Back to School Lunch Essentials for 2022

Back to School Lunch Essentials for 2022

When parents are shopping for back to school items, they are looking for functionality, durability and of course, things that are easy to clean. 

As a nutritionist and mom of two boys, ages 11 and 13, I've personally packed thousands of lunches. Each year, I share some of my favourite things, from lunch and snack containers to school-safe snacks, to help you make the best choices for you and your kids as they start school this fall. 

Here are my top picks for this year:

Planetbox's popular stainless steel bento boxes have been around for years. In fact, I ordered my first one about 10 years ago when my oldest was starting daycare. It is by far the only one of our many containers that has lasted this long! In my experience, anything with plastic tends to either break or get stained or mouldy. 
The Planetbox LAUNCH is their largest size, and while the Rover is definitely the most popular of their 3 sizes, the Launch has been increasingly popular at our Healthy Moms Market, and not just for older kids with larger appetites. Parents like the three larger sections because it's simpler to pack and takes less time to prepare lunches. It is also deeper than the Rover so it also allows you to pack larger items like bagels or wraps. You can also divide it into smaller sections using their new silicone pod duos or puzzle pods

Planetbox Magnet
Planetbox is one of my favourites for little ones to open and its seamless design means food doesn't get trapped in any crevices. Plus, it's dishwasher friendly - just be sure to remove your magnets first!
Planetbox is more expensive than the plastic bento box alternatives, but keep in mind the longevity of stainless steel and that each one of their bento boxes includes leak-proof containers with silicone lids. 

Planetbox Carry Bag
*Note that Planetbox has discontinued all of their old carry bag styles, although we still have a limited selection in stock, along with a few of their new styles.

The Good Kiind Explorer
This NEW eco-friendly lunch box is built to withstand rough rides inside a backpack – while keeping your precious midday meal fresh and fully intact. Thanks to handy separate compartments and a full coverage silicone seal, you don't need to worry about liquidy food travelling into other sections. 
The Good Kiind's 5-compartment, leakproof lunch box is ideal for kids who like to graze or prefer their food to be presented in an organized manner and don't like it when different foods touch. It's also for parents who want to simplify lunch prep, avoid plastic, and enjoy opening an empty container at the end of the day.
This stainless steel bento box is dishwasher safe and the removable, silicone seal ensures that salads remain crisp, fruit ripe, and sandwiches dry. Your days of books covered in yogurt and strawberries coated in hummus are gone.
Bonus - The Good Kiind is a Canadian, mom-owned brand!

Fluf Organic Cotton Lunchbag

These big, roomy lunch bags from Fluf are fully machine washable. Their rinseable, food-safe lining contains light spills, while its interior pocket is perfect for holding a water bottle or ice pack. Sustainably and ethically made with a certified organic cotton exterior + recycled materials on the inside with a 100% Post-consumer RPET lining. 

Fluf Cotton lunch bags come in a variety of cute patterns and attractive colours for all ages. 

While these lunch bags are not insulated, if you zip it shut with an ice pack inside, it will keep your child's food cool until lunch. 

Fluf is a Canadian company based in Toronto. All Fluf bags are ethically handmade in a small, family-run facility in India, where they share a commitment to paying living wages, and ensuring fair working hours and safe working conditions for all factory employees.

*Note that Planetbox Rover, Launch and Shuttle and The Good Kiind Explorer bento boxes can fit inside this lunch bag. The Fluf lunch bag can easily fit a bento box, a water bottle, an insulated food jar and several snack containers with room to spare. 

4. Lunchbots Insulated Food Jars:  

Lunchbots Insulated Food Jar
Triple insulated, this 8 oz. food jar from Lunchbots keeps 1 cup of your child's favourite soup or pasta hot until lunchtime. A bright silicone sleeve adds a splash of colour and its all-stainless interior means no plastic touches the food. These food jars can even be washed in the dishwasher.

Along with the added grip of the silicone sleeve, the 3.5" lid diameter is ideal for children's hands making it easy for them to open on their own. 
U-Konserve Stainless Steel Snack Container Trio with Clear Silicone Lids
I love these new stainless steel nesting containers with clear silicone lids from U-Konserve! Perfect for school snacks and a great plastic-free option that still allows you and your child to see what's inside their containers. The stainless steel nesting set of 3 (16oz, 9oz and 5oz) gives you a variety of container options for both large and small snacks. 

The flexible silicone lids are easy for little hands to open and make these containers leakproof. Dishwasher safe.

Fluf Organic Cotton Canvas Backpacks

These stylish, mid-sized backpacks are made of durable and sturdy 100% certified organic cotton canvas. They are machine washable and sustainably and ethically made with organic + recycled materials. Just like their lunch bags, all Fluf backpacks are ethically handmade in a small, family-run, GOTS-certified facility in India.

Fluf backpacks are lightweight and work just as well for a 6 year old as they do for a teenager. They even have a large pocket inside that can fit a laptop computer! Kids entering Kindergarten can use them too, but if your child is on the small side, you may want to come by our store to have them try it on first. 

These everyday, seasonless bags are practical and useful, easy to keep clean, and made to stand the test of time.
Rawcology Probiotic Oat Clusters
Packed with raw cacao and chocolate chips, these Chocolate  Oat Clusters taste like the most decadent double chocolate chip cookie.

Made with feel good ingredients to love, including Canadian Purity Protocol gluten free rolled oats, protein-rich sunflower and pumpkin seeds, virgin coconut oil, naturally sweetened with coconut sugar (5g of sugar per serving), and taken up a notch with added probiotics that contributes to healthy gut flora with 1 billion live cultures per serving. 

One of my kids is a chocolate lover, but the other, not so much. Thankfully, these also come in other flavours, including Apple Cinnamon and Berry Burst.

Rawcology is a Toronto based, mom-owned company that produces a variety of organic, school-safe snacks.

Rawcology’s allergen free guarantee: All products are manufactured in their dedicated facility free from the top eleven allergens, including peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, milk, eggs, gluten, mustard, crustaceans, fish, soy, and sulphites.

8. Lunchbox - The Cookbook:

Lunchbox Cookbook

Say goodbye to the same boring, limited lunch rotation, and hello to everyone’s new favorite meal of the day! Lunchbox has months’ worth of recipes for flavorful, filling, nutritious, and delicious meals—guaranteed to stay fresh until lunch.

Every recipe has a “Get Ahead” tip, calling out exactly what can be made ahead of time, as well as a “Packing Tip” on how to pack a balanced and beautiful lunchbox; the steps are fuss-free, and all ingredients can be found in your local grocery store.

In addition to the recipes are lunch packing strategies and multi-week meal plans to help you efficiently plan your menu and your time, streamlining meal prep to avoid that stressful morning crunch. Special callouts are included—such as “Great for Kids”—and all recipes are completely nut-free. With plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, hot and cold weather seasonal suggestions, and freezer-friendly choices, too.

While this book is not exclusively focused on packing lunches for your kids, Lunchbox has something for everyone. Whether it’s back to the office or back to school, Lunchbox is packed with satisfying recipes and ideas to start your day off right.

Aviva Allen is a Toronto-based kids' nutritionist, mom of two and founder of Healthy Moms. 

All products mentioned above can be purchased online or in-store at the Healthy Moms Market using your Healthy Moms Discount Card to save 15% off.