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Do you use a lunchbox?

This WSJ article on the new versions of the old standby "lunchbox" http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001... got me thinking.

Do you use a lunchbox when you "brown bag" it to work?

I'll admit that I don't.

If I am not going to be eating out for lunch, I simply pack some fruit and/or granola or energy bars and that's enough to get me through the day. So for me, a brown bag, literally, will do.

Some of these new lunchboxes I have to admit are pretty snazzy -- esp. that lunchbox that looks like a computer case.

But I must say, I'm not a fan of faux bento boxes. Reminds me too much of a microwave Swanson TV dinners of yesteryear.

What do you use to pack a lunch?

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  1. I cook in large batches and take meals into work to share with a couple of the guys around once a week - something easy like risotto or lasagne (although once I packaged up 4 roast dinners out of leftovers, they liked that day!) and to transport it to work I have a blue plastic lunchbox with dancing robots on it. I got it for £1. People probably think I'm a little bit mad, but those lunches get from my house to the office in perfect condition and sit neatly in the fridge.

    Other days, no - I'll usually chuck a yoghurt and some almonds in my handbag and buy sandwich fixings at the start of the week to put together at work.

    1. You know, Ipse, you come up with some of the most interesting questions.

      I bring lunch to work in containers, and will carry them in a plastic shopping bag.
      Don't use a lunch box, though.

      1. The university I work for has a pretty strong brown bag culture, largely because many people use public transit/walk to work, and there aren't a lot of good lunch spots within easy walking distance of my half of campus.

        I have several insulated lunch boxes, all fairly stylish looking I think. I've noticed that younger women are more likely to carry pretty lunch boxes, while the guys tend towards reusing grocery bags or more utilitarian looking reusable bags/boxes.

        I occasionally pack bento sytle lunches, but just use a flat/wide 3 cup rubbermaid container, with silicon cupcake liners to contain items I want to keep separate. These containers fit nicely in the bottom of one of my lunch boxes with room on top for a couple of snacks.

        1. We use these - I love them!
          I particularly like the two compartments. I put cutlery and little snackies in the top compartment and the bottom compartment is usually a container of leftovers with an ice brick on top to keep it cool.

          1. I usually use this: http://www.black-blum.com/product_box... . I'll fill the large triangular container with left-over whatever, the little container with a few nuts and the rest with a bunch of fruit or vegetables. I also have a thermos container I like for soup. http://www.thermos.com/product_detail...

            1. I use one similar to this:


              It holds most sizes of my plastic containers & cleans up well.It also provides a little protection if I have glass containers. I don't have to worry about stuff falling out if it gets shifted in the communal fridge and it is very easy to spot in the sea of paper and plastic bags.

              1. As a lad I touched base with my Grandpappy's lunchbox
                Caverbous, big, shone of blacked steel

                With youth I bespurned it

                Years now as brown bagged I remember it.

                1. I use one. It's a fabric type, almost like the old school workman's style lunch box, but canvas type fabric with a carry handle and also a shoulder strap. It's insulated too. I can easily pack a Pyrex container of food (or bento if I'm eating a cold meal), a cup of yogurt, and fruit. (I don't pack drinks as I have a small fridge in my office and buy and keep my drinks in there). I like the shoulder strap because it frees up my hands.

                  1. A pint-sized tupperware container is enough to hold most of my lunches. Other little items I might want to add to go in snack-sized bags and into my briefcase. I've actually been looking for a bento box to use instead, but they've all been too small for me. This seems up my alley.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JungMann

                      I use this http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/63702?...
                      They updated the design from the one I have but it has the same features. I love it!

                    2. I get intense feelings of guilt whenever using disposable anything, so use glass food containers and carry them in my snazzy NY Built lunch bag. It's super functional on top of being pretty, has both a handle and shoulder strap, and you can chuck it into the washing machine.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: link_930

                        I have a glass lock&lock type (silicone seal) container that I use for foods that I'll heat up in the microwave at work. It's also good for foods that will stain the plastic containers I have.

                        My insulated bag is a plain igloo thing I got from Target. I'd like to upgrade, but not sure what size will work.

                        1. re: Unraveled

                          if u use good size containers...i would go with the "extra relish" size from built ny

                      2. I get many positive comments on my metal Captain Marvel lunchbox

                        1. http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...

                          I've had so many offers on my lunch box, I've lost track but it certainly encourages conversation with people. For the record, most CH's have spotted me by my lunch box over the years.

                          11 Replies
                          1. re: HillJ

                            That is a pretty cool lunchbox - awesome!

                            1. re: ursy_ten

                              thank you, ursy_ten. I'm the third proud owner of this particular lunch box.

                            2. re: HillJ

                              why am I not surprised I'd like your LB HillJ?
                              it's terrific.

                              for me, it's the typical MaxCold Igloo. it holds everything I can manage for lunch and snacks but also bake goods to share. it's sizeable.
                              I pack my husband his lunch too and his is a NASA cold pack sort of like mine.
                              when I/ with our son, I make his lunch and he takes it in his daughters pink and purple cold pack lunch box. He does get teased but doesn't care.

                              1. re: iL Divo

                                thanks, iLD. It's a keeper and like yours holds plenty of deliciousness to share. Part of the allure is the amt. of food I can pack & share with my office pals.

                              2. re: HillJ

                                Neato, HillJ! When I was little, I had a Snoopy lunch box in the same shape as your box. "Go to school with Snoopy" on one side, "Have lunch with Snoopy" on the other. Haven't used it since elementary school, but I may have to bring it up to work one day just to see people's reactions as I pass by--rolling red leather briefcase on one side, "Have lunch with Snoopy" on the other. :) Oh, and to keep lunch fun, my ice packs are a green M&M and and Oreo cookie.

                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                  hi kattyeyes, yes! I remember that Snoopy lunch box very well...the entire PEANUTS character line was very popular.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    It was very fashionable with my faux patent leather smiley (Have a nice day!) pocketbook in the first grade. My cousin had the Hong Kong Phooey (numba one superguy, remember?) lunch box. Of course, mine was cooler. :)

                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                      What a hoot! I bet you were the envy of many.

                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                        Hong Kong Phooey is quicka den the human eye!
                                        I had a Jem (she's truly outrageous!) lunchbox, a Darth Vader Trapper Keeper, and a matching pink Holy Hobby denim jacket and bell bottom jeans.
                                        Now I carry one of the following (depending on the day and what I'm toting to work): a Lululemon reusable shopping bag, a worn-out purple insulated lunch tote, a Tupperware divided plate, and any other cool gift/shopping bag that I couldn't bear to throw away.

                                          1. re: CapreseStacy

                                            I had and, erm, still have, a Darth Vader helmet with the recorded statements like "Luke, I am your father"

                                            And, when I was little, after I lost my c-3po and r2d2 lunch box I wound up with a holly hobby lunch box. I liked it but the kids in class thought it was pretty lame.

                                            I loved Hong Kong fooey!!!! I'm guessing all who were kids then loved him.

                                  2. Reusable tupperware in a plastic bag from the grocery store.

                                    1. All I can say after reading your posts is that I have lunch box envy. Mine is a boring insulated thing I got at Target a zillion years ago. But I'm now going to upgrade.

                                      1. i dont use one...but i do have a classic stanley thermos...
                                        my wife uses a Built NY lunch bag tho...

                                        1. When I began doing low carb eating last year, I bought myself an insulated lunch bag with a zipper. I often carry lunch to my volunteer job, and this accommodates my water bottle as well. I chose my lunch bag to coordinate with my big blue water bottles. I also use it for other things, from time to time.
                                          It has proved to be handy.

                                          1. I stay home, so a plate works fine for me :) But mr. gator uses this horrible insulated lunch box designed to hold a six pack. It has Bud Light logos all over it. I don't know where it came from, because I would never allow a Bud Light to cross my threshold. Luckily his employers are really mellow. But it is a nice size for a sandwich, piece of fruit, pudding cup, and can of Pepsi.

                                            1. I work in the middle of London, and buying lunch can easily cost around £5 ($8) a day, which mounts up, so I bring my own. I prefer salads or bento, so I always have a lunchbox, either a plain flat Lock & Lock box with silicone cups, a cute two tier cherry blossom print bento box, or my latest addition to the lunchbox stash, this one! http://www.vandashop.com/product.php?...

                                              1. I have a tiffin tin that stacks three high and I adore it. I like that it is stainless steel and that it has a handle. Other fine options it came with are the ability to stay upright on the floor of the car while I drive and the fact that it was very reasonably priced. We have two sets and each still has its tag, mine reads Minkey and my boyfriend's reads Monkey. They fit in backpacks for hikes/snowshoes/bike rides.

                                                I used to use a vintage red-plaid Thermos brand tote that matched my red-plaid thermos and the little red plastic sandwich box but it is kind of big and I don't really need the thermos since we have a kettle, sauce pan and burner at work.

                                                I, um, also have a zillion old thermoses. I'm crazy for the metal ones with the red tops that look like rockets, the red plaids and just about any old thermos. I finally gave my blue plaid thermos and my Munsters thermos to my sister-in-law. She loves thermoses and lunch boxes as much as I do. We really only like the vintage ones but anything attractive is nice too.

                                                If I knew where my matching Munsters lunch pail was, I would have given my sister-in-law that one too. I miss that lunch box.

                                                1. >>>>But I must say, I'm not a fan of faux bento boxes. Reminds me too much of a microwave Swanson TV dinners of yesteryear.

                                                  To say nothing of the non-microwave Swanson TV dinners of yesteryesteryear.

                                                  1. Not a lunch box but a lunch bag, the smallest Whole Foods bag that they sell. Then I put my various tupperware type plastic boxes in it depending on what I made that day. Throw in a banana or orange and I'm done.

                                                    I'm looking for a nice lunchbox though - one that isn't too big and looks nice. I'll have to check out some of the suggestions on this thread.

                                                    1. I have a great one, an insulated lunchbox that looks like a Chinese carry-out container. I use it regularly, it never fails to get comments, and it never gets mistaken for someone else's lunch (possibly it's biggest advantage).

                                                      A got it here: http://www.lunchboxes.com/ although I dont see one like it currently.

                                                      1. A blue and white polka-dotted bag. It's a thick plastic, so when my salad dressing spills all over the inside as it did a few days ago, it is easily cleanable.
                                                        It's cute, but I have to say, it looks kind of ridiculous next to my bright purple purse.


                                                        1. I have a cute black Koko drawstring insulated bag that fits all my tupperware-type containers, fruit and a diet soda. There aren't really any good places to get food around my office and my little lunch bag fits neatly into my tote with my book and a couple other essentials.

                                                          1. Yes. I have about four insulated bags of different sizes. I pack the smallest one that will hold my food for the day. I have little blue ice blocks to keep everything cold, using more of them in the summer. (I especially don't like yogurt that isn't cold.)

                                                            1. I have a pretty generic Igloo insulated lunch bag and it works. Last summer I was in a Kitchen Specialty shop and bought this ADORABLE draw string bag that, it was a huge disappointment and although it was fashionable, I wound up giving it to Good Will, because it just didnt' work very well
                                                              the round shape didin't fit my containers and the drawstring was an annoyance, plus it has a pronounced chemical smell that I couldn't get rid of that would permeate any fresh whole fruit I'd put in there,

                                                              so I"m back to the old standby Igloo, it works

                                                              1. Such a fond friendly thread
                                                                of our food transport devices.
                                                                Especially when they transport to our past.

                                                                I have waited to see if there were many, or if I was alone
                                                                in proudly toting to school a box featuring Fred Flintstone.

                                                                Of cheapest of stamped steel was its cubic construction
                                                                with Fred in the thin coated enamel of fabrication.

                                                                But at that young age it was really about Wilma,
                                                                a pinnacle of focus in those early young crushes.

                                                                Now at a stage of a bit more advanced age
                                                                But still with Ms Wilma as framing the archetype
                                                                I occasionally shout with good "Yabba Dabba Doo!"

                                                                1. I would really like the type of heavy duty steel lunchbox (Think of the ones you see on "Coal") like my dad used to take to work. Big, heavy duty construction. Can't figure out where they get them.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. Not a lunch box per se, but a bag - paper bag with handles of which I have dozens from lots of takeout sushi. And the plastic containers I use for my food are also from the same sushi place. The plastic containers fit in there perfectly. We have a fridge at work, so once I get there it all goes into the fridge.