Having the option to pack warm lunches for your child when they’re at daycare, preschool, school or out on the town can go a long way towards making the whole process a little easier. Here are the best kids thermos—chosen for durability, affordability, and ease of use.
I love having the option to use a thermos to send packed lunches to school and daycare because it gives so many more options. And it makes it easy to pack leftovers too! I’m sharing the best thermos options for kids based on my real-life testing and market research. I’ve used these through three kids at varying ages and hope that it helps you choose one that will work for family for years to come.
Best Kids Lunch Thermos
Here are our top 4 thermos options for kids. Each is easy to clean, durable, and does the job of keeping food warm and cold. They’re each also easy to clean and are super durable.
This stainless steel thermos keeps cold food cold for up to 12 hours and hot food hot for 6. We have the 8- and 12-ounce and use both regularly for the toddler and elementary-aged kiddo. (Little kids may need help to open the lid.)
The 8-ounce size is good for toddlers, though you may want to size up to the 12 if your elementary age child will be using it.
BUY IT: Lunchbot Thermos, starting at $24.99
We adore this lunchbox for the ability to pack warm foods in the round insulated compartments and cold or room temperature foods in the others. It makes it so much easier to pack kids lunches since it gives you so many options. It’s also easy to clean since and is durable.
(Little kids may need help opening the insulated compartment.)
The insulated compartment is removable so you can pack a sandwich or other cold food in there when you’d like to.
BUY IT: Omiebox, $39.50
This stainless steel, BPA- and phlatate-free 7.8-ounce container keeps food warm for 7 hours and cold for 5. It comes with a spork (and a place to hold it) and the lid may be easier for little kids to open.
This comes in all of the classic Skip Hop designs, so you can pick a favorite animal! It’s also priced affordably.
BUY IT: Skip Hop Food Jar (with spork), starting at $14.87
Which is the best container to keep foods hot?
I’ve included my favorite containers for keeping food hot to send packed lunches to school and daycare. You’ll need to decide if you’ll get more use out of a stand alone thermos or the Omiebox style with just one insulated compartment.
We have both for maximum versatility—and because my husband or I sometimes uses the Lunchbot thermos too.
How long will a thermos keep food hot?
On average, an insulated kids thermos will keep cold foods cold for at least 5 hours and warm food warm for at least 7. You may get a little longer depending on the product. I recommend warming the food until hot, add it to the thermos, and seal tightly.
If your thermos will be in a fridge, which I know happens at some daycares, you may want to test it out at home to see what the temperature of the food is after it’s been stored for a few hours that way so you know what to expect.
Which thermos brands are BPA-free?
All of the ones here are BPA-free.
25 Lunch Ideas to Pack in a Kids Thermos
Here are some of our hot lunch (and cold lunch!) ideas to send in a thermos.
- Pasta with marinara sauce
- Pasta with Broccoli Pesto
- Rice and beans
- Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- BBQ chicken
- Chicken nuggets
- Leftover pizza
- Pizza Rolls
- Cheesy Meat Buns
- Pizza Pockets with Broccoli
- Spinach Quesadillas
- Refried beans and tortillas
- Cheesy Rice
- Egg Muffins
- Scrambled eggs
- Oatmeal Muffins
- Pancakes with nut or seed butter
- Waffles with nut or seed butter
- Yogurt with granola
- Overnight Oats
- Yogurt with Sauteed Apples
- French Toast Sticks
TIP: You can find my top 50 recipes for kids lunches here.
Thermos Bottle for Packed Lunches
If you’re looking for an insulated water bottle to send with a packed lunch, I like this one from Kleen Kanteen. It’s 12 ounces, about $25, and super durable. It has a sport top or a screw top. We also love the Hydroflask straw bottle, which is easy for even a one year old to drink from.
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Please comment below if you have a favorite thermos that didn’t make my list—I’d love to know!
This post was first posted July 2020.