Most lunch containers make me cringe. Even with the chic patterns and styles available these days, I can't help but picture the potential mess. This style is my favorite:
Oh, I know. OMG, it's huge. That's so not cool. Hmmmm, funny thing...when given a choice between smashed sandwiches in a cute bag or awesome lunches in this lunchbox, my kids have opted for the uncool box. And, their classmates are jealous. :)
I love this box because it accommodates a variety of plastic containers and -- best of all -- it has a removable hard plastic liner. This means that when gooey stuff spills, we can take the liner out and thoroughly wash and dry it. The soft insulation layer never gets smelly or has icky food residue stuck in the seams.
You may have to look for this type of lunch container in the sporting goods section, because it is often called a 6-pack cooler. I bought this one at Target, but I have not seen them there recently. Walmart currently has two similar options:
Coleman 9-Can Soft Cooler
Lastly, a little hand-sanitizer can be a good thing. While regular hand-washing is preferable, it's nice to have a quick alternative in a pinch.