Author Topic: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch  (Read 8010 times)

Aelias

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NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« on: October 01, 2018, 09:06:09 AM »
Packing your lunch is the ultimate low-hanging fruit of frugality, right? It's easy, it saves a ton, and you can do it with stuff you already have laying around.  Au contraire!  NYT to the rescue with 5 not particularly cheap things you can buy to HELP YOU with your transition to this obvious money saving habit.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/30/smarter-living/5-cheap-ish-things-to-help-you-start-packing-your-lunch.html?fallback=0&recId=1AygPb23tesr5ii0MSMt7yXreac&locked=0&geoContinent=NA&geoRegion=OH&recAlloc=control&geoCountry=US&blockId=home-living-vi&imp_id=596554594&action=click&module=Smarter%20Living&pgtype=Homepage


1) Lunchbox - NYT recommends L.L. Bean insulated lunchbox $20

"While there’s no shame in your collection of reused plastic takeout and deli containers," (right, so just use those) "There is nothing like a new container or two to bring back the fun and excitement of packing a lunch."  Fun and exciting?  Does packing your lunch have to be fun and exciting?  I think the point is that it's practical and routine.

2) Utensils - NYT recommends 4 N 1 Utensil Set $6

"While there’s nothing wrong with grabbing a fork or spoon from the drawer and tucking it into your lunch bag," AGAIN, you've already identified the most reasonable solution. "If you don’t want to risk losing a piece of your grandma’s flatware to the office kitchen, invest in a travel set."  Or maybe don't pick that particular fork?  Or, like, be careful not to lose it?

3) Thermos - NYT recommends Zojiroshi Stainless Steel Food Jar $25

"For days when you want a hot lunch but you don’t have time to wait for a turn with the office microwave, nothing beats an insulated food jar."  Now I feel like NYT is trolling me.  You can't either just pack a sandwich on a really busy day or, I dunno, JUST WAIT IN LINE FOR 5 MINUTES?

4) Water Bottle - NYT recommends several $12-$35

An insulated water bottle will remind you to stay hydrated" because your biological thirst apparently won't do the job.

5) Lunch Bag - NYT recommends Baggu Duck Bag $32

"Early in my working days, I used and reused a small handled shopping bag to carry my lunch back and forth to work, until one memorable commute, when the paper gave way and my lunch hit the floor."  Let me introduce to my good friend, the plastic grocery bag, conveyer of mountains of food since time immemorial.

So, you can spend around $100 to start packing your lunch and saving money.  Or, like, just start packing your lunch.


honeybbq

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2018, 12:19:44 PM »
I think #1 and #2 are a reasonable investment. (Dodges facepunches) I have some utensils I use that are not part of my regular set in case they get lost/stolen in the office. Plastic silverware is just... ick and bad for the environment.

#3 - nah...
#4, eh... I have a regular water bottle, it works fine. I prefer to use re-useable bottles and not waste paper cups.
#5... nah.

I pack my lunch >95% of the time. I think having nice reusable tupperware that is solid and won't leak is also a good investment. I have some nice glass ones that i can microwave in that never leak and don't break when you drop them (or at least not yet) so they are robust enough for my bike/bus commute.

I'm also one of those crazy people that thinks it's ok to spend SOME money if you ultimately save MORE money. Or if it motivates you (e.g. cute gym clothes) ONLY if you actually do it. Or if it makes you happier (enough). Sometimes going too cheap can backfire.

Back on topic, I'm always amazed by how much my coworkers spend on Starbucks (Go PACNW!) and eating out every day. I think people spend at least $10 a day on coffee at the 'bucks. 2 trips, fancy drinks that take 10 minutes to make. Such a waste of time and money. I always cook enough dinner to make 3 lunches afterwards for each person in the family. So usually I make 6+ servings. Saves so much money and batch cooking is so much easier than always scrounging for lunches the next day.  It really is a habit and a skill that people need to get into however. That small amount of effort can go a long way.
 



SynestheticSymphony

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2018, 01:00:20 PM »
Yeah, this is ridiculous. It just feeds into the "cooking at home costs as much as eating out" nonsense everyone spouts.

In other news, I've spent the last few years toting one of these kid-sized lunch bags from Target (except I'm a guy, so mine is blue):

https://www.target.com/p/igloo-lunch-bag-black/-/A-50295799

It perfectly fits a cup of yogurt + a baggie of granola for breakfast, and a jar of salad for lunch. As an added bonus, if the shoulder strap is removed, the hooks on the side can attach to the side of my bike rack with carabiner clips. Great for car-free commuting!

faithless

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2018, 01:21:11 PM »
I feel the Thermos would be a good recommendation if only they'd said 'want a hot lunch but don't have access to a microwave?'

I thought about getting one for soup, then realised because it's metal I couldn't microwave the soup in it before work, so I'd have to get other pans/containers dirty warming it up in the morning to transfer it to the Thermos (probably splashing myself with hot soup due to being a klutz).

I concluded I'm better off using my plastic clip seal mug and waiting in line at the microwave or having a very early/very late lunch to avoid the queue.

erutio

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2018, 01:59:07 PM »
What do you all like to use for your glass re-usable food containers?

I want to switch our entire fleet of our plastic rubbermaid/glad/ziploc ones with glass ones, but it's not cheap!

Amazon seems to have them for ~$20-25 for 4 to 5 containers with lids.   My criteria are that they are freezable, microwaveable, dishwasher safe. 
Wont be using them in the oven.  Would really like them to be stackable, but that doesn't seem to be likely for glass ones.

SynestheticSymphony

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2018, 02:06:15 PM »
What do you all like to use for your glass re-usable food containers?

I want to switch our entire fleet of our plastic rubbermaid/glad/ziploc ones with glass ones, but it's not cheap!

Amazon seems to have them for ~$20-25 for 4 to 5 containers with lids.   My criteria are that they are freezable, microwaveable, dishwasher safe. 
Wont be using them in the oven.  Would really like them to be stackable, but that doesn't seem to be likely for glass ones.

A lot of retailers around here have great deals on Pyrex storage dishes on Black Friday. I occasionally see them on Woot! as well.

erutio

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2018, 02:46:14 PM »
What do you all like to use for your glass re-usable food containers?

I want to switch our entire fleet of our plastic rubbermaid/glad/ziploc ones with glass ones, but it's not cheap!

Amazon seems to have them for ~$20-25 for 4 to 5 containers with lids.   My criteria are that they are freezable, microwaveable, dishwasher safe. 
Wont be using them in the oven.  Would really like them to be stackable, but that doesn't seem to be likely for glass ones.

Pyrex is usually made in USA, so that's a plus.  The annoying thing with them is that it seems they are always sold in sets of different shapes and sizes, not all of which I would use.
A lot of retailers around here have great deals on Pyrex storage dishes on Black Friday. I occasionally see them on Woot! as well.

fattest_foot

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2018, 02:57:05 PM »
The thermos would only make sense if you'd cook your lunch straight that very morning? Mine usually comes out of the freezer.. Or would they suggest heating it at home in the microwave and then put it in the thermos? That sounds super yuk but to each their own.

I agree that a good box and water bottle to carry around your lunch is nice, but I can't imagine anyone beyond an 18 yo college student who does not have at least a few freezer boxes/tupperwares lying around?

Clearly you need a hot plate for work. And probably a pot and pan. And you may as well throw in a mini fridge for perishables.

You should probably just skip prepping the meals at home because who wants to do that in their off time? Hmm, you'll probably want some spices and cooking utensils too if we're cooking at work.

And since you probably don't know how to cook, we're going to need some cooking lessons.

This whole "packing your lunch" thing is starting to sound expensive.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2018, 03:00:17 PM »
I bought a reusable canvas lunch bag with a velcro top for $5 at Target and I've been using it over and over again for ten years so far. Then I spent $7 on a set of dishwasher safe sandwich boxes about five years ago. And that's way more expensive than most people on this forum. The mainstream media is so ridiculous.

rubybeth

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2018, 04:32:26 PM »
Really depends on the workplace and what is available in terms of amenities. Some places don't have much, so a thermos to keep something hot might be good, or a way to keep lunch cool and safe.

I have a full kitchen at work with a toaster and a microwave in my office, so I typically just toss leftover or sandwich ingredients in a plastic container and bring to work in my purse (or backback, when I used to be able to walk to work). Toss in the fridge, toss on a plate at lunch, eat in the break room or my private office. My husband's break room is very small and time with the microwave is at a premium, so he used to bring jar salads so all he needed was the refrigerator. Now he's able to come home at lunch so doesn't need to pack it.

Fi(re) on the Farm

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2018, 04:43:03 PM »
I do have an llbean lunch bag - I bought it at the outlet for $10 and have had it for years. I use ball canning jars for just about everything. If it's something that won't fit in a jar I have glass pyrex containers with lids. I keep some silverware at my desk that I picked up at a thrift store. I sit in an office where 90% of the people buy lunch every day. Then they ask me how to save money because they know I'm frugal - SMH!

cats

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2018, 05:02:00 PM »
Why do you need a lunch box AND a lunch bag?  Seems redundant.  I just put my lunch containers into my general small backpack of things that come to the office (wallet, keys, phone, books or knitting for time on transit, etc).  Lugging a whole extra bag seems a pain.  How much food is one eating?  I have a pretty good appetite and only occasionally need a separate bag for food (if I am restocking my office supplies of snacks like nuts, oatmeal, etc....not my actual lunch for the day).

Water bottle and utensils--these can typically be found at a thrift store if you must have them Right Now.  Otherwise, nice water bottles in particular seem to turn up abandoned with alarming frequency at offices, local parks, my church's annual clean out of their lost and found box...no reason to buy a new one.

The thermos does sound nice if you don't have access to a microwave, but doesn't seem like a must-have item so I would say just keep an eye out for a used one (thrift store, friend moving and getting rid of stuff, etc) and make do with salads or sandwiches in the meantime.

Aelias

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2018, 12:15:39 PM »

Clearly you need a hot plate for work. And probably a pot and pan. And you may as well throw in a mini fridge for perishables.

You should probably just skip prepping the meals at home because who wants to do that in their off time? Hmm, you'll probably want some spices and cooking utensils too if we're cooking at work.

And since you probably don't know how to cook, we're going to need some cooking lessons.

This whole "packing your lunch" thing is starting to sound expensive.

The funny thing is, I kind of have built up a mini-kitchen in my office desk.  It includes:

-a small cutting board and knife for fruits and veggies
-metal fork, spoon, and knife
-a large microwave safe mug for soup / pasta /etc
-olive oil, sesame oil, and hot sauce
-a small shaker of sea salt
-Café Bustelo instant espresso
-some almonds and sunflower seeds for snacking

This all sounds fancy as hell, but ALL OF THIS was either sitting around at my house or available at my grocery store.  It makes it stupid easy to eat really well at work. In the summer, I bring in an old take out container full of greens from the garden, a whole carrot, a few cherry tomatoes, and a container of shredded cheese and assemble it all for a salad.  In the winter, it's takeout containers full of leftovers.  And the instant espresso permanently solved the coffee out vs. terrible Keurig coffee dilemma.

honeybbq

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2018, 02:03:31 PM »
What do you all like to use for your glass re-usable food containers?

I want to switch our entire fleet of our plastic rubbermaid/glad/ziploc ones with glass ones, but it's not cheap!

Amazon seems to have them for ~$20-25 for 4 to 5 containers with lids.   My criteria are that they are freezable, microwaveable, dishwasher safe. 
Wont be using them in the oven.  Would really like them to be stackable, but that doesn't seem to be likely for glass ones.

A lot of retailers around here have great deals on Pyrex storage dishes on Black Friday. I occasionally see them on Woot! as well.

I got mine at TJMaxx or Home Goods... one of those discount places. They are still rather pricey, but the glass ones last years and years.

I'm a red panda

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2018, 02:12:03 PM »
This reminds me of the Shopaholic book series.  Everything she does to save herself money costs a fortune.

I don't have a lunch bag, but I have access to a fridge at work.  I just take the container of food from the fridge and put it in my work bag/gym bag/diaper bag/purse.  It doesn't need it's own bag.

pachnik

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2018, 05:10:19 PM »
This reminds me of the Shopaholic book series.  Everything she does to save herself money costs a fortune.

I don't have a lunch bag, but I have access to a fridge at work.  I just take the container of food from the fridge and put it in my work bag/gym bag/diaper bag/purse.  It doesn't need it's own bag.

I agree though I've never read the Shopaholic series.  You don't really need that stuff - just use what you have and take your lunch to work in that. 

Zikoris

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2018, 07:34:08 PM »
The thermos would only make sense if you'd cook your lunch straight that very morning? Mine usually comes out of the freezer.. Or would they suggest heating it at home in the microwave and then put it in the thermos? That sounds super yuk but to each their own.

We actually do this sometimes when we're hiking - I heat up leftovers super hot at home in the microwave right before we leave and throw it in an insulated container, and voila, hot lunch on top of a mountain! I wouldn't want to go to the trouble on a regular basis, but it sure is worth it on a hike.

Just Joe

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2018, 12:55:49 PM »
What do you all like to use for your glass re-usable food containers?

I want to switch our entire fleet of our plastic rubbermaid/glad/ziploc ones with glass ones, but it's not cheap!

Amazon seems to have them for ~$20-25 for 4 to 5 containers with lids.   My criteria are that they are freezable, microwaveable, dishwasher safe. 
Wont be using them in the oven.  Would really like them to be stackable, but that doesn't seem to be likely for glass ones.

I was in Aldi the other day and they had "Anchor" brand glassware with plastic lids. Carbon copies of my Pyrex brand stuff. I think the lids were even interchangeable.

ixtap

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2018, 01:45:40 PM »
The thermos would only make sense if you'd cook your lunch straight that very morning? Mine usually comes out of the freezer.. Or would they suggest heating it at home in the microwave and then put it in the thermos? That sounds super yuk but to each their own.

We actually do this sometimes when we're hiking - I heat up leftovers super hot at home in the microwave right before we leave and throw it in an insulated container, and voila, hot lunch on top of a mountain! I wouldn't want to go to the trouble on a regular basis, but it sure is worth it on a hike.

I use bath or beach towels for this purpose, depending on what else is in the backpack. I mean, if I don't need my fleece in the morning, but I expect to need it in the evening, keeping the food warm is an excellent use of it!

MountainFlower

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2018, 02:55:35 PM »
What do you all like to use for your glass re-usable food containers?

I want to switch our entire fleet of our plastic rubbermaid/glad/ziploc ones with glass ones, but it's not cheap!

Amazon seems to have them for ~$20-25 for 4 to 5 containers with lids.   My criteria are that they are freezable, microwaveable, dishwasher safe. 
Wont be using them in the oven.  Would really like them to be stackable, but that doesn't seem to be likely for glass ones.

Canning Jars!  The wide-mouth ones.  Purchase the plastic lids.  They work for chunky stuff.  For liquids, use the 2-piece lids that come with it. 

I use them daily in 5 sizes:
** 4 oz (1/2 cup)  Ranch dip for kids lunches (this size doesn't come in wide mouth)
** 8 oz (1 cup)  Small amounts of leftovers, cut up onions, baby pickles for kids lunches (these do come in wide mouth, but might have to look or order them.  Ace sometimes has them)
** 16 oz (2 cups)  Most Leftovers under 2 cups
** 32 oz (quart)  Leftovers in quantities greater than 2 cups
**64 oz (half gallon)  Don't use these that much, but they are great for soup broth or mixing up occasional Kool-aid, Sangria, margs, etc.

lizzzi

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2018, 03:19:51 PM »
I used to carry my lunch to work every day in a small, brown paper "lunch bag" that you can buy in the grocery store in mass quantities. I would take a two-bread sandwich, some cut up raw vegetables, and a piece of fruit. I kept tea bags and a jar of instant coffee in my desk--we did have water available, and a refrigerator and microwave. I saved my bags (as my mother made us do when we were kids and carried our lunches to school.) A bag would usually last for a week or so. I liked the fact that my lunch was simple, could be eaten without utensils, and was not messy if I was out on the road for business and had to do dashboard dining or starve. Most of the office staff ordered food in every day, at around $10 each per lunch, and most of them were financially broke and were overweight. They thought I was a bit anti-social, but I said I needed to be careful of my blood sugar (a big, fat lie)...and I always tried to chat with them and not be stuck-up while they were eating their cholesterol of the day. French fries with gravy and so forth. I've always found that dedicated lunch boxes and thermoses were too much trouble.

marion10

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2018, 04:22:02 PM »
My daughter is a teacher and regularly uses this- https://www.amazon.com/Crock-Pot-Lunch-Crock-Food-Warmer/dp/B006H5V8RG/ref=asc_df_B006H5V8RG/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=198068785199&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2339472384879465041&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9021716&hvtargid=pla-343169476514&psc=1
not sure if she has access to a microwave or if there are just a lot of other teachers trying to use at the same time.  She plugs it in behind her desk in her classroom and is very satisfied.

Astreja

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2018, 05:53:51 PM »
What do you all like to use for your glass re-usable food containers?

I found a nice locking-lid container at IKEA for about $3 CDN, but unfortunately I dropped it and broke it.  Switched back to plastic, but splurged on a stain-resistant version.  If you regularly carry chili or tomato soup or other tomato-based food, it's easier to clean and will look good for much longer.  (Much lighter than glass, too.)

The only reason I switched from my tattered lunch bag to a new one is that I won the new one in a Secret Santa gift exchange one Christmas.

Water:  Any plastic drinking bottle that fits in the fridge overnight is fine.  (I just fill it with tap water near the end of the previous work day and have cold water to drink first thing in the morning.

And I have a knife, fork and spoon that are permanent residents of my desk. I just wash everything after lunch and only transport the food container home for refilling.

GuitarStv

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2018, 06:35:08 PM »
My lunch goes in a plastic bag in a lower compartment of my backpack, and my clothes go in a plastic bag in the upper part.  I like old plastic margarine or other food containers in place of a lunch box.  I don't use a thermos . . . if the microwave is busy and I'm in a rush I'll just eat my lunch cold.  I've been using the same 6$ nalgene waterbottle since I started work more than a decade ago (and I washed it every couple years when the green algae in it starts to get too thick).

So, while this list is crazy and ridiculous . . . I actually spent about a hundred dollars this year to purchase a backpack (https://www.osprey.com/ca/en/product/escapist-25-ESCAPIST25.html) that I use primarily to bring food/clothes to and from work while cycling, and would do so again.  Having a decent backpack is one of the very few things that life has taught me is actually worth spending a little money on.  :P

MarciaB

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #24 on: October 06, 2018, 10:00:57 AM »
What do you all like to use for your glass re-usable food containers?

I want to switch our entire fleet of our plastic rubbermaid/glad/ziploc ones with glass ones, but it's not cheap!

Amazon seems to have them for ~$20-25 for 4 to 5 containers with lids.   My criteria are that they are freezable, microwaveable, dishwasher safe. 
Wont be using them in the oven.  Would really like them to be stackable, but that doesn't seem to be likely for glass ones.

I like the Pyrex bowls with lids, and Anchor is another brand like this. I pick them up at thrift stores. Just make sure each bowl has a good lid, and you're set. I keep reading more and more about plastic being bad for food storage, and am slowly moving our fleet of storage containers to glass.

11ducks

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2018, 01:37:56 AM »
I get a little jealous of those food prep bloggers with their adorable matching containers. I take my lunch daily in a few plastic ikea/random containers, and am too cheap to buy a bento box or cute matching containers because the stuff I have is perfectly serviceable, but I do get it. I have an antimustachian heart for cute plasticware and matching stationery (hides from punches).

Lanthiriel

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2018, 02:45:43 PM »
Weirdly, purchasing this alpaca lunchbox from Amazon has inspired me to take more lunches to work because it's so frickin' cute.

https://www.amazon.com/InterestPrint-Insulated-Reusable-Neoprene-American/dp/B0777KWWDZ/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1538945057&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=alpaca+lunch+box&psc=1

I throw my assortment of Costco-purchased glass and plastic snap lid containers in it. Works great.

expatartist

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2018, 11:07:44 PM »
For years I'd take lunch in plastic containers but now find it difficult to store them in my 150-square-foot flat. My precious kitchen cabinet space needs to be for food not storage. Takeaway boxes are dodgy for microwave reheating and don't last. Often I'll go to a book launch or art opening after work and don't want containers bulking up my bag. I've been using reusable plastic sandwich bags - heavy duty with really good seals - and modular plastic cutlery that doesn't take up much space in my bag when hiking.

Recently I backed this on Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tripprogear/pokeat-the-lunch-box-that-fits-in-your-pocket Made by local designers, they understand our first world problems in Hong Kong ;) Plus I get to support local creative talent.

letired

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #28 on: October 07, 2018, 11:35:36 PM »
What do you all like to use for your glass re-usable food containers?

I want to switch our entire fleet of our plastic rubbermaid/glad/ziploc ones with glass ones, but it's not cheap!

Amazon seems to have them for ~$20-25 for 4 to 5 containers with lids.   My criteria are that they are freezable, microwaveable, dishwasher safe. 
Wont be using them in the oven.  Would really like them to be stackable, but that doesn't seem to be likely for glass ones.

I got a set of the 'Glasslock' brand with the clicky lids. Since I switched to clicky lids, I've never had a leaking problem, and I like that I can order replacement lids easily, since accidents do happen. I've never had the glass so much as chip, but I've forgotten something in the back of the fridge once or twice where the seal got a little grody. They are a lot heavier than plastic, but if you're biking, you can usually go door-to-door enough that it doesn't matter.

jengod

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2018, 08:04:22 PM »
FWIW, I see almost all of these gizmos at Goodwill for cheap on a pretty regular basis. I've noticed that girl colors of Thermoses and such sell slower than boy colors, b/c boy colors are perceived as "neutral."

horsepoor

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #30 on: October 25, 2018, 09:22:41 PM »
Recently I backed this on Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tripprogear/pokeat-the-lunch-box-that-fits-in-your-pocket Made by local designers, they understand our first world problems in Hong Kong ;) Plus I get to support local creative talent.

Hmm, also Mustachian for collecting leftovers from work events...

jengod

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #31 on: November 02, 2018, 07:34:51 PM »
I just wanted to confess that we ordered the 9-can Coleman lunch boxes linked above and they have been the best lunch boxes we've had for the kids. The plastic insert is so much easier to clean than a totally soft lining and it's got enough room for a decent amount of food and a kids' water bottle.

TY for the suggestion, folks!

Imma

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2018, 07:22:12 AM »
What do you all like to use for your glass re-usable food containers?

I want to switch our entire fleet of our plastic rubbermaid/glad/ziploc ones with glass ones, but it's not cheap!

Amazon seems to have them for ~$20-25 for 4 to 5 containers with lids.   My criteria are that they are freezable, microwaveable, dishwasher safe. 
Wont be using them in the oven.  Would really like them to be stackable, but that doesn't seem to be likely for glass ones.

I was in Aldi the other day and they had "Anchor" brand glassware with plastic lids. Carbon copies of my Pyrex brand stuff. I think the lids were even interchangeable.

I'm a big fan of Ikea glass containers, but I don't take them into work. They have plastic lids and can be frozen and heated in the oven, so I like to use them for casseroles. I take them out of the freezer in the morning and put them in the oven when I get home.

I have a super simple lunch box that I've had for 10 years and I just eat sandwiches or leftovers. Preparing breakfast and lunch in the evening costs me 5 minutes a day and €5 per week. And I've actually switched to nice bread instead of cheap supermarket bread now I can afford it. I have a glass from home on my desk and just walk to the water cooler when I'm thirsty (our office water cooler cools tap water, no plastic waste!).

Cranky

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2018, 08:04:29 AM »
Periodically, Aldi has glass containers with the clicks lids and a vent on the top for microwaving. They are the best and IMO worth spending the money on.

We’ve never broken any but my dh has somehow lost a few.

Prairie Stash

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #34 on: November 03, 2018, 12:46:05 PM »
This thread has inspired me! I now have appropriate Christmas gifts for 16 year olds in the family, help them on their journey of brown bagging it till FIRE.

- a thermos that will last 20 years
- a lunch box

Looking back I've been using the same beat up thermos for most of my working life, I think I got it as a teenager. That thing probably has seen 4000 fills.

Digital Dogma

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2018, 08:37:31 AM »
I see a lot of people talking about the glass Pyrex dishes - I've had years of great use out of my pyrex dishes, but my lids are now beginning to fail in various ways. Other than the lid failure, I couldn't be happier with them.

I've even received a multi-pack with one chipped container (it could still be used), complained to them about it, and received an entirely new multi-pack set in perfect condition. Thats some great customer service!

JLee

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #36 on: November 05, 2018, 03:10:51 PM »
What do you all like to use for your glass re-usable food containers?

I want to switch our entire fleet of our plastic rubbermaid/glad/ziploc ones with glass ones, but it's not cheap!

Amazon seems to have them for ~$20-25 for 4 to 5 containers with lids.   My criteria are that they are freezable, microwaveable, dishwasher safe. 
Wont be using them in the oven.  Would really like them to be stackable, but that doesn't seem to be likely for glass ones.

I got a set of the 'Glasslock' brand with the clicky lids. Since I switched to clicky lids, I've never had a leaking problem, and I like that I can order replacement lids easily, since accidents do happen. I've never had the glass so much as chip, but I've forgotten something in the back of the fridge once or twice where the seal got a little grody. They are a lot heavier than plastic, but if you're biking, you can usually go door-to-door enough that it doesn't matter.

I use glasslock as well. They have some products that are oven safe (just glass, not the lids though), which is nice if I'm making individual portions of something that requires baking.

faithless

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #37 on: November 05, 2018, 04:36:58 PM »
I see a lot of people talking about the glass Pyrex dishes - I've had years of great use out of my pyrex dishes, but my lids are now beginning to fail in various ways. Other than the lid failure, I couldn't be happier with them.


I'm sure I saw someone post that they'd bought replacement lids for theirs, might be an option for you?

MicroRN

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2018, 04:58:35 PM »
While you can pack lunch in anything, it can definitely speed things up and remove some frustrations to have certain tools.  I pack breakfast for me and my husband, and lunch for all 4 of us every day.  (MrMicro does all the dishes, before anyone wonders why he doesn't pack his own).  That's 30 meals a week, and that's assuming I don't need to pack dinners on the road for activities or therapy appointments.  Even a very minor frustration x30 adds up, and to me it is well worth avoiding. Having consistent containers makes packing more efficient, everything stacks well in the fridge, fits in the dishwasher, stacks compactly in the cabinet, and containers fit neatly in lunch bags.  Containers with secure snap lids and gaskets prevent backpack leaks when kids toss their packs all over the place or shove a lunchbag in upside down.  I have enough containers that I can pack several days worth of food at once, then we can just grab one item from each stack. 

I don't like microwaving in plastic, so my husband and I use 2 cup rectangular Pyrex snapware containers for hot meals.  However, the kids aren't allowed to use glass at school, plus they're little and need something light.  For them, I got Sistema 2-compartment snack containers and sandwich boxes.  Those fit their lunchbags well and are the right amount of food for them (and don't leak!).  For the adults, I also got a couple Sistema salad containers.  I have a few 4 oz yogurt cups that can be filled with bulk yogurt or applesauce, and 1oz salad dressing containers that open and close readily, don't leak, and hold exactly one serving of dressing or hummus.  Our utensils are just old utensils handed down from family.  We each have a water bottle that we use every day, and MrMicro and I each have a Thermos travel mug for coffee.  Most of our containers have been used several times a week for 2 years, though I did buy a few more this year so I could do more prep-ahead.     

Digital Dogma

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #39 on: November 06, 2018, 11:09:01 AM »
I see a lot of people talking about the glass Pyrex dishes - I've had years of great use out of my pyrex dishes, but my lids are now beginning to fail in various ways. Other than the lid failure, I couldn't be happier with them.


I'm sure I saw someone post that they'd bought replacement lids for theirs, might be an option for you?

Thanks for the tip, seems like the easiest way to go!

merula

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #40 on: November 06, 2018, 04:22:10 PM »
I have both Pyrex (like this https://www.pyrexware.com/simply-store-6-pc-round-set-red-lids/1085657.html) and Ikea locking containers (like https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S89269071/)

Both work well, but I trust the Ikea ones more for not spilling.

I've had Anchor brand containers, but the lids don't hold up nearly as well as the Pyrex ones.

I also use wide-mouth mason jars, depending on the need. I haven't had good luck eating salads out of mason jars; I don't know how people do it.

Zombie Burger

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #41 on: November 07, 2018, 12:07:17 PM »
The real way to win here is to not pack a lunch at all. Over my lunch break, I slam a protein shake and some dressed spinach greens. It takes like five minutes to eat, and I get to spend the rest of the hour doing actual fun stuff. I can go to a park with my sketch book, or go running, or to the gym. ...or keep working so I can go home early. All of those things provide more satisfaction than just eating during the best part of the day.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2018, 12:13:19 PM by Zombie Burger »

OtherJen

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #42 on: November 07, 2018, 08:25:26 PM »
I see a lot of people talking about the glass Pyrex dishes - I've had years of great use out of my pyrex dishes, but my lids are now beginning to fail in various ways. Other than the lid failure, I couldn't be happier with them.


I'm sure I saw someone post that they'd bought replacement lids for theirs, might be an option for you?

Thanks for the tip, seems like the easiest way to go!

Amazon sells them. I think I searched for Pyrex replacement lids when I bought mine.

4alpacas

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #43 on: December 10, 2018, 10:51:53 AM »
I see a lot of people talking about the glass Pyrex dishes - I've had years of great use out of my pyrex dishes, but my lids are now beginning to fail in various ways. Other than the lid failure, I couldn't be happier with them.

I'm sure I saw someone post that they'd bought replacement lids for theirs, might be an option for you?
Thanks for the tip, seems like the easiest way to go!
Amazon sells them. I think I searched for Pyrex replacement lids when I bought mine.
I've bought replacement lids on Amazon for my Pyrex containers.  SO worth it!  I love my Pyrex containers. 

I also bought a few plastic lids for mason jars.  The seal isn't perfect, but they're great for small amounts of leftovers.

JLee

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #44 on: December 10, 2018, 11:02:23 AM »
I see a lot of people talking about the glass Pyrex dishes - I've had years of great use out of my pyrex dishes, but my lids are now beginning to fail in various ways. Other than the lid failure, I couldn't be happier with them.

I'm sure I saw someone post that they'd bought replacement lids for theirs, might be an option for you?
Thanks for the tip, seems like the easiest way to go!
Amazon sells them. I think I searched for Pyrex replacement lids when I bought mine.
I've bought replacement lids on Amazon for my Pyrex containers.  SO worth it!  I love my Pyrex containers. 

I also bought a few plastic lids for mason jars.  The seal isn't perfect, but they're great for small amounts of leftovers.

For mason jars, you can get one-piece stainless lids w/silicone seals - they're lovely.

4alpacas

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #45 on: December 10, 2018, 01:36:10 PM »
I see a lot of people talking about the glass Pyrex dishes - I've had years of great use out of my pyrex dishes, but my lids are now beginning to fail in various ways. Other than the lid failure, I couldn't be happier with them.

I'm sure I saw someone post that they'd bought replacement lids for theirs, might be an option for you?
Thanks for the tip, seems like the easiest way to go!
Amazon sells them. I think I searched for Pyrex replacement lids when I bought mine.
I've bought replacement lids on Amazon for my Pyrex containers.  SO worth it!  I love my Pyrex containers. 

I also bought a few plastic lids for mason jars.  The seal isn't perfect, but they're great for small amounts of leftovers.

For mason jars, you can get one-piece stainless lids w/silicone seals - they're lovely.
Thank you!  When my plastic lids wear out, I know what I'm buying next.  I've added them to my Amazon wishlist, so I remember in a few years.

Chris22

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #46 on: December 10, 2018, 04:20:35 PM »
I've got an LL Bean lunchbag.  My wife bought it for me for father's day or something after my last bag (Built, I think) started falling apart.  From past experience with LL Bean products, I figure I'll have it for at least 10 years, so it cost $2/yr at most, I'm okay with that. 

Icecreamarsenal

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #47 on: December 16, 2018, 08:37:31 AM »
I have almost all of the things the NYT article mentioned (not those particular brands per se) and I don't think it's ridiculous.
The lunchbox has my spork, mouthwash, toothbrush and toothpaste.  This does double duty for overnight camping trips.
I bring my soup/stew in an ll bean soup container and there're no spills.  This does no double duty.
Water bottle I rarely bring because it's heavy when filled with water but sometimes I do.  This does double duty for jiu jitsu and gym days.
No lunch bag from baggu but that's cuz my kitchen cabinets are filled with those free canvas totes that you get from conferences and such.

I wouldn't say they're "investments" but it makes my lunches predictable and easy.  As I get closer to FIRE, I can't say that it was a huge help to save money in this regard compared to the mortgage and car payments, but it definitely helped.
The ease of having a lunch set and routine led to consistency.  In the past 5 years I've spent less than $50 on lunch, about $10/year, or one slip/forgotten lunch bag per year.

YMMV

Icecreamarsenal

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #48 on: December 16, 2018, 08:39:29 AM »
I've got an LL Bean lunchbag.  My wife bought it for me for father's day or something after my last bag (Built, I think) started falling apart.  From past experience with LL Bean products, I figure I'll have it for at least 10 years, so it cost $2/yr at most, I'm okay with that. 

They have an unlimited warranty.

Just Joe

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Re: NYT: 5 Cheap(ish) Things To Help You Start Packing Your Lunch
« Reply #49 on: December 16, 2018, 09:11:05 AM »
Are you sure? I heard something a while back on NPR I think where LL Bean had to change their warranty b/c some people were abusing it.