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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Best Food Containers for Lunches



best containers for lunches
The best lunchboxes are the perfect balance of functionality and aesthetics.

Although breakfast and dinner share many of the romantic and poetic connotations of what a meal should be.

Breakfast in bed, a candlelit dinner for two – you get my drift?

But lunch is the most treasured and significant meal of the day for many.

You can see my favorite lunchbox at Amazon.

I recall working as a bicycle messenger in Philadelphia and talking over the radio with the team about what their lunch plans were for the day—shortly after checking in at 9:00 AM.

Although breakfast and dinner often get the most lip service, lunch could well be the most anticipated meal of the day.

When we were bike messengers, the trouble was often that we could sometimes hardly afford to fill our stomachs with rising costs of a nice lunch in urban America.

Many times, the answer to that timeless question—what’s for lunch? —was often followed up by something along the lines of “same as I had yesterday—the rice and beans that I made on Sunday night to last all week.”

While I’m not writing to bemoan the diminishing paychecks of bicycle messengers in Philadelphia, the point here is that for many, packing a lunch is the most financially viable option for a wholesome, filling lunch.

From bicycle messengers to kindergartners to construction workers, packed lunches are the symbol of a treasured respite midway though the day for many.

Thinking Outside the Box

old kids lunchbox
When I was growing up the outside mattered more than the inside!

The original lunchboxes were actually not designed for the storage and transportation of food.

Rather, they were old tobacco tins re-purposed for working men to bring lunches to work.

Since industrialization in the early 20th century made returning home for lunch less feasible.

In 1935, the first lithographed children’s lunchbox appeared on the market— with the indelible image of a grinning Mickey Mouse.

Thus, the era of animated children’s lunchboxes had begun. Lunchboxes became something of a status symbol.

Often, that which the lunchbox contained was less important—socially speaking—than what was displayed on the exterior of the lunchbox.

Although your mom may have made the most scrumptious peanut butter and jelly sandwich, that fact would be overlooked if your box didn’t boast an equally impressive graphic.

Packed lunches have come a long way since the plastic, cartoon-emblazoned snapping cartons of your childhood.

In place of a messy, mayo-greased superhero lunch pail, the modern market offers a wide variety of stylish, efficient containers to accommodate all sorts of tastes, budgets, and appetites.

From the simple to the splendid, upgrade your packed lunch game with one of these snazzy lunch-on-the-go designs.

More Than Just Boxes

While the market has certainly shifted since those early Mickey Mouse lunchboxes, the demand for stylish containers has maintained its importance alongside the sufficient functionality of the containers.

Designers have not lost sight of this, as we shall see in examining some of the best lunch containers available on today’s market.

ProAid Leakproof Lunch Bento Box

See the ProAid Leakproof Lunch Bento Box at Amazon.

For an irresistibly adorable design, look no further than the ProAid Leakproof Lunch Bento Box.

Aesthetically, this may get a few laughs from the workers at the hardhat construction site, but it will fit in perfectly at the local boutique.

Two food trays, constructed from durable BPA-free silicone, allow for a varied lunch on the go. The included stainless steel cutlery set assures its user that they will always have a perfectly fitting knife and fork included with their lunchbox.

The leak-proof design prevents unsavory seepage from the box. The pastel robin’s-egg blue and pink colors are perfect for the mellow taste in color.

Brandenburg Classic Stainless Steel Bento Box

See the Brandenburg Classic Stainless Steel Bento Box at Amazon.

For a less chic design, we introduce the Brandenburg Classic Stainless Steel Bento Box. This unadorned stainless steel lunch box will fit in just fine at the messiest work zones, resembling a piece of hardware itself.

The three-in-one design of the compartments eliminates the need for confusing, time-consuming Tupperware, allowing the easy organization and sizing of various portions.

Its generous size guarantees space sufficient for even the largest appetites. Two adjustable clips can facilitate any users—from the huskiest of construction workers to the nimblest child’s fingers.

Vaya Tyffyn 1000 ml Insulated Lunch Box

See the Vaya Tyffyn 1000 ml Insulated Lunch Box at Amazon.

Gadget technology lovers will rejoice in the advent of the Vaya Tyffyn 1000 ml Insulated Lunch Box.

Featuring engineering innovation from around the world, this cutting-edge lunchbox features three tiers of vacuum insulated containers, to easily separate the dishes of your meal.

State-of-the-art insulation and sealing technology keeps your food warm—or cold—for up to five hours, and guarantees spill-proof transportation.

Three containers stack on top of each other, sealed in a well-insulated stainless steel shell. The whole kit and caboodle fits in a fashionable, easy to carry sleeve, featuring a handy carrying strap.

Better yet, this carrying case unzips and unfolds to form a convenient place mat!

What about some coffee on the go with your lunch? Here are my recommendations for the best thermos to keep your java hot, hot, hot!

Looking for a Bento Box for your busy toddler? Check out my top picks for Bento Boxes for toddlers.

If you’re planning a picnic, here are my suggestions for the best food to wow your date! And if you’re looking for storage ideas for your cereal – check out this post to keep crunching.

Make it, Pack it, Bring it

With such clever and functional innovation in the world of transportable lunch technology, you can begin to save money and enjoy home-cooked meals everywhere you go.

Stop spending small fortunes on mediocre lunches and bring your own cuisine with you to work or school.

Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons License Robert Judge

Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons License Melissa

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Rose Reinhard

Rose Reinhard is a Thai-American foodie from Chiang Mai, Thailand. She's been a creative writer since she could speak and enjoys making vegetarian/vegan dishes and reading about food science. She claims her air-fryer is the best purchase she’s ever made to date.

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