How to Pack Hot Lunch for School

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you purchase something I recommend- at no additional cost to you! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for supporting this blog! Full disclosure here.

Sharing is caring!

If you’re looking for tips on how to pack hot lunch for school, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve got the inside scoop on how to pack hot food, the most creative hot lunch ideas, and the best insulated food containers to keep your child’s lunch warm all day!

This image shows a lunch box, an apple, and a thermos container on a Pinterest image for How to pack hot lunch for school.
  • Save

I know what it’s like to have picky eaters! The foods that they will eat for lunch at school are few and far between, and there’s just so many days I can get away with packing peanut butter sandwiches. 

If this is a struggle in your home too, hot lunches might just be the solution you need! Once you figure out how to pack your child’s favorites like chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and pizza rolls in an insulated lunch box, a whole new world of lunch packing begins!

Today we are going to talk about the best lunch boxes and food containers to keep your child’s food warm until lunch time, and how to prep the lunch container before adding food to make sure hot items stay that way!

Best Kid’s Lunch Box to Pack Warm Lunches

The best way to pack hot foods into your child’s lunch box is to use an insulated food container like the Thermos Funtainer (our favorite) a lunch box with an insulated container like these OmieBox lunch containers. 

This image shows a blue and pink Thermos funtainer insulated food containers on a kitchen counter next to a bowl of premade pasta.
  • Save

Any insulated bottle or stainless steel container inside a lunch bag is a great way to keep soup or hearty pasta nice and warm until lunch time!

These are a few of our favorite food containers to pack warm food for a child’s school lunch:

  1. Thermos Funtainer 
  2. Hydroflask Food Jar
  3. Bentgo Stainless Insulated Food Container
  4. Thermos Foogo food jars
  5. Stanley Insulated food jar
  6. OmieBox Bento Box

How to Pack Hot Lunch for School

In order to pack the perfect hot lunch for school and keep it warm all day, opt for a stainless steel insulated container instead of a standard plastic lunch box. You can keep foods fairly warm in one of these toddler Bentgo boxes, but it won’t stay as warm as if you use an insulated thermos or something similar. 

This image shows boiling water being poured from a tea kettle into a thermos funtainer food container.
  • Save
  1. Boil water in a tea kettle, pot, or microwave safe container.
  2. Fill thermos container about 3/4 of the way full and replace the lid.
  3. Allow boiling water to sit inside the container for about 5 minutes. The warm water will preheat the container so whatever food you add will stay warm for much longer than if you simply place the food without this step. 
  4. Empty the water from the container. Be careful, it will be hot!
  5. Add your warm food to the container and replace the lid. 
  6. Enjoy your hot school lunch at meal time!

Make sure to head here for 41+ hot lunch ideas for your Thermos container or hot lunch box!

Hot School Lunch Ideas

Now that you have your lunch containers, you need some ideas for hot school lunches that all the kids will love! No more cold sandwiches around here with these easy hot lunch ideas.  

  • Chicken nuggets
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Pizza muffins
  • Ramen noodles
  • Taco meat with mini cups of cheese and tortilla chips
  • Brown rice / white rice / fried rice and beans
  • Dinner leftovers (make a big batch of your child’s favorite home-cooked meal for dinner and save the rest for school time the next day)

For a full list of 41+ hot school lunch ideas make sure you click here.

This image shows a blue and pink Thermos funtainer insulated food containers on a kitchen counter next to a bowl of premade pasta. The pasta is being spooned into the blue container.
  • Save


It’s difficult to come up with a lot of different school lunch ideas each week for your kids! This is especially true if your kids are picky eaters or get tired of the same old cold foods that we all know and love (sandwiches, salads, etc). 

Now that you know how to pack hot lunches for school and keep them warm all day, your kids will look forward to what’s inside their lunch box!

I hope this tutorial for how to pack hot lunch for school is super helpful for you as the back to school season is quickly approaching. Make sure you check out all of our other super helpful lunch box ideas so you’ll be extra ready for all the new school year brings. 

Did you try this hot lunch packing tip? Let me know how it went!

Leave a Reply


hi! I'm shannon

I’m a wife, mom of three, doctor, and blogger! In 2018, I decided to turn my mom blog, into a personal finance blog so others could follow along on our journey to pay off over HALF a MILLION dollars in student loan and practice start up debt. I hope you enjoy following along, and maybe even find some inspiration along the way.