Thrift Kitchen: Packing those Lunches
Brown bagging it can save you a ton of money + help you eat better. It’s a two for one deal you just can’t beat with pre-packaged or eating out meals.
Since brown bagging it as a kid there have been many great break-throughs in the lunch box department.
I bought my first bento box 3 years ago from Laptop Lunches. It’s a great lunch box system that helps to check your portions, make sure you diversify your food types, has a little compartment for silverware (spoon and fork included), and comes with a little thermos for soups and other hot foods. The little containers come in two sizes (2 small, 2 medium) and the medium one comes with a lid. The lid is tight, but leaks.
I used it pretty regularly one semester in school, then off and on for three more semesters, and just recently started using it again. So about 4 months of regular use? And it broke.
I really like this one, but since I’ve started washing in the dishwasher the box has come apart. The lid broke off when I was closing it the other morning and then the containers with the lids doesn’t fit any more. And even though I love the little container, it’s a pain to wash out.
Then the other issue I have is that it’s hard to carry with me. The latch has never worked and it’s so not leak proof. Or even leak resistant. I always wrapped it in a grocery bag before putting it in my book bag. So it’s good fun “lunch” lunches: sandwiches, fruits, salads, rice, veggies that don’t have sauce. But is no good for “dinner” lunches. Which is mostly what I pack since I like to eat my leftovers for lunch the next day.
I had been using this the laptop lunchbox for about 2 weeks straight when it broke and so now I’m looking for a replacement. I thought about getting another one, but the leaking and the warpage and the bad latch issue. So I’ve decided to look elsewhere. Oh, I do still have and use the thermos though. It’s pretty good.
Mr. Bento Lunch Jar was the first lunch system I gave serious consideration to. I has four containers that fit into a thermos. Comes with a metal spork (which so takes me back to high school lunches) and a cover to keep it clean. And it all fits nicely into a carrying case, draw string bag. Nice. It’s about $40 depending where you get it + shipping. It’s probably my favorite, but it’s out of my price range. I was thinking about saving up for it, but started looking around and found some other great options.
This little number is called the PlanetBox and comes with a little and big dipper -containers that fit inside the PlantBox if you want to carry some soup (big dipper) or sauce (little dipper). I think it’s really fun, but it’s just not what I’m looking for and the price puts it way out of my range. So fun though!
Then, looking around more, I hit my real break-through with Citizenpip MunchGear. It’s not so much that it’s awesome and cute and well designed (which it is), it’s the containers.
You can buy them on their on for $12. I’m a crafty lady. I can make my own box in the fashion of the Lunchopolis upright one. Just a little flat bottom tote would be great – something that holds the containers upright and fits them well.
Enter the Lunchopolis Lunch Box. I really like that the handle is on the top vs the side so when you carry it everything stays upright, less chance of spilling. It comes with a nice variety of container sizes(large, medium, and 2 small), plus a matching bottle. And there is room to add in a fruit or a yogurt, which is awesome.
The plastic containers are dishwasher and microwave safe + lead and bpa free (always good). And it’s only $30 + shipping. That’s definitely more in my budget, I figure I’ll make that back in a year of packing lunches no problem.
I think if I were to buy one of these lunch boxes I would get the Lunchopolis one because it’s lower cost + I already have the thermos and silverware from my bento box, if starting from scratch I would consider the Munch Gear more. Plus I do not have a water bottle and those run around $5-10 for the bpa free kind so that makes it a better price point that buying the munch gear containers + a water bottle.
And I told Jason this. And he said “what’s wrong with our tupperware?” And I was like “but but but” and then thought, hmm, I should take another look at what (duh) I already have on hand before I charge out to buy something.
So I looked around and found the perfect “set” and next Friday I’ll give you the pattern for the tote I made for it. I’m going to go ahead and get a water bottle, so my at end cost is $8 instead of $20 – $30 including shipping. And i like this water bottle more than the little one in the Lunchopolis. I’m still compelled to buy the Lunchopolis… so making a really awesome tote is necessary to keep that impulse at bay. It has to be washable, fun, have a sturdy bottom, at least one pocket, and the perfect size for my dishes.