The fall season means it’s back to school (or your desk). While that usually involves shopping for new supplies, it can also include a slew of healthy resolutions to get you on track after a summer’s worth of treats (post-grads, we’re looking at you, too!). And while you may already be kicking off your day with guilt-free breakfast, it’s lunch that seems to fall to the wayside. With endless delivery options and limited time to prep and pack (not to mention actually wolf it down at your desk), it’s easy to find yourself with a lunch that’s pretty lackluster.
But the consequences of ignoring lunch — aside from the hanger that’ll belabor you — are no joke: Purchasing a midday meal at work or school can be expensive, and unhealthy. A 2013 study from Visa found that buying lunch twice a week adds up to roughly $936 a year. Holy food bills, right? (P.S. Here’s an easy way to save $43 a month.)
Just a little foresight can help you save money and calories. And now that you’ll have the extra cash you won’t be spending on takeout, treat yourself to a brand-new lunch box. With a thermos perfect for soup, a takeout box that’s ideal for pad thai and more, here are eight new, convenient ways to carry your midday meal to the office in style.
9 New Lunch Boxes to Inspire Healthy Eating
1. Divide and Conquer
Thanks to the individual leak-proof containers, you can tote all of your favorite salad ingredients to work without worry in this Prepd Pack Set. Also freezer– and microwave-friendly, this lunch box makes storing and reheating leftovers a cinch. Better yet, it comes with an app that provides meal plans and recipes, and even counts the calories and nutrients in foods for you. Clean eating just got way easier. ($60; getprepd.com)
2. Bento or Bust
Feel like nibbling on a few small meals throughout the day instead of having one big lunch? Skip the excess containers (but pack all the goodies) and go for the Lunchbots Bento Box. The sleek, metal design has three separate sections to keep your 3 p.m. strawberries from getting too cozy with your chicken stir-fry. ($35; lunchbots.com)
3. Seal the Deal
Layering salad or yogurt parfaits in a mason jar seems like a great idea before work, except for when you break it out of the fridge — and everything’s super soggy. Enter the BNTO by cuppow, a jar adaptor that will keep your granola (dressing, or whatever) separate from your yogurt ‘till you’re ready to chow down. ($10; cuppow.com)
4. Takeout Fake-Out
Is it just us, or does food taste better when it comes straight from a takeout box? Transport your homemade Asian-style zoodles to work with this nifty tote from DCI, which is made from food-grade silicone. It’s microwave- and dishwasher-safe, so no need to stress about reheating or cleaning. ($19; dcigift.com)
5. Souped Up
Winter is coming, but this steel Thermos Pot will keep a cozy soup, like our butternut squash recipe, hot for up to six hours. Best of all, you’ll never be without a spoon (or forget where you put that spoon) since the stainless steel utensil magnetizes to the side of the thermos. ($42; food52.com)
6. Zip to It
If you’re worried about the cleanliness of your eating space (#nojudgment), the Safe & Happy Family Lunch Box is actually a sack that unzips to become a placement, making outdoor picnics a breeze. Stash some snacks, like protein rice krispies, homemade Larabars or chocolate chip protein bars and enjoy without worrying about making a mess. ($25; safehappyfamily.com)
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7. All in the Layers
It’s business on the bottom, party on the top with this two-level, leak-proof container from OXO. Ideal for packing all your sandwich components separately, you’ll never deal with soggy bread again. Four locking tabs create an airtight seal. ($15; oxo.com)
8. Sweet Charity
Purchase this fair trade Tiffin (a tin commonly used to carry food in India) and you’ll have a chic, conscious way to BYO spicy shrimp wraps for lunch. It’s crafted by Noah’s Ark International Exports, an organization in Moradebad, India that works to promote independent artisans. ($24; tenthousandvillages.com)
9. Top It Off
Dressed salads are difficult to bring to the office — and even more difficult to enjoy after soaking in homemade vinaigrette all morning. Avoid the problem altogether with the Pret a Paquet Salad Pack, which has a dressing cup that snaps into the lid for spill-proof storage. An insulated sleeve will keep your kale salad fresh if you can’t slip your lunch into a fridge immediately. ($25; pretapaquet.com)
Originally published August 2015. Updated September 2016.