If packing your lunch brings up bad memories of soggy sandwiches and lackluster cuisine, we're here to encourage you to try again — and with the proper lunch-packing accessories.
Packing your lunch is typically cheaper than eating out, but that doesn't have to mean it's less satisfying.
A 2015 survey showed that the average American spent $53 per week, or $2,746 annually — just on lunch. The same survey showed that Americans spend more than $11 on average per lunch, versus $6.30 they'd spend if they brought lunch from home.
If you're looking to save on your lunch bill and still feel excited about your midday meal, we'd recommend investing in reusable lunch items that'll up your lunch game. Below, we rounded up some innovative products to enhance your packed lunch experience.
Note: The prices below reflect the listed retailer's price on the date this article was published.
PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag ($24.37; amazon.com)
This compact lunch carrier, available in several different prints, patterns and colors, is a lifesaver for the on-the-go person who wants to keep a packed lunch cold.
This nifty bag can be folded to fit into your freezer. Featuring PackIt's patented cooling technology, this bag has a gel in its lining that freezes after being left in the freezer for 12 hours. So you can put this bag into the freezer before going to bed and grab it in the morning. If it's been in the freezer long enough, the bag will be completely frozen and ready to keep food and drinks cold for hours.
Still not sold? Don't just take our word for it. More than 3,000 Amazon customers reviewed this bag and rated it a 4 out of 5-star product.
Savor the Scenery Glass Container Set ($39.99; modcloth.com)
We all know that plastic wears out faster than glass. It just does. After a few uses, plastic containers become harder to clean. But also, according to one study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, even BPA-free plastic can leak chemicals that act like the sex hormone estrogen. We prefer to use glassware whenever we can.
The print on these pretty bowls, available from Modcloth, made us smile when we found them online. And, since they can hold 16 ounces of food, you can pack a generous portion — and a bit of added pizazz from the floral pattern — with your lunch.
Thermos Funtainer Food Jar ($14.99; amazon.com)
We love the idea of taking soup to work for lunch. But spilled soup in our lunch bag? Not so much. This "Funtainer" from Thermos keeps liquids and food contained (and hot!) so that you can toss it in your bag without worrying about it leaking. Using the Thermos vacuum insulation technology made from stainless steel, this food jar keeps food and liquids hot for up to five hours and cold for up to seven. Available in a variety of different colors and patterns --and including many popular cartoon and superhero characters -- there's a Funtainer to suit every age group and personal preference. With over 3,000 Amazon reviews and a 4.4 out of 5-star rating, this product should be worth every penny.
OmieBox Bento Lunch Box with Insulated Thermos ($39.50; amazon.com)
This bento box from OmieBox is thermal insulated, with two temperature zones so it can store hot and cold foods at the same time.
How it works: Inside, there's an integrated stainless steel vacuum thermos food jar that holds hot foods and keeps the heat away from the rest of the box. This feature is removable so that you can pack a sandwich instead on a given day if you'd prefer. The thermos food jar keeps foods hot for up to three hours.
Each bento box has three separate leakproof compartments. It's available in three cheerful colors, and got hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon.
Kate Spade New York Lunch Tote ($30; amazon.com)
We already love Kate Spade for the line's fashionable wardrobe pieces and accessories. And now, here's a more sophisticated take on the lunch bag. It reads "Out to Lunch" on the front, in simple text that's chic without being overdone. This bag is insulated so your food will stay cold during your morning commute as you go about your day in style.
S'well Water Bottle (starting at $35; nordstrom.com)
And last, but not least: the S'well water bottle. These bottles have a sleek design and come in a variety of different colors and sizes. The double-walled, stainless steel shell keeps water and drinks cold for up to 24 hours, and hot drinks hot for up to 12. The mouth on the bottle is wide enough that you can insert ice into your beverage. And, to top it off, S'well donates a portion of the proceeds from each water bottle to UNICEF, which works to provide clean drinking water to children around the world. With that many pros to this product, it's almost silly to not invest.