It doesn't matter that technically you're not going "back to" anything (you've been at the office all summer) — you're still entitled to a little seasonal reinvention. And this year you're going to do lunch right: no more squashed sandwiches and $12 takeout salads (+$1 for avocado).
This year, you're going to pack actual meals and you will not feel deprived by your thrift, because your lunch will be virtuous and delicious and exceedingly well-packaged.
It is a noble goal. I support you. And while it's true that even the most beautiful lunch box cannot single-handedly manifest your lunch ambitions, a good container can go a long way in helping you achieve your lunchtime dreams.
9 Lunch Boxes that Will Motivate You to Pack
Whether you're packing last night's leftovers or you're more of the soup-and-sandwich type, these nine options are distinctly un-second grade.
- BNTO & Jar Combo, $20 at Cuppow: If your goal is to separate your sauce/dip/dressing from your main course in a hip yet understated fashion, this jar-and-cup combo is an ideal choice. If you, like me, already have an alarming collection of wide-mouth Mason jars, no problem: the six-ounce "lunch box adaptor" cup is also sold separately.
- Lunch Pot by Black+Blum, $24.95 at Target: This award-winning pair of minimalist stacking pots is perfect for the multi-course luncher. Keep your fruit separate from your quinoa, your spaghetti separate from your salad, your oatmeal separate from your mixed berry medley (etc, etc.). Plus, the pots are microwavable, dishwasher-safe, and they nest when they're empty.
- Tier Indian-Tiffin Belly Tiffin, $27.99 at Amazon: Imported from Mumbai, where tiffins have been used for ages, this (dishwasher-safe!) stainless steel tower of latching containers encourages a balanced meal, with three separate tins for three separate dishes.
- Bento Salad Bowl, $20 at BuiltNY: No more sad desk salads with this cheerfully portable bowl-and-sleeve combo designed specifically to keep greens crisp, cool, and un-soggy. Use it solo or with the coordinating lunch tote if you're feeling match-y and/or hungry.
- Waxed Canvas Lunch Bag, $24 at WAAM Industries: We've sung the praises of these playful lunch sacks before, and we'll do it again; they are an eco-friendly twist on the classic brown paper bag. They're durable, reusable, and American-made, and they come in a whole range of tempting colors, from bright to (yes) brown.
- Classic Lunch Doggy Bag, $21 at Fluf: This extremely charming organic cotton lunch tote is relatively no-frills, which is just part of its casually low-key appeal. (Another part of its appeal is that it is totally machine-washable.)
- Zojirushi Stainless Steel Lunch Jar, $43 at Amazon: No, it's not the most whimsical option (or the cheapest), but there's a reason for Zojirushi's stellar reputation. Leak-proof and easy to clean, this thermos will keep your lunch hot for hours and hours (and hours).
- Art of Lunch Neoprene Lunch Tote, $24 at Art of Liv'n: Bright without veering into preschool territory, these insulated neoprene bags are printed with work by artists from around the globe.
- Takenaka Double Bento Box, $36 at MoMA Design Store: This delightfully elegant two-tiered bento is simple and stylish and surprisingly practical, since it's microwavable and dishwasher-safe. Also, it will signal to your coworkers that you have excellent taste and therefore are a force to be reckoned with (maybe?).
Do you have a favorite lunch box combo? One that you look forward to packing every night?