The Best Non-Toxic and Eco-Friendly Snack Containers, Lunch Boxes and Bags for Kids

Packing lunches can be a daily struggle, but with the right gear, you can turn lunchtime into a win for your child's health and the planet! Here at Nature Kids Co., we're all about empowering families to make sustainable and safe choices, and that includes what goes into your packed lunches. Whether you are looking for safe, practical and minimalist choices for your baby or toddler daycare lunch, or best options for kids' school lunches; or maybe you are an adventurous family  that's on-the-go a lot for outdoor activities and exploration, we hope you find the below non-plastic recommendations relevant and helpful for your family needs. 

Steering Clear of Toxins:

Many traditional lunch boxes, lunch bags and other lunch packing essentials contain harmful chemicals like BPA, phthalates, and lead. These chemicals can leach into food, potentially affecting your child's health. Opting for non-toxic, eco-friendly options ensures a safe lunch for your child and a healthy planet.

Stainless Steel: The Top Choice for Eco-Conscious Non-toxic Lunch Containers

When it comes to lunch boxes or containers that have contact with food, stainless steel stands out as the superhero of options. Here's why it's our top recommendation:

  • Non-Toxic and Leach-Free: Stainless steel is naturally non-toxic and doesn't leach chemicals into food, keeping your child safe.
  • Eco-Friendly: Stainless steel is a highly durable and recyclable material, reducing waste and minimizing your environmental footprint. 
  • Durable and Long-Lasting: Stainless steel is built to last! Unlike plastic options that can crack or break, a stainless steel lunchbox can endure bumps, drops, and frequent use. This saves you money in the long run and keeps unnecessary waste out of landfills. Stainless steel lunch containers hold up so well and can even be used with multiple children and passed down to other family members - truly a lifelong investment. 
  • Versatile: Stainless steel containers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, perfect for packing anything from sandwiches and cut veggies to yogurt and pasta. Many even come with compartments to keep lunches organized and prevent mixing (a big "no-no" for many kiddos). You can find suitable options for either wet or dry lunches, as there are plenty of leak-proof alternatives out there. 
  • Recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for safe food storage: Stainless steel is a highly recommended choice for food serving and storage for kids due to its non-toxic nature. 

Bonus Benefits:

  • Easy Cleaning: Stainless steel is dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze!
  • Temperature Control: Some stainless steel containers can even be paired with insulated lunch bags to keep food hot or cold for longer periods.

Stainless steel isn't just a superhero for lunches! It's a fantastic option for kids' dinnerware as well. Head over to our blog post on non-toxic and eco-friendly dinnerware to learn more about the many benefits of using stainless steel at mealtimes.

Recommendations: 

ECOlunchbox stainless steel three piece bento lunch box - a fantastic versatile option for your family meals and snacking needs on the go. Other ECOlunchbox options are available as well, like this leak-proof stainless steel container

Lunchbots is another great brand offering stainless steel bento lunch and snack boxes of various sizes, like this perfect little snack container. They even have insulated thermos containers that keep food hot for 6 hrs or cold for 12. This stainless steel insulated container was personally tested in our family for hot school and summer camp lunches. It really does work! 

We couldn't conclude our recommendations without including PlanetBox stainless steel bento lunch boxes. With a variety of sizes and options, you'll definitely find the perfect box for your family. Start your search with this classic Rover stainless steel 5 compartment bento box

Packing Kids' Lunch Sustainably -  Beyond a Lunch Box

A great stainless steel non-toxic lunch container is a great start. But you likely will need other lunch or snack packing essentials. Here are some additional tips and recommendations for packing an eco-friendly lunch:

  • Non-toxic and eco-friendly lunch bags: If a stainless steel lunch box isn't sufficient for all lunch items, lunch bags can be a convenient way to pack everything you or your child may need throughout the day. While they typically have no contact with food, you are likely still shopping for an eco-friendly alternative to avoid all those nasty chemicals around your family and environment. 

Recommendations

Looking for a simple low-cost bag to put lunches or snacks in? Take a look at this Eco Bags Organic Cotton Bag. Simple and minimalistic, this bag is like a great reusable and washable alternative to your good old brown paper bag.

Perhaps, you need an insulated lunch bag for your kiddo's school lunches? Check out Fluf - made from certified organic cotton and tested food safe water resistant lining without BPA, phthalates, lead and other dangerous chemicals. 

  • Reusable Food Wraps: Skip plastic wrap and baggies! Opt for reusable beeswax wraps or silicone pouches to keep food fresh. 

Recommendations

Bee's Wrap reusable beeswax food wrap roll - cute nature-inspired design, made in the USA from organic cotton with plant-based wax, organic plant oil and tree resin. This is a highly versatile choice for any of your household food storage and wrapping needs. These are washable, reusable, and you can cut them to any size you need. 

Stasher Platinum food grade silicone reusable storage bags - excellent versatile option for home as well as on the go storage needs. 

  • Opt for non-plastic bento box essentials: like packing pinterest or Instagram worthy bento boxes? Food that looks nice and appealing is likelier to be eaten by kids, that's for sure, especially the pickier little ones. We are all for making cutouts from veggies, fruits, bread, and including those little cute food picks! Just make sure you opt for non-toxic alternatives. Below are some examples to consider. 

Recommendations: 

6 Pack Cartoon Animal Food Forks made from stainless steel and food grade silicone, even come with a nice ceramic holder for storage. Our kiddo has been enjoying eating his food (at school and at home) for a few years now.

Bento lunch box dividers and cupcake liners to use as food separators made from food grade silicone. We've been using these regularly - great to create more compartments in a stainless steel bento box or turn a one compartment container into a bento box. 

Food cutters for sandwiches, vegetables, fruit in various shapes and sizes, made from stainless steel. 

Bottom line, by packing your family's on-the-go meals and snacks in a non-toxic and eco-friendly way, you're making a positive impact on your child's health and the planet. So ditch the disposables and embrace the power of durable and reusable alternatives, like stainless steel. 

We hope this guide empowers you to pack lunches that are good for your child and good for the Earth!

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