Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Packing Lunches (and Snacks)

my husband works somewhere around 60 hours a week, which translates into two meals a day out of the house, plus snacks. most of his coworkers eat out for those meals. this is mind blowing for me, because even at the cheapest options (such as a $5 footlong), it still is $10 a day, 5 days a week. $50 a week, $200 a get the idea. i have better ideas for the use of that money, personally. so we made the commitment for him to take lunch every day. not that Skyler minds - it is incredibly convenient for him, and i pack them.
we also made the decision to move away from plasticware for his lunches. they stained, smelled, leaked, were hard to clean. i don't know why i kept them around as long as i did. so around a year ago, we tossed all but a very few plastic dishes in the trash and invested in a collection of Pyrex containers. (we kept a very few tiny 3 ounce containers for things like nuts, dips, and dressings.) Skyler uses an insulated lunch box i picked up from Costco one day (he is only allowed to carry black, because he wears a uniform) and it's the size of a small cooler. it's large enough that i can pack a main dish (usually a helping of leftovers - a bowl of soup, salad with steak, roast, chicken and rice, etc.), a snack bar, a greek yogurt, carrots and peanut butter, freeze dried fruit, and trail mix. that is a lot of snacks, but he's out of the house for 11 or so hours a day and sometimes reaching into his lunchbox to grab and snack and run is all he has time for. thankfully, Sky has access to a fridge, so that isn't a concern for us. to drink, he has a big reusable bottle of water he refills several times throughout the day.
itty bitty plastic container. we have three - all that remain of the days of yester-plastic. please disregard the hard water spots. thanks.
i have two or three classes a week, and they are three hour lectures at night. right smack dab in the middle of dinner time. i always take a snack. nothing special - maybe some herby popcorn, fruit, or something more fun to share like cookies. (sharing those treats in class is also a good way for me to get to bake, indulge, and get those goodies out of the house!) so snacks aren't a big deal, i can simply toss whatever it is into my bag, grab a hot beverage (Starbucks and i are in a love-hate relationship. i love it. my wallet hates it.) and go about my learning. here's the thing though- i'm starting grad school soon and it'll involved a commute and many hours spent on campus. because of this, i will be packing my lunches/dinners too. (remember the adorable companion cube lunchbox!?) i'm pretty sure i won't have access to a fridge, and i'm also pretty sure i would prefer to not haul heavy glass containers around all dang day. i also am not expecting to have a microwave conveniently located. with this in mind, it's time for me to start collecting a different kind of lunch container that fits into our plastic free lunches (not totally plastic free - i still use baggies for some things).
then something happened. i came across Lunchbots. they are light, sturdy, perfectly sized, and have options for every need. there are a few downsides: the basic models are not leak proof, they are not microwaveable, and they are a little on the pricey side. Lunchbots addresses the issue with leaking by introducing a line of BPA free leak-proof lids, so you can reserve the basic models for dryer goods. the microwave thing isn't a big problem for me personally, since i'm not expecting access to a microwave. they also would be great for packing lunches for kids, since they're so friendly and there are so many sizes. there are even insulated containers to keep cool foods cool and warm foods warm.
inside of the Lunchbot Duo
outside of the Lunchbot Duo
 the price point is a point of a bit of contention, though. while i'm not necessarily able to purchase a large collection right off the bat, i feel it's worthwhile to slowly build my collection. first, the containers come with a great warranty. second, they last forever. third, they fulfill the requirements for me to pack my lunch/dinner/snack for the next...several...years several times a week. in the coming months, i hope to expand my collection of Lunchbots items so i may use them exclusively (and blog the whole way!) for my grad school eats. in time, i imagine our kiddies will use them through at least kindergarten and lower elementary ages too, as i do not approve of school lunches (that's a whole other post, no!?).


  1. i think so too! i recommend also checking out she uses them often and that is where i first heard about them.