Lunch containers for adults don’t have to be boring. In fact they can be an essential part of packing a healthier and more appetizing noon meal.
- Lunch Is Important Too!
- How Your Noon Meal Affects Your Afternoon
- How To Plan Healthier Lunches
- Food & Menu Ideas For Healthy Lunches
- Lunch Containers for Adults
Lunch Is Important Too!
You’ve heard a million times that you shouldn’t skip breakfast. That’s true, but lunch is another meal you shouldn’t skip or skimp on. Whether you’re at work or play, it can make a big difference in how well you’re able to perform and how much you enjoy your day.
Have you given much thought to your lunch lately? Are you making good choices or stuck in a not-so-healthy rut? Do you enjoy your noon meals, or are they filling but boring?
More importantly, how do you feel every day after lunch? We all know that healthy meals are good for overall health, but your lunch can also have a direct impact on your energy and mood all afternoon.
Below I cover all the details about that and much more – how foods affect you, the three main components of a healthy lunch, and some ideas for putting together nutritional noon meals that taste great.
Whatever your eating habits, packing a lunch is a lot easier when you have the right food containers. You might even eat healthier if you had containers that allow you to take a wider variety of both hot and cold foods.
Besides that, you don’t have to be a kid to appreciate a great lunch box. If you’re already a super healthy eater then skip right down to my personal picks for great lunch containers for adults<. You’re bound to find at least one that your inner child will love.
But first, a few important facts and ideas.
How Your Noon Meal Affects Your Afternoon
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that what you eat for lunch impacts how you feel and function during the afternoon. Depending on what you eat, some of the negative effects you may experience include:
- lack of energy and/or enthusiasm
- feeling distracted because you’re still hungry
- feeling sluggish from overeating or from eating certain foods
- mood swings
- impaired cognitive function
Affects on your cognitive function can include a wide range of problems such as your attention span or the time it takes you to process information and react. You may even find it more difficult to get organized, make plans, or solve problems.
Of course it follows that the opposite is true. Eating better can make you feel better. So what exactly does “eating better” mean?
How To Plan Healthier Lunches
There are three aspects of a healthy lunch: nutrition, portion size, and individual body chemistry.
NUTRITION: Here are some tips for packing a nutritious lunch:
- Start with a serving of protein. It will help satisfy your hunger and will give you energy that lasts through the afternoon.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates. “Empty calorie” foods and those with high sugar content tend to give you a great burst of energy that is very short lived, and then you have a crash that leaves you feeling worse than before you ate.
- Do include complex carbs because they help give you the kind of energy that has some staying power.
- Add a moderate amount of healthy fats. They are essential for helping you absorb nutrients, and they’re good for your brain. Good fats also help you feel full longer and maintain your energy level.
- Make sure you stay hydrated with plenty of water or beverages that aren’t overloaded with sugar. If you work in the heat you may also need a beverage that replaces your electrolytes. Just beware of sports drinks with excessive salt. My personal favorite is Body Armor Lyte because it’s all natural with no added sugar.
PORTION SIZE: This aspect is harder for most of us. One problem is that we’re accustomed to the gigantic servings we get at restaurants and fast food establishments. Another problem for us boomers is that we were raised to never waste food, and always “clean your plate”. Put those two together and you’re doomed.
If you aren’t sure about proper portion sizes, I’ve written an entire article with all the answers. See 5 Portion Control Tips – Easy Ways to Eat Healthier. It’s a fairly quick read, and you’ll learn how much is enough vs. too much. You’ll also see a “hand guide” that makes it super easy to determine portion size any time, anywhere.
YOUR BODY CHEMISTRY: Some things are personal, and that includes food. In this instance you need to know your body and listen to it.
The most common example is that certain foods just don’t agree with us. That varies from person to person, and most often we don’t know the reason why. What gives you indigestion or heartburn? What leaves you feeling a little nauseated, or sends you on an urgent trip to the bathroom?
Pay attention to any foods that have an adverse affect on you in any way. You may be more sensitive to sugary foods. I may be more sensitive to hot spices. Start noticing the relation between what you eat for lunch and how you feel afterward.
Some things are obvious such as very greasy foods. They aren’t good for you and are hard to digest, which can leave you feeling sluggish or sleepy. Other effects can be more subtle. You might want to keep a diary or jot notes on your phone. Over time you’ll begin to see what foods work best for you and which ones to avoid.
Food & Menu Ideas For Healthy Lunches
As always the web is a wealth of information. Here are a few sites I found that are practical and helpful:
- Easy Lunch Ideas: How to Pack a Healthy Lunch Box for Adults
There’s lots of information here. They offer great food ideas plus a “box” method that makes it easy to determine good portion sizes for each type of food you’re packing.
- Healthy Lunch Ideas for Packing School or Work Lunches
I love the visuals here. Get ideas quickly just by scrolling down to see the photos. There is also a list of healthy protein sources and some tips if you’re packing lunches for kids.
- 41 Healthy Lunch Ideas
If you’d like to get more creative check out these healthy lunch recipes. Great for a change of pace, it includes wraps, salads, Budda bowls, and unique dishes like Sesame Soba Noodles (which looks delicious!).
- Then, of course, there is Pinterest. You’ll find more ideas there than you can use in a lifetime.
Now, the only other question is … what are you going to pack that healthy lunch in?
Lunch Containers for Adults
Actually, these containers could also be ideal for college kids, older teens, and even some middle school kids. One group that comes to mind are young athletes. I know that those in my family are super conscious of what they eat, whether they are eating for maximum energy levels or support muscle and bone growth. The container selection below includes items suitable for a variety of needs.
Lunch Containers with Dividers
- Sleek, sophisticated design; free of BPA, vinyl, lead, and PVC
- Optional divider can be removed to create 1 large and 2 smaller compartments
- Removable tray has beveled feet on bottom and is microwave friendly
Also from Bentgo, this lunch box lets you create either 3 or 4 compartments so you can portion food your way. The design is attractive and professional looking which makes it a nice choice for executives and offices with more formal settings.
Leading brand. Available in dark gray (shown above), white, navy, and muted shades of orchid and mint green.
- One 2-cup container and one divided container that holds 3/4 cup on each side
- Includes built-in plastic utensil set
- Freezer safe; Microwave and dishwasher safe except for center divider
A sealing strap (not shown in above photo) is included to keep container secure. You can use both trays with the center divider, or for smaller meals use only one tray. Another nice feature is that the trays nest for more compact storage. Be aware, however, that this container is not leak resistant so it isn’t a good choice for liquid or very juicy foods.
Top seller on Amazon. Available in 8 colors.
- Set of 4 containers measuring 6.6″ by 6″ by 2″ high
- Safe for microwave, freezer, and dishwasher
- Stackable for storage in cabinet or fridge
This is just a very basic snack box set, but it’s a huge bestseller on Amazon. Whether for kids heading to school or adults off to work, these containers are the perfect size for packing healthy snack foods in proper portions.
A long time favorite of thousands of folks. Available in a variety of other colors (both lids and containers).
Salad & Meal Prep Containers
- Holds a meal-size salad plus dressing and toppings
- Leak proof design; made of BPA free plastic
- Measures 6.9″ x 6.9″ x 3.9″ tall
When salad is on the menu this is the perfect container. Its upper tray lets you keep toppings separate until time to eat. Dry foods stay crispy and wet foods don’t make your greens soggy. Another bonus is that the container is microwave safe, freezer safe, and dishwasher safe on the top rack.
Amazon top seller. Available in several colors, and with or without an ice pack.
NOTE: This lunch container also comes in an XL size that measures 6.5″ x 9.3″ x 3.9″ high. Click here to see the XL size on Amazon.
- Set of 10 airtight glass food storage/meal prep containers with lids
- Includes five 34-ounce containers and five 12-ounce containers
- Freezer safe; dishwasher safe (lids on top rack); oven and microwave safe (glass containers only)
If you prefer glass containers, thousands of customers love these. Of course they’re great for home food storage, but they’re also good if you have a fridge at work. Pack the night before with soup, stew, meat entrees, or leftovers, keep in your work fridge till noon and then microwave. Saves you valuable time in the morning when you’re rushing to get to work.
Amazon top seller. Available in 5 colors (the lids) and a multi-color set.
- 30 Pack of reusable round plastic containers with leak proof lids
- 100% food safe; free of BPA, PVC, and Phthalate materials
- Freezer and top-rack dishwasher safe; microwave safe up to 800 Watts
These are very basic but could be a good choice for anyone packing multiple lunches every day. Clear lids make it easy to grab the right lunch when you’re in a hurry. Customers love these for lunch and many other uses, but be aware that the plastic is not heavy duty. If you want a very sturdy container these may not be for you.
Amazon top seller. In addition to 30-pack, also available in packs of 10, 50, or 60 containers.
Insulated Lunch Containers for Adults
- Insulated – stainless steel, double wall construction
- 16 ounce capacity with wide mouth opening
- Leak-proof, screw-on lid with handle
This container will certainly keep foods such as yogurt cold, but its size makes it ideal for hot foods. Use it for soup, stew, pasta, or leftovers.
Amazon Top Seller – Available in 7 colors.
- Insulated, double wall, stainless steel with wide mouth opening
- Two sizes available: 13.5 oz or 16 oz
- Includes foldable stainless steel spoon
Keep your food hot for up to 7 hours or cold for up to 10 hours. The cap screws on and is leak proof. This one is good if you need a more compact size – the 13.5 ounce container measures 3.3″ wide by 4.5″ high.
Available in 16 colors.
- 21.2 ounce capacity with wide opening
- Built-in snack compartment for crackers, nuts, other dry foods
- Includes retractable fork and spoon
Note that the container lid is leak proof, but the snack container is not leak proof because it is intended for dry foods only. It can also be used to store the collapsible utensils.
Leading brand and top seller at Amazon. Available in slate blue, blush, gray, and khaki green.
Stylish Lunch Bags for Adults
Finally, what if you’re looking for something a little more exciting than a basic container? Grownups can have cool lunch boxes too!
Below are some the top sellers on Amazon for both women and men. Most are available in other colors or patterns than what is shown, so be sure to click through to see all the options.
You’ll also find some photos and illustrations that will give you a better idea of the size and number of containers each bag will hold. One bag, the navy polka-dot, actually includes its own matching tumbler and two nice sized food containers.
- Compact size measures 11.5″ by 6.5″ by 8.2″
- Can hold two 8″x5″x2″ containers plus one 8″x6″x2″ container plus 3 cans of soda
- Exterior is canvas with waterproof coating; interior EVA lining padded for extra insulation and protection
- Keeps food warm up to 6 hours
- Metal zipper; dual handles; 1 main zipper compartment and exterior front pocket
- Also available in black embroidery, gray, dark pink, and another very pretty pattern in shades of bright pink
- Measures 10.6″ long by 7.28″ wide by 7.87″ tall
- 15 Liter capacity provides ample room for large lunches, drinks, and irregular shaped items
- Insulated exterior front pocket; large exterior back pocket; 2 mesh pockets on outside; interior mesh pocket on cover of bag
- 100% leakproof; insulated for keeping foods cold or hot
- Folds flat for storage; reinforced skeleton makes it stand up straight even after being folded
- Available in several colors and also in larger two-layer or three-layer sizes
- Measures 10.8″ x 6.3″ x 8.85″ with capacity of approximately 16 cans of soda
- Ample room for containers in a variety of sizes
- Leak resistant; insulated for hot or cold foods
- Easy to clean water-proof fabric
- Zipper front pocket; side mesh pocket
- Available in 7 colors or prints; also available in a larger size
- Measures 10.5″ long by 6.5″ wide by 10″ high; internal capacity up to 12 cans soda
- Strong dual zipper; wired sides to keep bag open for loading and unloading
- Large front pocket; side mesh pockets
- Easy to clean interior lining; insulated for hot or cold foods
- Exterior is Oxford cloth, waterproof and resistant to wear
- Available in a variety of solid colors and 1 pattern; also available in a larger size
- Large capacity measures approximately 10″ long by 5″ wide by 10″ tall
- Leakproof and waterproof; exterior fabric waterproof and resistant to wear and dirt
- Open front pocket; zipper back pocket;
- Thermal insulation to keep food cold or hot for up to 4 to 6 hours
- Available in 12 other very nice prints and solid colors
- Measures 14″ by 7″ by 10″ tall
- Includes matching tumbler with straw, one 2-cup container, and one 1-cup container
- Has large top zipper compartment, long straps, and exterior bottle holder
- Leakproof, water resistant, and rates high for being sturdy, durable, and easy to clean
- Also available in Gray Stripes and Luxe Cheetah patterns
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