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5 best tools to help you upgrade your lunch game, according to our editors

From bento boxes to salad spinners and everything in between

By Joy Saha

Published April 30, 2022 11:01AM (EDT)

Vegan cafe lunch at Vegan Cafe. Organic curry, alternative soy meat burger, tofu salad. (Getty Images/Yagi Studio)
Vegan cafe lunch at Vegan Cafe. Organic curry, alternative soy meat burger, tofu salad. (Getty Images/Yagi Studio)

Some say breakfast is the best meal of the day, while others turn their focus to dinner. This week at Salon Food, however, lunch takes home the top prize. We've been diving into essays, how-tos and recipes all about lunch. 

I know it's easy to dismiss lunch as an endless parade of sad desk salads and not-so-flavorful leftovers, but let's think about it. Lunch is really the perfect time to pair savory creations — whether it's a fancy fish sandwich or a three-ingredient broccoli cheese soup — with sweet treats like butterscotch pudding cups or chocolate-coated, date-filled peanut butter balls.

From dino nuggets, to classic PB&J, the possibilities are fun and endless.

Lunch foods are also quick to prepare and aesthetically pleasing, especially when packed in your favorite baggies and boxes. Best of all, lunch is arguably the one meal where you can feed your inner-child. From dino nuggets, to classic PB&J and vegetable crudités, the possibilities are fun and endless! 

To help make lunch easier to prepare and assemble, Salon's editorial team is sharing their favorite tools for whipping up an assortment of midday meals. From a collapsible salad spinner to a nonstick frying pan skillet, here are 5 tools for upgrading your lunch game: 

1. Sistema To Go Collection Bento Box

My home lunches are usually leftovers, random vegetable drawer dregs and a piece of chocolate. A bento box brings order to the chaos and makes lunch seem not like a messy potluck but rather intentional — and even fun. — Mary Elizabeth Williams, senior writer

Sistema To Go Collection Bento Box

 

Sistema To Go Collection Bento Box

BPA-free multi-compartment box for lunch and leftovers

Microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe. Comes with easy-locking clips and an extended flexible seal to help keep foods fresh.

Buy for $13.49

2. Silicone Fruit and Vegetable Shaped Savers

OK, I'll admit it: My fridge is a disorganized mess. Every day around lunchtime, like clockwork, I dig in there for sandwich ingredients only to find mysterious tinfoil-wrapped fruits and vegetables. Ever since I started using these silicone containers, I no longer find mushy half-chopped tomatoes and almost-rotten avocados hiding in the crisper drawer. — Jillian Kestenbaum, partnerships & engagement coordinator 

Silicone Fruit & Vegetable Shaped Savers

 

Silicone Fruit and Vegetable Shaped Savers

4-piece set perfect for keeping produce fresh

Durable design prevents cracking and allows for air-tight sealing. Reusable and washable.

Buy for $20.99

3. Prepworks by Progressive Collapsible Salad Spinner

In my quest to eat more greens without spending a lot of time actually washing greens, I've come to treasure my collapsible salad spinner. It takes up as much room as a Frisbee, but it does a bang-up job of keeping the grit out of my lunchtime soups and salads. — MEW 

Prepworks Collapsible Salad Spinner

 

Prepworks by Progressive Collapsible Salad Spinner

Dish-washer safe spinner also works as a serving bowl

Internal basket and external bowl collapses to almost half the expanded size for easy storage.

Buy for $19.99

4. GreenPan Ceramic Nonstick 8" Frying Pan Skillet

This nonstick pan is one of the most-used tools in my kitchen, especially for lunch. I use it for everything from reheating leftovers to making egg scrambles and quick grilled cheeses. Clean up is easy (it really is nonstick!) and lunch is that much more stress-free. — JK

GreenPan Nonstick 8

 

GreenPan Ceramic Nonstick 8" Frying Pan Skillet

Scratch-resistant pan with stainless steel handle

Ceramic pan that's free of lead and will never release toxic fumes, even when overheated.

Buy for $24.99

5. Tronco Stainless Steel Reusable Metal Straws

I like to feel like I'm eating out (even though I rarely get out for lunch). Hence, my metal straws. A metal straw in a tall, icy glass of iced tea or water brings a little restaurant civility to my desk. — MEW

Stainless Steel Reusable Metal Straws

 

Stainless Steel Reusable Metal Straws

100% BPA free straw set made from premium food-grade stainless steel

Comes with flexible, detachable silicone elbow tips that are easy to clean and safe to put in the dishwasher.

Buy for $9.98

Some of our favorite lunch recipes from the Salon Food archives: 

Salon Food writes about stuff we think you'll like. Salon has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


Joy Saha

Joy Saha is an editorial fellow at Salon, covering Culture. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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