In the spirit of the back-to-school season, this week we highlight a few products to help keep you organized and productive as you resume your routine.
With a national obesity epidemic and failing economy, now is the time to go healthier and cheaper by bringing your own lunch to school or work. Avoid brown bag blues by upgrading to containers with better design and more style. The following are a few lunch boxes and accessories to help keep your food and drink hot, cold, protected, separated and fresh.
Plastica Bento Box
For foodies or the motivated, lunch can consist of many different ingredients and components. For meals more complex than PB & J, a lunch box with compartments separating different parts of the meal so that odor and taste don't mix is essential. We like thePlastica Bento Box for this purpose. A stackable, color-coordinated series of boxes, it's securely held together by a wrap around latch. Available in a mix of different colors for $38 from Plastica.
Perfect for soup or a hot beverage, this Swiss-made Sigg Thermos is fashioned from high-grade stainless steel so it doesn't leach, maintains neutral taste and will never rust or tarnish. With durable construction, you can be rest assured that it won't leak in your bag or spill open if you drop it. More importantly, vacuum insulation keeps contents either hot or cold for eight hours or more. The top lid functions as an easy-to-drink cup for use anywhere. Available from Delight for $35.
Tiffin Lunch Box Set
These nesting lunch pails are the choice of the dabbawallas of India for good reason. The stackable containers are made of food-grade stainless steel and separate meats, veggies, soups and pickled goods from rice. Although the food is kept separate, the container itself is easily joined together for easy and secure transport. You might not be able to fit a square sandwich into these round containers but it's about time you mixed it up a bit. Available from Garret Wade for $52.
Light My Fire Spork
If you're going to carry one utensil to eat your food, it should provide all the necessary tools. This Amazon for $3.
V & A Thermos
The result of a collaboration between Wild & Wolf and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, these decorative thermoses feature old world prints by William Morris (Anemone pictured middle, Daisy pictured right). Great for hot liquids, cart your home-brewed coffee in style. Available from Wild & Wolf for £14. All proceeds benefit the museum.
For the minimalist and traditionalist we couldn't omit the original metal lunchbox. Made of metal with a silver finish, we're not so sure if it's the healthiest choice but it's undoubtedly a classic. Nice and shiny when new, it would look just as good, if not better, with a little wear and tear. Perfect for that sandwich, chips and fruit, it's available from Lunchboxes for $8.
Adult Lunch Cooler
The Cadillac of lunch boxes, the Adult Lunch Cooler might be more than what's necessary for daily and quick use, but for a sophisticated lunch box experience this is the way to go. A woven outer houses a roomy, insulated main compartment that's flanked by a flatware and salt and pepper compartment. Perhaps better suited for a picnic, it offers a complete dining experience including the napkin. Available for $30 from Keep Your Cooler.
Zojirushi Mr. Bento
It's rare that a packed lunch can be served warm without a microwave, but Amazon for $53.
Marimekko Kylmalaukku Soft Cooler
A lightweight cooler with insulation, we like the eye-catching strawberry print on the Kylmalaukku Cooler. An inner mesh pocket holds a cold pack to help keep lunches fresh. Even better, this one folds flat when not in use saving space for the trip back home. Available from Plastica for $55.
Novo Double Wall Porcelain Mug
For hot (or cold) beverages on the go, porcelain adds elegance to the daily commute. Double walled construction not only helps regulate the temperature of liquids but also keeps exterior surfaces cool. A rubber lid helps prevent splashing but we wouldn't recommend off-roading with them or anything. They're $20 each and will be available from Aladdin this fall.