The Paper Bag Lunch Gets an Upgrade

Image courtesy of Built

Image courtesy of Built

Budget-friendly lunches used to mean a squished PB&J sandwich and an apple stuffed into a paper bag (at least for me).  But, oh, how times have changed.  Lunch boxes for adults no longer smack of paper or resemble mini, mono-color coolers.  From vintage metal boxes to stylish eco-friendly bags, the options are endless.

Lately I’ve been getting compliments from co-workers on my Built Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote.  Made from Neoprene sans vinyl or PVC, my lunch-carrying companion makes me eager to fill it up with homemade leftovers and goodies.  The French Bull Vine design is fun and the Raspberry Sorbet-colored interior makes it all the more sassy.  Plus I seriously pack the tote to the brim, so the fact that it has been able to withstand a lot of weight and still retain its shape and seam strength is a definite plus.

Since an eco-friendly lunch box isn’t truly sustainable unless you take into account what goes into it, here are some of my favorite lunchtime accessories that make all my lunches earth-and-budget friendly:

Image courtesy of EarthLust

Image courtesy of EarthLust

Ok, so I know I only need one, but I absolutely love reusable water bottles.  The two that I own are made by Sigg and EarthLust.  My Sigg bottle design is energizing, while my EarthLust bottle helps get me in a Zen state.  Both are easy to wash [Hint: use a specially-designated toothbrush to clean deep inside] and help you meet your daily agua quota easily and in style.  I fill them with juice, iced tea, water – you name it.  However, I don’t recommend pouring in hot beverages unless they are lukewarm – these bottles are amazing at retaining temperature.

Image courtesy of To-Go Ware

Image courtesy of To-Go Ware

To avoid sending plastic utensils that come with takeout dishes or are available in the office kitchen to landfills, bring along a cutlery set from To-Go Ware.  My utensil set of choice is made by CONSERVE, an NGO project in Delhi that employs ragpickers to collect discarded plastic bags and repurpose them into incredible designs and products.  The set comes with a fork, knife, spoon and chopsticks made from sustainable bamboo – good for the plate and planet!

Image courtesy of The Container Store

Image courtesy of The Container Store

And to pack my leftovers or organic lunches, I use glass containers from The Container Store.  The glass doesn’t leech any harmful chemicals when heated up and is microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe.  The selection of sizes makes it easy to pack everything from a side dish to a sub sandwich.

For some great eco-conscious lunch ideas, check out Whole Foods’ “The Whole Deal” Newsletter.  From weekly lunch ideas for one person to Bento Box suggestions, the issues are full of healthy meals that won’t weigh you (or your wallet) down.  I also frequently make the Working Girl meals outlined in Sophie Uliano’s “Gorgeously Green Diet” book.

So go and assemble your eco-friendly lunch box!  Bringing your lunch to work (or school) has never tasted so good.

Speak Your Mind

*