When it comes to school lunches, it’s all about the bag.
While there are some pretty incredible options out there today (cough, cough), we are completely obsessed with the genius retro lunch boxes of our youth.
Take a trip down the most fun memory lane either as we rank the 101 most iconic lunch boxes from back in the days when blackboards were still a thing and cell phones were just a dream.
(Warning: Serious nostalgia may occur. 😎)
Kicking it off with some classics
101. Old school cereal, old school lunch box.
100. A terrifying wolf in your bed? 😱Sure it’s a kid’s story, but how would this ever be the lunchtime image a child wants to see??
99. What even is happening here?
98. Cute puppy, cute kitten, basic lunch box.
97. Have “a” orange crush? #Grammarfail. Your teacher probably hates this lunch box.
96. Did anyone really want a Bullwinkle lunch box? (Maybe you did… feel free to tell us!)
95. Was everyone bringing cereal for lunch back in the day? I guess if you were, having lunch with Tony the Tiger isn’t a bad way to go.
94. When you just want to swim with an adventure-seeking dolphin all day…
93. Before Ant-Man was cool…
92. Definitely more of a niche Disney pick, and really – telling kids that foxes and dogs are BFFs doesn’t seem like it would end well.
91. When you want that 19th century charm at lunch…
90. Debatable: Archie as a front man. Even in Riverdale it’s a bit much, don’t you think?
89. A spoonful of sugar helps lunch go down. 🎶(Fair warning: This won’t be the last time we “sing.” 😂)
88. Truly hope this came with a free faux-leather jacket for kids, too.
87. This would be best for picnic lunches, who are we kidding?
86. Guessing Dudley Do Right was kind of a rare pick for most kids?
85. An iconic poster as a lunch box to motivate you all through lunch.
84. That classic Lassie lunchbox. For when you want to feel wistful at lunch…?
83. Would every lunch be Munsters-themed as well? Because that could make it EVEN better.
82. Hopefully your lunch will make you strong enough to rip trees and crush bad guys.
81. For the chivalrous lunch-bringers out there…
You wouldn’t be embarrassed but you wouldn’t brag either
80. This doesn’t make school look like too much fun, tbh.
79. Even intergalactic battlers need to break for lunch.
78. Super retro Alvin lunch box is bringing the cheer.
77. At one point, this must have been the ultimate lunch box.
76. The force could be stronger with this one.
75. All aboard the bus, it’s time for lunch.
74. Did anyone else consistently feel bad for Tom?
73. This lunch box was EVERYWHERE.
72. A total throwback classic, before Jurassic Park made it all too real. (Spoiler alert, see below.)
Here’s where it gets… weird (but also strangely compelling)
71. If you brought David Bowie with you to your school lunch, can we please be friends? 🤘
70. Still do not understand how this movie was ever marketed to kids. I mean – TERRIFYING.
69. When you want to feel like the giant overlord of your lunch.
68. Mr. Owl is the clearly best. (Do you remember the answer?)
67. Twinkie the cowboy? 😐
66. This lunch set is way too groovy for my lunches.
65. Whose idea was this?????
64. Aren’t these guys supposed to be pals? How’d they choose this image?! This is like when your mom posts the worst possible picture of you on Facebook and tags everyone she knows.
63. Cannot. Does anyone know what’s happening here? Did you have this lunch box? Please tell us!
62. Did David Lynch design this one? Pretty intense for school lunches if you ask us.
Moving into more familiar territory…
61. Barbie goes full glam in this tropical set.
60. If you’re going with a Flintstones lunch box, the Dino-as-a-school bus is clearly the way to go.
59. This is a cute set but if any kid did the whole voice bit along with it, pray for those lunch room monitors.
58. Thundercats are on the loose at lunch, y’all.
57. Really hoping something fancy and at least half-robot helped open this lunch box.
56. Who could’ve predicted the popularity of a small girl that lives inside a shortcake, honestly. (BTW: The cat’s name is Custard. The more you know. 😸)
55. Remember that time The Chipmunks went rafting? Me neither, but gotta love the excitement it brings to lunchtime.
54. Why does Bert hate lunch so much? Sesame Street was really intense about character continuity, we guess. 😂
53. Basically, you’re Hulk ~before~ lunch and cool as a Bruce Banner cucumber after. ✨
52. This HAS to come with lunchtime Yosemite Sam quotes, right?? “When I say whoa! … I mean whoa!”
Getting cinematic with your lunch box
51. Imagine getting lunched beamed to you? #amazing
50. The appeal of ewoks is hard to describe and impossible to resist.
49. If you’re baller enough to bring this lunch box to school, #respect.
48. A touching moment for lunchtime.
47. Hopefully every lunch can be as exciting as Alice’s adventures. (Well… some of them, anyway.)
46. Click your heels three times to make this lunch box open.
45. Again, a #relatable image. Basically, Monstro = me pre-lunch.
44. When you want that sci-fi philosophic debate to go down at lunch.
43. Props for a shout-out to a movie classic – could’ve been a better moment though, right?
42. This is a special case where the thermos is actually outperforming the lunch box itself. 💯
Fighting crime at lunchtime
41. When you’re all about #teamMarvel
40. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s your lunch – oh yes.
39. For the DC comics supporters… let’s go water-skiing? 😂
38. The Mario craze made this lunch set a must-have.
37. Fantastic lunches, guaranteed.
36. How intense were lunch boxes back in the day, seeeriously!
35. Really wish the “POW!” was happening on this one, but hey.
34. Love how much fun the woman in the yellow pant suit is having while flipping the bad guy over.
33. Hey Chief, it’s time for lunch!
32. OF COURSE G.I. Joe is an expert scuba diver?
When randomness is your lunchtime friend
31. The fireworks just bring it all home.
30. My money would be on the lion, personally.
29. The coolest of the cool.
28. Alf will never not be confusing to me, so why not bring him along for lunch?
27. Another confusing mix of marketing to kids when the movie is preeetty random, but hey – the lunch set is cute!
26. This Globetrotters lunchbox is actually amazing. Would be practicing trick shots all day.
25. Can we just stop and think about the Cabbage Patch Kids for a second? Who even thought of this? How scary are those heads popping out of the earth? What is going on???
24. You can now not un-see Lurch water skiing on a gravestone.
23. These guys always looked like underwater onions… but somehow still cute. 🤷🏻♀️
22. In case you didn’t know: “Little Rose-Petal was created one day when her mistress, in a moment of distress, cried upon her garden and her tears crystallized, bringing her to life.”
Tears brought her to life? Okay!
The lunch boxes you would never “lose”
21. Beetlejuice the cartoon, although nothing like the movie, was amazing in its own right.
20. Garfield knows how to bring the best lunchtime inspo out there.
19. What’s better than an ewok? A FLYING ewok.
18. HAVE TO DO IT… 🎶Who you gonna call? 🎶
17. Nostalgia overload here – who remembers this show?
16. I pity the fool who didn’t have this lunch box.
15. A pretty standard edition, but you know the swoons over this NKOTB lunch box were real.
14. When Barbie finds her inner rock star (and huge hair.)
13. Obviously cannot compare to the talking Teddy Ruxpin of our childhood dreams, but a nice reminder nonetheless.
12. Look at this lunch box, isn’t it neat? Wouldn’t you think my lunch collection’s complete… 🎶☺️
11. More confusing hits from the 80s – why Popples? What are they? And why did we HAVE to have one?
All-stars of iconic lunchtime envy – you still want these today
10. They’re blue, they’re actually quite weird – but we all loved them and wanted to be part of the Smurf village.
9. Back to celebrating the odd joy of Cabbage Patch Kids: Here they are playing tug of war in… the sky? On a beach? Is this just a dream we’re having right now? 🙃
8. Another basic lunch box, but if you didn’t want a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lunch box, you definitely weren’t a child in the 80s.
7. Another phenomenon it’d be hard to predict. My Little Pony lunch boxes were everywhere in the 80s… and still crushing it today.
6. In a decade full of strangeness, the California Raisins are up there with the quirkiest fads of all time. There’s something so oddly charming about them!
5. Power up at lunchtime with the awesomeness of She-Ra.
(Side note: Swap dragons for the unicorn and are we looking at the original Daenerys Targaryen? 🤔)
4. Snoopy is an icon in his own right and this classic duo is a lunchtime kit for the ages.
3. Was there anyone cooler than Jem in the 80s? Works in an orphanage by day, fights crime as an international rock star by night? AND has pink hair??? You just had to have lunch with the most iconic of her time.
2. Innovating on the classic lunch bag, the Scooby Doo gang are ready to roll into lunchtime with you.
1 – You can’t go wrong with Dr. Seuss’ The Cat In The Hat. Mischievous, fun, and everything we love about being a kid.
You made it!
Did you love our ultimate list of retro lunch boxes? Did we miss your favourite lunch box?
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Get more lunch ideas for back to school (in this decade) by checking out our 5 hacks for better school lunches for kids and more healthy lunch ideas great for school or work.