Bring Your Lunch With These Environmentally Friendly and Stylish Office Lunch Containers

If you’re like us, you bring your lunch to work when you’re trying to save money, meal plan for healthier eating, or to be more eco-friendly and avoid all of those takeout containers. If you want to do those things, plus maintain a professional look — even if you’re just eating at your desk or on a park bench — we’ve rounded up a variety of stylish office lunch containers. We’re featuring adult lunch boxes, bento boxes, ice bags for keeping your lunch cool, insulated storage that will keep cold things cold and hot things hot, reusable storage bags and food wraps, and more, including the Mr. Bento Lunch Jar Set pictured here — along with a restaurant that serves takeout food in reusable bowls. Readers, how often do you bring lunch to work? What are your favorite environmentally-friendly and stylish office lunch containers? Compared to brown lunch bags, Ziplocs, and individually-packaged food, what swap do you think makes the biggest impact environmentally? What is the easiest swap to make?

Psst: You may want to see some of our older tips on saving money on lunch at work (even if you’re eating out all the time), what to eat when you have no time to eat lunch, and the best snack ideas for work

So start thinking about all of the meals you could take to work and how much waste you could save by making just a few changes to your routine with these items. Or, if you have your own lunch accessories that you swear by, feel free to share with us in the comments!

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Snack Ideas for Work: Great Snacks for the Shelf, Office Fridge & Freezer

snack ideas for work

It’s been ages since we talked about healthy snacks for the office — let’s hear about your favorite snack ideas for work, ladies! During my legal eagle days I spent so much time at the office that snacking was par for the course — I used to keep a banker’s box on my window filled with random snacks (mostly 100-calorie pouches and things like Fruit Gushers). I also splurged on a teeny fridge so I could keep cold water, a Diet Coke, a string cheese or two, and possibly sandwich fixings or yogurt nearby. I tried to avoid the office fridge where possible (things tended to… disappear in there…) but I kept a few things in the freezer on our floor, also. (My office weirdly kept the microwave on another floor entirely so I didn’t keep as much in there as I might have otherwise!) These are some of the best snacks I’d recommend you look into keeping at the office, both to keep your energy up for long-haul days, as well as to keep you from wandering to the local Starbucks (bad for your budget and your waistline)… I’ve never been much for packing a lunch daily, but I would bring several things in at the beginning of each week (yogurt, sliced cheese to add to bagels, etc). How about you, ladies — what are your favorite snacks to bring to work? What do you pack each day, each week — and what do you keep at the office? Do you pack a lunch regularly, or try to cut costs by bringing the “expensive” part of a lunch (e.g., meat, cheese, a more exotic ingredient like artichoke hearts, etc. to add to an affordable plain salad or bagel)? 

Shelf-Stable Snack Ideas for Work

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Coffee Break: Navy Blue with Pink Stripes Lunch Bag

cute-lunch-bag-cyntha-rowleyThis cute lunch bag is easy to clean and has adjustable shoulder straps and a small handle at the top. Of course, I love the colors, considering they’re the blog colors, but I also like how this bag is sort of feminine but also sort of masculine at the same time. If you’re looking for a new lunch bag for yourself or for someone in your life (holiday gift?), this one is $25 at Staples. Cynthia Rowley, Navy Blue with Pink Stripes Lunch Bag

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How to Avoid Getting Hangry at Work

hangry at work - the best foods to maintain your energy at the officeLet’s face it, ladies: No one wants to get hangry at work — and long workdays are only made worse by sugar crashes. So a working woman’s gotta eat smart during the workdayBut what are the best foods to maintain your energy during a long day at work? Which are YOUR favorites to keep your mind and body fueled properly? Do you have any other tips on how to avoid getting hangry at work?

Good strategies to follow for maintaining your energy at work are eating frequently to keep your blood sugar at the proper level (no skipping meals!), choosing protein-rich foods and complex carbohydrates, and drinking enough water. Wise choices include nuts and nut butters, eggs, yogurt, oatmeal and other whole grains, fruits and veggies, and high-protein salads. Today we’ll focus on choices that are healthier than grabbing some chips from the vending machine or chocolate from the communal candy jar; eating a lot of fat and/or sugar will actually make you more tired in the long run — but if you have any high-energy favorites from the vending machine or local bodega, we’d love to hear em!

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Handling Business Lunches as the Only Vegetarian

work - dietary restrictionsWhat if you’re at a lunch meeting or other work event and there’s nothing you can eat as a vegetarian? What should you do, and how can you take steps to ensure you don’t find yourself in the same awkward situation again? In general, how should anyone with dietary restrictions handle a business lunch? Reader M wonders…

I went to a meeting today with a catered lunch. The options were turkey or chicken sandwiches. I am a vegetarian. This put me in the awkward position of not eating when the other four people in the room (all males of varying ages) were eating lunch. My question is: How should one deal with dietary restrictions at work or at events with work colleagues? Should I have contacted the assistant in charge of the lunch? My dietary restriction is voluntary, but there are many people out there who will literally become ill if they don’t follow certain dietary guidelines. I can usually find something, but there are the occasional times when I cannot. I also hate being an inconvenience. When I was interviewing for jobs, I actually ate dishes with meat a couple times to avoid an awkward situation or risking coming across as a picky eater.

Yikes — I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been put in such a tough situation. We sort of discussed this when we talked about how to stick to your gluten-free diet at a business lunch or how to diet while working a corporate gig, but that was a while ago. What is the best way for anyone with a dietary restriction to handle a business lunch? I can’t wait to hear what the readers have to say.

I have a few ideas for how to deal with this:

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Healthy Snacks for the Office

Healthy Snacks for the Office2018 Update: We still stand by this advice on healthy snacks for the office, but you may also want to check out our recent roundup of 40+ snack ideas for work.

We’ve talked about healthy snacks to keep at the office before, but since it is the season for healthy eating resolutions, I thought now might be a great time to talk again about what your favorite snacks are — what do you bring with you as far as healthy snacks for the office? What do you keep in your desk, in the office fridge, etc?

When I was working in Big Law I kept a banker’s box on the window stuffed full of a variety of snacks — when I was packing my office to switch jobs, a supervisor came into the office and I offered her some, since I was just throwing away a lot of them — we’d worked closely together for four years and she couldn’t get over how she’d always just thought it was a box of docs, like all the other boxes in our offices…  In those days I ate far too many 100-calorie Nabisco treats, but these days, I’m a big fan of: [Read more…]