The Best and Worst Lunch Choices

Pack a healthy lunch, and save a little cash: Ditch these food-industry Frankenfoods.

By Jean Nick



The average lunch contains a staggering amount of single-use plastic packaging. And reusable plastic containers, inexpensive and unbreakable though they may be, may contain hormone-disrupting chemicals like phthalates and BPA that you'd rather not rub against your food.

Better: Stock up on 4- and 8-ounce mason jelly jars! They cost only a few cents more than similar-size plastic containers and are perfect for packing anything from applesauce to cubes of zucchini bread. They are as close to unbreakable as glass can get and use any standard canning lid—no more hunting through your cabinets for the right top. Stainless steel containers are another good and long-lasting alternative. Replace your zip-top bags with reusable versions that you can find on sites like, and fill those with dry snacks like nuts, crackers, grapes, and other grab-and-go lunchbox fillers. You'll saves lots of plastic packaging (and money) compared to prepackaged single servings. Add a nice reusable water bottle and perhaps a stainless thermos container for hot items, and you've got what it takes to start packing.