Most employed people and students usually spend their lunch time outside. Carrying a lunch box with you all day can be tiring and annoying if you travel a lot like me. The good news is that there are multiple effective alternatives to a lunchbox. If you’re looking for substitutes to use instead of lunch boxes, you’ve come to the right place!
Instead of a lunch box, you can use silicone sandwich bags, reusable containers, lunch wraps, Ziploc bags, or have some take-out food. They offer the same purpose as lunch boxes and you save space, time, and effort.
Read further in this article as I discuss all alternative options in detail and how you can best manage your lunch routine using these alternatives. So without further delay, let’s dig in!
5 Best Lunch Box Alternatives To Keep You and Your Children Happy and Healthy
Finding alternatives to something that has been part of your life for a long time can be difficult. However, in this modern day and age, lunch boxes take up space, are difficult to carry along (sometimes), and take up too much effort from your side. This may make you wonder – “how do I carry my lunch to work?”.
People want to be free from any baggage on their shoulders. Walking around without carrying a large bag or a lunch box is liberating.
Although there can be various alternatives to a lunch box, some of them might not be too effective. So, what can I use instead of a lunchbox? Here are five of the best alternative options you can choose from.
1. Silicone Sandwich bags
Sandwiches are one of the most popular food choices for lunch in many parts of the world, especially for students or working people. In fact, a study found that 94% of people eat a sandwich for lunch.
I don’t doubt that. They are compact and delicious and give us the energy needed to function for the rest of the day.
You also might be a sandwich fan like me. The good news is that you and I can use reusable silicone bags available in the market to store and carry our sandwiches anywhere we want!
They save up a lot of space as silicone bags are easily stored in a bag.
Moreover, you can compress them once you’ve had your lunch to be even more space efficient, and they can also be cleaned easily by a wet wipe or water if needed.
Silicone bags are also cheap to purchase, so you won’t have to worry too much about losing them.
Since they are cheap, you can purchase them in multiple units to save even more time, or you can buy one for each family member to stay organized and neat.
If you choose this alternative, visit the Stasher’s store. A popular brand of silicone bags.
2. Lunch Wraps
Another effective alternative that you can opt for while searching for lunch box substitutes is the lunch wrap.
A popular choice in this category is the reusable lunch wrap by Bee (available at Amazon.com).
These wraps are made from organic cotton and infused with beeswax and tree resin which helps to keep your food and snacks healthy and also acts as a natural way to ward off any bacteria from your food.
You can buy Bees reusable lunch wraps in packs of 6. The product is elegantly designed, and you can easily store your wrapped lunch in your bag. In case the wrap gets dirty from a sauce or anything, all you need to do is to wash the wrap and air dry it to make it as good as new!
3. Reusable Containers/Tupperware
Perhaps the most simple and easy way to substitute your lunchboxes is to use Tupperware or reusable containers in your home.
Small airtight boxes that can virtually fit in any bag or even a purse are perfect storage spaces for items like sandwiches, salads, chicken chunks, etc.
Tupperware is cheap, sturdy, and available in the market with a wide variety. You can find an article that matches all your requirements after just scouring the market once or twice, and that too at a very reasonable rate.
4. Ziploc Bags
Another example of a lunch box alternative straight out of your kitchen is using a Ziploc bag to store and carry your food around for the day.
Again Ziploc bags are perfect for sandwiches and other solid snacks. However, you may need to resort to other methods if you fancy salads, etc., for lunch.
Ziploc bags are highly popular and can be found in virtually any market or shop. They come in different sizes, so you can find one that best serves your purpose and buy a whole packet that will be more economical for you.
These bags feature an airtight seal on one side to keep your food fresh for whenever you feel like eating it. You can also use multiple Ziploc bags at once. For example, one bag could carry your utensils while another can take your favorite sauce, etc.
However, Ziploc bags are not reusable in most cases, and you will have to throw the bag out once you have finished your lunch. This can also be a good thing for you if you don’t like carrying bags etc., with you all day.
5. Take Out Food
An interesting alternative that may not entirely fall into the substitute category but still is a popular way people use is not to carry lunch from your home at all!
Now, this may sound weird right now but just read ahead to find out why it is such a feasible option.
You can have take out food like sub sandwiches. They are healthy, nutritious, and satisfy your hunger. This method may be suitable for you if you work in offices or places like downtown, where many options are available to choose from.
Ordering your lunch food will cost you a few bucks but will save you meal prep time, cleaning and organizing storage methods, and carrying a bag. This option is also useful for living in studio apartments with no proper kitchen to cook their own food.
You might be one of those people who will spend a few bucks to save time and effort, and take-out food like sub sandwiches are just the thing for you. You know what they say, time is money!
Benefits of Using a Conventional Lunchbox
Now although you’re looking for alternatives to lunchboxes, there are a few reasons why they’re a standard and children love using them.
1. Food Stays Warm
Firstly, a lunch box will not only carry your food but also keep it warm. If you have lunch in places where a microwave or other heating sources are unavailable, a lunch box will come in handy as its insulation properties help keep food warm and cozy for you.
If you decide to use an alternative, such as a Ziploc bag, you may have to settle with eating a cold meal for lunch.
2. No Leakage
If you pack a lunch with liquids in it, your substitute may leak and spill the contents all over your possessions. For example, if you carry a reusable lunch wrap with you in your bag and it gets squished against something, there is a chance of your sandwich sauce leaking and ruining your bag and your stuff.
Moreover, sometimes you don’t realize that you’ve spilled the contents of your lunch in your bag, etc. while pulling it out or setting it in. The dropped pieces may get lodged into a nook or cranny of your bag and begin to rot, leaving a foul odor in your bag that will take weeks to take out completely.
Using a lunch box to carry your lunch eliminates this risk as, firstly, there are no places for food pieces to get stuck in the simplistic square design, and secondly, the inner material of a lunch box is such that spills and droppings can be cleaned up quite easily.
3. Endless Designs
This is primarily applicable to children. One key reason why children love lunchboxes is because of the cool and trendy designs that come along with them. You can find Marvel designs and Pokemon animations on a lunch box.
You won’t find many designs for lunch box alternatives. However, if you like the simplicity, you can also opt for a simple lunch box or an alternative.
Conclusion: Is It Possible To Replace A “Lunch Box” With Other Good Options?
Technically, you can replace a lunch box with other great options such as silicone sandwich bags, lunch wraps, reusable containers, and Ziploc bags among various other options.
These alternatives are great for easy-to-prep “cold” food such as sandwiches, fruits, granola bars, or salads. However, hot or any soup-based meals should be avoided as you run the risk of spilling or leaking.
In the end, both the conventional lunch box and all its substitutes and alternatives have their pros and cons. It depends on your preference and lifestyle whether you carry your lunch in a lunchbox or use other ways.
It is good to know multiple ways, so you can adapt, improvise and overcome situations where you are stuck with limited options and resources.
Other interesting alternatives
- Shelterness: 8 DIY Lunch Boxes For Kids And Adults
As the founder of Container FAQs, my goal is to provide readers with in-depth information on the containers used in daily life and related subjects. Don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have any suggestions for articles you would like to see on my blog.