Send your little environmentalist-in-training back to school with a good conscience: Pack a healthy lunch in this machine-washable Eco-Bag Organic Cotton Lunch Tote ($7) from Reusable Bags. The bag is sturdy enough to stand up on its own, has a Velcro closure, and rolls right up at the end of the meal for easy storage. If it's more than just finger food, include Bambu's safe and sustainable kid's fork and knife ($6) made of organically grown bamboo.
PACKING SUGGESTIONS: Try a vegetarian main, like the Sweet Potato and Avocado Sandwich with Poppy Seed Spread or Southwestern Tofu Wraps.
The Santa Cruz Dumpling Lunch Cooler ($25) has long, comfortable shoulder straps that are perfect for kids on the go. Beautifully designed, the unusual yet functionally shaped tote is insulated with a watertight liner, making it easy to carry lunch and keep everything cool with style.
These Munchler lunch backpacks from Built NY, designed by award-winning children's book illustrator Stephen Savage, are colorful, insulated, and cute as can be. Lead- and food-safe, they also have small handles for small hands. At only $10 each, your child will want to collect the full menagerie: Benny the tiger, Meadow the bunny, Lefty the dog, and Boo the panda.
WILL OF STEEL
To-Go Ware Stainless-Steel Lunch Box ($16) is sleek, safe, and practical, with two roomy stainless steel bowls that stack neatly on top of each other inside a frame that doubles as a handle. Perfect for hot or cold food, To-Go Ware can be chilled in the refrigerator or reheated on a stovetop or hot plate.
BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS
This neat, insulated Milano tote ($19) is made from heavy-duty, stretchable neoprene and has separate compartments for food and drinks, a zippered closure to keep everything secure, and an outside pocket perfect for stashing napkins, condiments, or notes. Clear acrylic handles and vivid colors add a modern touch sure to appeal to kids of all ages.
Sigg's lightweight aluminum bottles are now available in a variety of kid sizes (from $18), perfect for keeping young ones hydrated with their preferred beverage over lunch and throughout the day. Ditch the disposable plastic and purchase one of these durable, leakproof vessels that are 100-percent non-toxic and non-leaching.
Send your child out to explore the wide world of food this fall with this marvelous Mini Bento Stainless Lunch Jar ($41) featuring durable construction and vacuum insulation for excellent heat retention. Inside the colorful bag you'll find a washable vacuum-insulated main bowl, two side bowls, and chopsticks in their own little case. All bowls are microwaveable, and, when empty, the carrying bag folds to half its size.
PACKING SUGGESTIONS: Expand your lunch repertoire and try Moroccan-Style Chicken and Root Vegetable Stew, brown rice, and cut fruit.
SO HOT! SO COOL!
Keep hot things hot and cold things cold for hours with this nifty insulated thermal snack jar ($10). A small folding spoon and fork fit right into the lid, so you will never find yourself without utensils.
Made of eco-friendly materials, these lightweight yet durable cloth bags ($20) come in a variety of patterns, all of which are 100-percent lead-free and a safe alternative to vinyl-lined bags. They are well insulated, will not leak, and are easy to clean with soap and water. Easy-to-grip handles, a large zippered closure, and bright prints that won't fade make them a favorite with parents and kids.
PACKING SUGGESTIONS: Many schools have peanut-free zones to cater to children with allergies. Check out our child-approved taste test of tasty alternatives for sandwiches.
Dinosaurs, ballet, astronauts, horses, soccer, cowboys, butterflies, tropical fish…It seems like every day your child's interests are growing and changing. Wildkin has created a collection of lunch totes ($14) that will help young enthusiasts of every kind to express themselves and their interests, at least in the lunchroom. Colorful soft-sided bags are made with durable polyester and have an interior mesh pocket for a cold pack as well as an exterior zipped compartment.
PACKING SUGGESTIONS: Make up a hearty batch of Mac and Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli to get your budding entrepreneurs, artists, and scientists through the day.
Delight your own aspiring artist with the Modern Kids Lunch Tote ($6). Soft textures, exuberant colors, mesh compartments, and kid-friendly zippers and fasteners will delight the senses. The display pocket in the front comes filled with a postcard of an artwork from MoMA's collection and will allow them to customize their lunch tote, either with an original work of their own or a postcard of their choosing.
Available with polka dots, stripes, or in versatile red or black, this bellowed Tortuga lunch tote ($20 to $22) has a semi-firm EVA exterior and a stretchy interior of neoprene-the same fabric used to make wet suits. The stylishly sleek pack will cushion and insulate lunch for up to four hours and fold flat when not in use.
Looking for a little more interaction with nature? Little ones will love getting in touch with their inner animal with these adorable petite lunch bags ($15) from Sassafras Enterprises. Full of color, there is a tote for every tot-from the playful pink pig and wide-eyed penguin to a cheery blue elephant and an elegant black and red ladybug.
MORE FROM EPICURIOUS.COM:
Recipes and tips for family meals and kids' lunches
Plus: cooking advice for college students, and healthy snacks
The Epicurious Editors' Blog
Food News and Views From All Over
Delicious menu guides for the busy work week
Epicurious Technique Videos
See better approaches to preparing your meals
Assorted galleries featuring pictures and recipes from Epicurious.com