When’s the last time you brought your own lunch somewhere? You probably shoved a brown paper bag into your backpack and hoped it didn’t rip–or maybe your metal Batman lunch box protected your food from the forces of evil.
These days you probably aren’t eating lunch at a big cafeteria table with your friends before heading to recess (if only), but as an adult there are plenty of reasons to bring your own lunch to work in a lunch box. Maybe you’ve resolved to eat healthier (or you’re trying to hit your macros), and it’s easier to make something nourishing at home than to find good options near the office. Maybe you’re trying to stick to a budget–those $14 sad desk salads add up quickly. Or maybe you just want to enjoy a home cooked meal between meetings.
Your tastes have probably matured since the last time you brown bagged it; so have the containers. There are any number of sleek, handsome, attractive bags and boxes to carry your lunch in, from insulated fabric totes to modern bento boxes and minimalist glass containers. So pick one up, pack it up with your favorite eats, and don’t forget the snacks. That 3pm slump hits hard.
Fluf Zipper Lunch Bag, $29
Designed with a water-resistant lining for easy cleaning, the entire bag is machine washable in case of big spills. The interior pocket is perfect for a water bottle or ice pack.
W&P Porter Ceramic Lunch Bowl with Lid and Ceramic Strap, $40
A smart recommendation from Primer reader and frequent commenter Browneagle44: “A great-looking lunch doesn't have to stop at the bag, either. I really love Porter's lunch bowl, and it would look great with any of the bags mentioned.”
Black Neoprene Lunch Tote, $13
Thick, durable neoprene keeps cold food cold and hot food hot, but collapses to almost nothing when empty.
Waxed Canvas Lunch Bag, $16
A clever nod to the traditional brown bag, this canvas tote has throwback style–but its heavy-duty insulated walls won’t rip if you merely think about packing a banana for lunch.
Waxed Canvas Insulated Lunch Bag, $34
With a leather buckle closure, this waxed canvas bag says “I’m a professional adult” even if the contents are a PBJ and some Doritos. Nobody has to know.
Stanley Classic Stainless Steel Lunchbox, $45
This stainless steel vintage inspired lunchbox is one of the toughest ones on our list. No flismy zippers here, just durable steel latches and hinges, and 10-quarts of space for a hearty lunch, snacks, and a thermos or water bottle.
Fulton Bag Co. Upright Lunch Bag, $15
A bold plaid pattern stands out in the often-crowded office fridge, and the space-saving, crush-resistant design will protect its precious cargo.
Rockland Guard – Insulated Meal Prep Bag Cooler, $23
With plenty of space for lunch, snacks, and pre- and post-workout drinks, this is a meal preppers BFF. It’ll do everything except spot you on the bench, broseph.
Bentgo Fresh, $30
If you like an assortment of foods but hate when they all get mixed together, you need a bento box. Split into separate compartments (including a removable divider), this simple box is leak-proof and surprisingly roomy.
BRIGENIUS Bento Box, $25
Not into plastic? No problem. This flexible, microwavable box is made from wheat fiber, and includes two neatly stored utensils. Note: due to the material, this box is best for dry foods vs. soups or thin liquids.
Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers 3 Compartment, $35
These glass containers are oven, dishwasher, and microwave safe, so they’re easy to care for. Plus, they’re pre-divided into 3 compartments, making it easy to control portions and prevent your broccoli from touching your chicken (if that’s a problem). The included cutlery snaps neatly into the lid for easy transport.
YETI Daytrip Packable Lunch Bag, $80
The brand behind your favorite cooler also makes lunch bags. This one’s insulated (keeps soups hot and yogurt parfaits cool), and folds up small for storage.
Goodful Stackable Lunchbox Container, $12
Food-wise, few things are more disappointing than a soggy salad. Instead of making yours in the morning (and letting it slowly get sadder and slimier as the day goes by), use this container to separate your greens from your proteins, toppings, and dressings, then combine everything right before eating for the crispiest, most delicious results.
Oniva Portable Backpack Cooler, $53
A common tote design is reliable choice for an insulated portable cooler, but this backpack is a game changer. The insulated, water resistant interior lets you pack in the ice so you can keep your drinks ice cold and snacks cool and fresh for hours. Tested to hold up to 30 cans, and with an attached bottle opener, you'll have one less thing to remember to pack.
Carhartt Unisex Vertical Lunch Cooler w/Water Bottle, $30
If you’re tough on your stuff, you need a heavy-duty lunch bag that can take a lot (as well as hold a lot). This insulated, water repellant tote can hold a six-pack, and keeps food and drinks cold for at least 12 hours.
L.L.Bean Soft Pack Lunch Cooler, $40
Made with a leak-proof, easy to clean lining and durable ripstop fabric, this cooler has a flip-top lid that stays open and five roomy pockets to hold condiments, utensils, and anything else you might need for optimal lunching.
Bento Box Lunch Box with Insulated Bag and Utensils, $34
For days when you feel like mixing things up, the bento style lunch box is a great way to enjoy several of your favorite cravings. Each container comes with a separate lid, and the insulated technology means even temperatures for hot and cold dishes.
L.L. Bean Waxed Canvas Tote, $70
An outdoorsy tote is an attractive choice, even if you’re not “totes outdoorsy”. Handsome in waxed canvas, with an insulated, leak-proof lining, this heritage-inspired bag has an expandable top section for emergency snacks.
Fjällräven Kånken Mini Cooler, $50
Perfectly coordinated with Fjallraven’s iconic backpack, this petite tote is just the spot to stash your lunch or some drinks for a cookout. It unzips around three sides for ease of packing/unpacking.