Best reusable lunch bags and boxes

Simpsons lunch box and Skip Hop Zoo Lunchie Bee
  • Simpsons lunch box and Skip Hop Zoo Lunchie Bee

"Help, Evy,” pleaded the other moms at our weekly summer beach gathering at La Jolla Shores. “School is nearly upon us, and we don’t want to think about it. Find us some reusable lunch bags for our kids.”

“I am your woman,” I said. “Always ready for a mission.”

The following beach day, I reported my finds to the ladies.

“Do you want to go old-school, with a metal lunch box?”

“Oh, please no,” Kylie scrunched up her nose. “I can still smell that moldy bread crumb odor from inside of my Hello Kitty lunch box. And the sound of the metal lid grating against the base to close...not fond memories.”

“I know my Gus would like an old-school metal box,” answered Sarah.  

“I found an Empire Strikes Back box,” I offered ($13.61 on Amazon), “and a Simpsons box with Homer dreaming of a donut saying ‘Sacrilicious!’ [$13.49 on Amazon]. Or, how about Peanuts, Snoopy and the Gang? [$21.45 on Amazon].”  

“I can’t see my daughter carrying a metal lunch box,” said Cathy. “Even with My Little Pony on them, they seem sort of masculine.”

“Justice is selling a pink, black, and white zebra tote that Taylor is sure to love,” I replied. “A silver glitter ‘LOVE’ written on the front, surrounded by stars and mottled pink and black, with a little zebra edging [Dye Effect Zebra Lunch Tote, $19.90 at shopjustice.com].”

“For your teen boy,” I continued, nodding at Samantha, “Tilly’s has a Quiksilver Hot Mess Lunch Sak [$14.99, tillys.com]. It’s the brown-paper-bag shape, fold-over top with a velcro closure, gray-and-white-checkered pattern with some yellow, green, and red blocks scattered throughout.”

“For the younger boys, there’s a retro comic-book collage of superheroes on the Old Navy Marvel Super-Hero Lunch Kit [$9.94, oldnavy.com]. “Or, if your young men are zombie lovers, there’s the Plants vs. Zombies lunch kits [$9.94].” 

“I’m not sure I could stare at those frightening zombie eyes all year long while I made Justin’s lunch,” admitted Jen.

“Hanna Andersson offers the Deluxe Lunch Bag in a bunch of different designs,” I replied. “My favorites were the blue heart bag and the dinosaur. It has a top handle and a shoulder strap, which might be helpful for the kiddos who are juggling school items [$26, hannandersson.com].

“And for older girls, I found a navy-blue-and-white polka-dotted bag with neon-green trim. It has a fold-over top with hook-and-loop closure [Senior Dot Lunch Bag, $12.95 at Gap].”

“If you want to go floral,” I continued, “Cost Plus World Market is selling the Coral Lotus Print Jane Lunch Bag, which looks like a purse, in pink and brown, your favorite color combo, and it has a drawstring closure and side pockets [$12.99].”

“Or a freezable option, a red with blue and pink Owls Packit Freezable Lunch Bag that you can stick in your freezer overnight and it will stay cold the next day up to ten hours. No fussing with ice packs [$19.99, worldmarket.com].”

“The last option for you ladies is the Wildkin Majestic Double Decker Lunch Bag. Pink with green medallion print, two food compartments, and the bottom one has a microwavable container [$32.99 at Kohls].”

“What about our little ones?” asked Sue. 

“For your tiniest of tots, Kohls has a primary colors bag with the Very Hungry Caterpillar on it.” ($18, kohls.com).

“I also found a yellow-and-black bumblebee lunch bag by Skip Hop Zoo [$13.99 at target.com]. For young basketball stars, a gray-and-black Nike Kids 365 Deuce Lunch Tote, with a silhouette of a basketball player slam-dunking [$24, macys.com]. And last, if you want to go green, JCPenney is carrying a lunch tote made of 40 percent recycled bottles — the Zak Designs Mickey Mouse Lunch Tote [$13, jcpenney.com].”

“Wow, Eve,” Samantha said. “That was very thorough. I’m impressed.”

“I told you, I’m always ready for a shopping mission.”

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