lunch without garbage

so! i'm trying to reduce the amount of ziploc bags we go through, which admittedly isn't tons, but also admittedly could be about zero if we worked at it. whenever i go to campus for any length of time, i bring lunch along with me, and i usually use at least two ziploc bags each time: one for my sandwich, and one for crackers or something (to be dipped in hummus), and/or one for dessert, if it's cookies or something "loose" like that. now, i don't go to school all day very often (especially this past year, being on sabbatical), but still, even going a few times a week adds up to a bunch of garbage. my husband tends not to pack lunches for himself (he just packs them for me! score!), so it's really just me using all these bags.

i decided to buy a few reusable sandwich bags to give them a try. i ordered a pair of these lunchskins from 3 green moms, and i also ordered two snack taxi bags (one in the sandwich size, and one in the snack size). i haven't had a chance to try them out very thoroughly yet, but i'm working on it. my first impressions are pretty good, although i have a couple of general concerns. 

first is the dreaded jelly problem: i can't tell you the number of times i've pulled my pb&j out of my lunch bag and found that some jelly has seeped out of one side. not a ton, but just enough to get on the ziploc and be sticky. i'm not really looking forward to that happening in these new bags, because wiping up jelly everyday is kind of yucky. the couple of times i've used the bags already, i've made Extremely Neat Sandwiches with Very Careful Peanut Butter Boundaries, but let's get real because that's not always going to happen. well, and now that i think about it… sometimes the peanut butter seeps out the side, too, and that's not fun to clean up, either. meh.

second is the freshness issue. as my husband pointed out, velcro flaps don't really mean airtight, so i'm wondering if i'll ever end up with slightly stiff bread or mildly stale cookies. so far, so good, but only time will tell! 

if anyone has had experience with either of these bags, let me know how you like them… or if you have any specific cleaning tips. so far, i think i prefer the snackTaxi bags, because they're more flexible, and therefore easier to quickly turn inside out and back again. then again, the velcro strip is wider on the lunchskins, so maybe i'll notice that they keep things fresher. stay tuned, i guess!

my next project is finding the perfect lunch bag (i.e., the bag to carry all this stuff in). right now i'm using a (free) insulated bag from whole foods–they gave them away when they opened up in our town. i like it okay, but it's designed kind of funky and i've been wondering if i'd like different shapes better. i'm also wondering whether i need insulated or not, since i have a mini-fridge right next to my desk. any recommendations, i'd love to hear them!
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10 comments

  1. I don’t have a Ziploc bag solution (other than rinsing them out and reusing them), but Built (builtny.com) has some cute lunch bags. I’m partial to the Gourmet Getaway, myself. 🙂

  2. I was thinking of getting one of those laptop lunch boxes, but when I saw them at the store, I wasn’t convinced that some of the containers were big enough for most of my food.

  3. I have the lunchskins. They are great for dry items like PB&J sandwiches and crackers, but I am sticking with tupperware for baby carrots and messier sandwiches.

  4. phoe, i worry about the laptop lunchboxes for the same reason you do… i don’t think i could cram my giant pb&j in there! 🙂 i’m also kind of skepty of the fact that the lid of the entire lunchbox is supposed to act as the lid for the internal containers… so, really, my hummus won’t go sliding around everywhere? i think bento-style boxes make me feel weirdly pressured, like i can only bring things that cutely fit in the available boxes. i know this is a great challenge to being creative, but in the morning i just want to slap a sandwich together and grab what works. heh.
    so far, i prefer the snacktaxi bags to the lunchskins… as i feared, there is a bit of air getting into the lunchskins, so i feel like my bread tastes a bit like it’s been “left out” for awhile by the time i get to it. i haven’t had any problems like that with the snacktaxi bags, probably because they fold over themselves before also velcro-ing together. i also find the snacktaxi bags easier to turn inside-out for cleaning.
    i still haven’t decided about a lunch bag. ever onward!

  5. Hey – laptop lunches aren’t a winner for me. Containers have to close or I don’t trust them! It’s no good when your sweets and savouries get mixed up or something with a bit of liquid manages to get into something that’s supposed ot be dry!!
    We use bento boxes at home, but I realise that most of them are child sized. The best thing I can recommend is the adult sized one I bought for my partner:
    http://shop.iloveobento.com/products/gel-cool-earth-bento-boxes
    Between the two tiers, there’s definitely enough room for your PBJ sandwich (although you’d probably have to cut it in half and stack it in one container) and your snacks on the bottom.
    One of the best thing is that it comes with 2 removable dividers so you can put your sweet & savoury biscuits in the same container with a separator between them.
    AND
    On hot days, the lids can be frozen so that they keep your food chilled and not all melty/gross/hot!
    VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

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