Until my son started going to daycare, I didn’t realize how incredibly time-consuming making kids’ lunches can be.
Especially if you’re focusing on healthy, whole foods.
It’s a four-step process: take out the food, find containers for each of the foods, prepare the food and put it in containers, put all containers in a lunchbox.
A week after daycare started, my search for a safe, stainless steel bento box began.
I quickly found the perfect product: the Quad LunchBots stainless steel bento box.
I figured being able to put all of my son’s lunch in one container would really cut down on lunch prep time.
Instead of spending 5 minutes digging out containers, then another 2 minutes searching for their lids.
Why are there always more containers than lids?!
I would simply need to find one container — the bento box — and its lid.
I was right and I love the LunchBots Quad.
It’s safe, easy to clean, and holds an impressive amount of food.
The LunchBots Quad bento box holds lots of healthy food like pear, blueberries, cucumber, and hummus.
Safe and Stainless Steel
The Quad bento box is made from 18/8 stainless steel.
If you’re a frequent reader, you know that we always choose stainless steel over plastic because it’s naturally BPA-free and doesn’t pose a health threat.
I love that I don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals leaching into my son’s food when I use the bento box.
Cuts Down on Prep Time
As I mentioned above, you will no longer have to dig through your tupperware drawer for matching containers and lids.
Simply pull out your Quad and its lid (easy to find among glass or plastic containers) and you’re ready to go.
It may not sound like it will save that much time, but if you’re a parent, you know how precious those minutes can be.
Spending 5 more minutes packing a lunch in the evening means you’ll have 5 fewer minutes of “me” time.
LunchBots Quad Stainless Steel Bento Box Easy to Clean
If you get a Quad with a colored lid, the lid has to be hand washed, but the base can go in the dishwasher.
If you have the version with the plain (uncolored) stainless lid, both the lid and base can go in the dishwasher.
Holds an Impressive Amount of Food
Measuring in at 6″ x 5″ x 1.75″, the Quad bento box is neither too small nor too large.
It holds a surprising amount of food in each of its four compartments.
I usually pair the bento box with a Wrap-N-Mat, which holds a sandwich, and am good to go.
Although the LunchBots Quad isn’t completely leak-proof between the compartments (don’t put liquid in one compartment and expect it to stay there), it is spill-proof and the lid stays on surprisingly well.
If I’m sending something liquid or runny — like yogurt, cottage cheese, or applesauce — I’ll put it in a small Mason jar.
Click the following to learn about stainless steel lunch containers, Best Bento Box Lunch Boxes and eliminating 9 Hidden Toxins in Homes.
Bonus: LunchBots Quad Stainless Steel Bento Box Food Ideas
You can put just about anything non-liquid in your Quad bento box.
Here are some ideas to get you started (and be sure to read our Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids Using Whole Foods for more great ideas):
- cucumber slices
- last night’s leftovers
- carrot slices
- sliced fruit (apples, nectarines, pears, plums)
I’m a big fan of the [easyazon_link identifier=”B006T5BLQM” locale=”US” tag=”gogreentravel-20″]LunchBots Quad bento box[/easyazon_link].
It’s exactly what I was looking for, it’s safe, and it makes my life easier.
And isn’t that what every parent really wants?