The Secret to Better Packed Lunches

Easy salad dressing or dip holder for meals

Have you ever been excited for lunch, only to groan at the thought of pulling out your smooshed sandwich and battered, grainy old apple? Sure, you’re doing the responsible, money-saving thing by packing your lunch, but suddenly, the meal doesn’t seem so appealing.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are some simple fixes for a better meal time. It all comes down to the way you package things.


Invest in some resealable plastic containers with “dip” bowls to house your salad dressing.

Think about it: Do you really want to haul a bottle of salad dressing with you all day? Or pay extra for those little packets of dressing? Bypass the mess — and the cost — with these handy little bowls. They’re great for salads, but they also work for any kind of dip. Plop in some peanut butter (or my white chocolate peanut butter dip) and fill the larger bowl with sliced apples, or try hummus or ranch dressing with chopped vegetables. What about BBQ sauce and your next pulled pork sandwich? The possibilities are endless! Kind of.


Use lemon juice to keep produce fresher longer.

Pre-cut apples are easier to eat on-the-go, particularly if you’re sneaking them during your neverending pre-lunch lecture hall. The brownness isn’t so sexy — ditto for the same dingy look fresh guacamole gets after sitting out for a bit — but there’s an easy fix. Just sprinkle a little lemon juice on both. It’ll curb the oxidation process, which causes the produce to turn colors. (Don’t worry — they’re still safe to eat when they oxidize!

  • Produce bags like these Peak Fresh ones are great for keeping all kinds of fruits and vegetables fresher longer. To test them out, I left some bananas on my counter (as I usually do) and put some in the bags. By day three, brown spots speckled the bananas left out on the counter, but the bagged ones were age-mark free!


Wrap your lunch in two plastic bags before sticking it in your tote, backpack, or whatever you schlep your textbooks in.

Sure, those commercials swear that the lock on their reusable containers is leak-proof, but you don’t want to take that gamble. (Trust me, getting the scent of salsa or teriyaki sauce out of a purse is a nightmare. Nightmare!) Take an old grocery bag and wrap any watery meals, tying the opening shut. Wrap another bag around that, creating an added layer of protection, and be sure to nestle your lunch in your bag so it’s less likely to flip onto its side.


Put a damp paper towel over your food before microwaving.

One of the worst aspects of reheating food is when it gets all crispy and dried out in places, losing its original flavor. Keep the moisture in your meal by dampening a paper towel with water (wring it out so it’s not dripping wet) and placing it on top of your dish. Voila!


What tricks do you use? Comment & let us know!


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