Food & Drink Magazine

Packing Lunch To Go: A Few of My Favorite Things

By Yankeepants

Since fully committing to an anti-inflammatory way of eating two years ago, I pack my lunch to take to work almost every day.  As part of my goal of inflammation-free living, I like to pack my food in glass mason jars, which can go from refrigerator to microwave and are safer for reheating food in than plastic containers, which can leach phthalates and plasticizers into your food as they heat up.  These reusable, washable, plastic mason jar lids have been great, too. They don’t rust the way metal canning rings can when re-used, and they form a reliable, leak-proof seal.  I’ve found pint-sized mason jars to be a convenient way to pack everything from snacks to soups, to leftovers from last night’s dinner, to salad (I pack dressing in a separate 8-oz. jar).

Cooking up a batch of this soup on Sunday means a week's worth of ready-to-go lunches for work.

Cooking up a batch of soup on Sunday means a week’s worth of ready-to-go lunches for work.

For a long time, I used a simple, washable, canvas tote bag (free swag from a conference I had attended years ago) to carry my lunch. This was a decent option, but I grew to dislike the way the mason jars tipped over in the unstructured sack, bulging out and clanking against one another as I walked along.  Sometimes I would remember to pack a cloth napkin to minimize the clanking and rattling, but let’s just say I’m not at my best in the morning, so I needed a more foolproof solution.  Surely, I thought, someone on Etsy has already identified and solved this problem…

Mason jar tote from A Tiny Forest on Etsy.

Mason jar tote from A Tiny Forest on Etsy.

And someone had! A Tiny Forest offers pdf sewing patterns for mason jar-friendly lunch totes, or, if you’d rather buy something ready-made, a variety of  bags to accommodate a range of jar sizes.  I bought this cute lunch tote, which features two sewn-in cloth sleeves for pint-sized mason jars, and a cloth napkin made from the same fabric as the tote’s lining. There’s enough space to slip in flatware, extra snacks, and a water bottle (or my insulated coffee mug).  I’ve been using the lunch tote for about a month now, and it is just as functional as it is pretty.  By making it easier to bring my lunch to work every day, I also make it easier to stay on track with my healthful eating goals.

What do you do to make it easier for yourself to stay on track?


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