Grown up lunch box gear

If you’re following a healthy lifestyle that involves you taking lunch to the office each day, first of all, know that I’m very proud of you! And second of all, do you have the right assortment of containers and gadgets to help you elevate that brown bag lunch?

Let’s take a look at what you’re going to need to allow you to pack up any assortment of leftovers, fresh produce, and protein in your lunch.

Vacuum flask soup or food jar. You are going to need a quality vacuum flask for packing those delicious leftover soups, stews, and other warm dishes from last night’s dinner. Yes, Thermos is a brand name for that familiar vacuum flask storage unit that’s been keeping lunch soups and beverages hot for decades, but there are other brands, too. If you fill the vacuum flask with boiling water and let it heat up with its lid on until the warm food is ready to go in, it will stay warmer longer.

Glass or steel water bottle. I hope you’re not using plastic water bottles anymore. Not only is this practice terrible for the environment, but the BPA in those plastic bottles is damaging to your health. Instead, use a reusable glass or stainless steel water bottle.

Bento boxes. Colorful bento box containers aren’t just for kids! The bento trend, new to North America, originated in Japan. Traditionally, a bento was a single-portion, home-packed or takeout meal of rice, meat, fish, and/or vegetables. You can find bento containers in many types of materials these days, but I like the stainless steel and colorful BPA-free plastic varieties. Bento boxes allow you to pack a variety of foods in one compartmentalized container with one tight-fitting lid that covers the entire thing. Look for bento that doesn’t leak and have fun playing with your food!

Insulated bag. Remember that you need to keep that lunch at a safe temperature. Put an ice pack in there with your lunch in an insulated bag, unless your bento box container has a space in it for a freezer pack.
Round out this collection of basics with some totable utensils—I like the fork and spoon sets that double as chopsticks—some cloth napkins and a great travel mug.

For delicious recipes whose leftovers make great lunches, subscribe to Dinner Answers today!

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