9 Products That Will Make You Want to Pack Your Lunch Every Day

iStock.com/Milkos
iStock.com/Milkos

You may already know why packing lunch is a smart idea: Meals made at home are often healthier and cheaper than what you’d buy around the corner from your office. The downside is that bringing your lunch requires planning, even if it’s just setting your alarm a few minutes early so you have time to toss your leftovers in a bag. But one way to motivate yourself is to buy an adult lunch box that you can get excited about. Instead of brown bagging it, check out these unisex boxes, bags, and other tools that will inspire you to pack your lunch more often.

1. Twist & Seal "Lidless" Lunch Box

Stop spending time in the morning scrambling to find a lid to match your lunch container. This lunchbox from UncommonGoods eliminates the need for a lid altogether, instead using a flexible interior sleeve to protect your food.

After loading your lunch into the box, twist the inner membrane three times and secure it with the outer strap. The container keeps your food cool for up to six hours and hot for up to four. And it prevents spills even through your bumpiest commutes.

Buy it from UncommonGoods for $25.

2. Duo Lunch Box

Few things are more disappointing than packing a beautiful salad in the morning only to find a soggy, wilted mess by lunchtime. Separating the components of your lunch is one way to keep it fresh for hours, but that can be a hassle if you don’t have spare containers or extra space in your bag. Mepal's Duo lunchbox solves this problem by acting as two lunchboxes in one.

Store leafy greens (or a sandwich) in the bottom compartment and stash wet toppings like tomatoes up top. You can also use the upper compartment to store napkins and cutlery. For liquids like salad dressing, there’s an additional mini-container that fits inside the lid. By waiting until the last minute to toss all your ingredients together, you can be sure your lunch is as fresh as possible when it’s time to eat.

Buy it from these retailers:

3. Bee’s Wrap Eco-Friendly Sandwich Wrap Set

Food covered in pattered wax wraps
Bee's Wrap, Amazon

This patterned plastic-wrap alternative is so pretty you may be hesitant to take it off your food. Each reusable wrap from Bee’s Wrap is made with eco-friendly beeswax and jojoba oil, both of which have natural antibacterial properties. Warm the wrap up with your hands to soften the wax and mold it around food, and then set it aside it to cool into a protective seal. Printed with illustrations of bears and bees, the wraps are washable, reusable, and, once it’s time to throw them away, compostable.

Buy it from Amazon for $21.

4. MalloMe Stainless Steel Straws

Reusable steel straws
MalloMe, Amazon

Being kind to the environment doesn’t have to mean giving up your straw habit. These stainless steel straws from MalloMe are strong enough to outlast a decade’s worth of plastic straws. Each set comes straight and bent straws in three widths, adding up to six straws in total. The pack also includes soft silicon tips to protect your lips from hot or cold liquids and two brushes for heavy-duty cleaning.

Buy them from Amazon for $12.

5. Rerii Stainless Steel Travel Cutlery Set

Portable cutlery set on placemat
Rerii, Amazon

Leave your home cutlery in the kitchen where it belongs. This portable set of utensils from Rerii is meant to travel to your office day after day. One set comes with a spoon, fork, and chopsticks, each made from high-quality stainless steel. The flatware is small enough to fit inside the small stainless steel tube, which can then be stored inside a fabric carrying case to stay safe in transit.

Buy it from Amazon for $13.

6. Lunch Box With Cutting Board Lid

This lunchbox is for those overachievers who can’t help showing off their culinary skills in the office kitchen. When strapped to the container with the silicone band, the bamboo piece acts as a lid. But when it’s time to unpack your lunch, it doubles as a cutting board. Use it for slicing up tomatoes for your salad or avocados for your toast. It can even work as a mini cheese and charcuterie plate if you’re want to throw an impromptu office happy hour (or just treat yourself to a very fancy desk lunch).

Buy it from UncommonGoods for $30.

7. PackIt Freezable Bento Box

Plastic food container and patterned bag
PackIt, Amazon

Looking for a way to pack your lunch so it doesn’t need to be refrigerated? No problem—this container comes with a freezable sleeve that chills your food all day. Just stick the colorful bag in your freezer before you go to bed, and by morning it will be ready to act as your portable fridge. The plastic container has three separate compartments for bento-style food storage, and it’s safe for the freezer or the microwave. (If you’re looking for other ways to keep your packed lunch cold, we've got some more tips here.)

Buy it from Amazon for $15 and at these other retailers:

8. Horween Leather Lunch Bag

Leather lunch bag on table
Oleksynprannyk, Etsy

Give yourself an incentive to pack your lunch by bringing it in a bag you’ll want to show off. While many lunch bags come in floral, feminine styles, there aren't very many that will go just as well with a suit and tie as with a sundress. This leather bag from the Etsy store OleksynPrannyk, meanwhile, would be an elegant choice for either men or women. The leather comes from the Chicago-based Horween Leather Company—one of the oldest continuously operating tanneries in the U.S. Each lunch bag is handcrafted and made to order.

Buy it from Etsy for $39.

9. Prepd Pack

Person holding wooden lunch box

A Prepd Pack has everything you need for a convenient, stylish lunch. It’s beautiful on the outside, with a slated bamboo case, and practical on the inside, with a spot for magnetic cutlery, a silicone mat that unfolds to give you a place to eat, and modular containers designed to perfectly fit into the box. One Prepd pack comes with one large container and two smaller ones that you can mix and match to store what you’re eating on any given day.

Buy it from Prepd for $69.

11 Patriotic Products to Celebrate the Fourth of July

Amazon
Amazon

Whether you’ll be lounging by the beach or grilling in your backyard this Independence Day, don’t forget to show off your all-American spirit with a little swag. Here are 11 products to help you celebrate Fourth of July—all of which would pair nicely with your collection of presidential bobbleheads.

1. Declaration Of Independence Signatures Mug; $15

Mug decorated with the signatures from the Declaration of Independence.
CafePress, Amazon

The names of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence are on display on this ceramic coffee mug. Studying the signatures each morning might inspire you to perfect your own John Hancock.

Find it: Amazon

2. Stars And Stripes Cufflinks; $55

Cufflinks with images of stars and stripes on them

Cufflinks Inc., Nordstrom

Brighten up your wardrobe with a splash of American pride. One half of this cufflinks set is striped red and white and the other is blue and spangled with stars. Together they make a patriotic accent piece.

Find it: Nordstrom

3. Fireworks Light Show Projector; $41

Portable fireworks light projector.
Uncle Milton, Amazon

If you want a low-hazard Fourth of July that still delivers thrills, consider getting a light show projector. When it’s pointed at a wall, the device displays vibrant fireworks animations accompanied by realistic sound effects. And it works indoors, so you can count on your Independence Day party ending with a light show no matter the weather forecast. (There's also a Disney version available for just $20.)

Find it: Amazon

4. Inflatable Cooler; $14

Inflatable American flag cooler filled with ice and drinks.
Fun Express, Amazon

When preparing for a picnic or barbecue this Fourth of July, don’t bother breaking out your tiny roll-away cooler. This 54-by-28-inch inflatable trough holds enough bottles and cans to keep your party going well past sunset. Once the cooler has been drained and deflated, it folds neatly for easy storage.

Find it: Amazon

5. American Trivia Cards; $15

Even players who paid attention in American history class might find this game challenging. Each box comes with 150 cards of United States trivia. Some questions—like what was the first state to grant women the right to vote—highlight important moments in our nation’s history. Others—like how many columns the Lincoln Memorial features—are a little more random.

Find it: UncommonGoods

6. U.S. Navy Blanket; $200

The U.S. military has been going to Faribault Woolen Mill Co. for its blankets for over 100 years. This one is crafted from 100 percent wool and weighs 3.5 pounds. The design is inspired by the blankets supplied on Navy ships—and if it’s tough enough for the Navy, you can bet it will withstand a Fourth of July picnic. We like the gray version, but it comes in several different styles and colors.

Find it: Faribault Woolen Mill Co.

7. American Flag Cornhole; $90

Two American flag cornhole boards with bean bags.
GoSports, Amazon

Baseball faces some stiff competition from cornhole for the title of No. 1 American pastime. This lawn set includes four blue bean bags, four red bean bags, and two boards decorated to resemble the American flag.

Find it: Amazon

8. U.S. Map Cutting Board; $20

Wooden cutting board in the shape of the U.S. map.
Totally Bamboo, Amazon

This 100 percent bamboo board eschews the traditional rectangle shape in favor of the outline of the American mainland. You can either keep it in the kitchen and use it as a cutting board or bring it out to the party as a serving platter for fruits, cheeses, and other hors d'oeuvres.

Find it: Amazon

9. Boston Tea Party Tea Sampler; $15

Six piles of loose-leaf tea.
Solstice Tea Traders, Amazon

A sip of one of the teas in this sampler will put you in touch with your inner revolutionary. Each of the six loose-leaf varieties—bohea black tea, oolong, congou black tea, souchong, singlo, and hyson—was among those tossed over the sides of British ships during the Boston Party. Whether you drink the tea or chuck it into the nearest harbor is up to you. (If you're looking for something to put on display, UncommonGoods also sells a slightly pricier, more elegant option with five teas.)

Find it: Amazon

10. State Map Prints; $27 and Up

A poster featuring a colorful map of Wisconsin
Bri Buckley, Society6

These unique prints by Bri Buckley highlight the beauty of each U.S. state in vibrant color. Each state map is available in both a modern and a vintage style, and like most Society6 art, the design is also available on tapestries, shirts, pillows, tote bags, and more.

Find it: Society6

11. Bald Eagle Pool Float; $15

A man and a woman ride a bald eagle pool float
Swimline, Amazon

Cool down the patriotic way this Fourth of July. This massive 8-foot-by-6-foot bald eagle pool float can fit up to two people comfortably, and will look great floating around your pool during your backyard barbecue.

Find it: Amazon

A version of this article first ran in 2017. It has been updated for 2019.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Turn Your Phone Into an Instant Camera With KODAK's New Handheld Printer

KODAK
KODAK

Instant cameras are all the rage, but when you're already carrying a high-end camera everywhere you go in the form of your smartphone, the idea of carrying around an extra gadget might seem like more work than it's worth. You don't have to choose between the convenience of your phone's camera and the fun of having a tangible memento. KODAK's new SMILE digital printer combines all the fun of using filters and image editing on your phone with the delight of having a printed copy of your photo.

Blue, green, black, red, and white KODAK SMILE printers printing photos
The KODAK SMILE line of instant digital printers
KODAK

The handheld Bluetooth printer—which is roughly the same size as KODAK's SMILE instant digital camera—lets you edit photos on your phone, then print your image instantly on 2-inch-by-3-inch sticker paper. Using the KODAK SMILE app, you can add Instagram-esque filters; rotate images and change contrast, brightness, and other characteristics; and add stickers, text, doodles, and borders.

Most uniquely, you can add augmented reality elements to your photos, so that when you (or someone else with the KODAK SMILE app) point the app at the physical print, the image is replaced by a short video clip. The effect is something like the moving photographs in Harry Potter—you can surprise your friends by asking them to view a photo through the app's AR function, then watch their delight as the still image begins to move.

The KODAK SMILE app
KODAK

KODAK sent Mental Floss both the SMILE instant camera and the SMILE printer to test, and while there's a lot of fun in snapping photos on an instant camera and accepting whatever weird flaws that photo might have (though you can do some light editing on the SMILE camera before printing), in our opinion, the breadth of image-editing features and convenience of being able to print photos you've already taken on your smartphone makes the digital printer the better option if you're trying to choose between the two.

This is especially true if you're going on vacation or trying to capture a night out on camera; it's just easier to whip out your phone rather than break out another camera, and it's easier to edit photos on your phone than to manipulate photos on the SMILE instant camera's small screen.

Blue, black, green, white, and red KODAK SMILE instant-print cameras
The KODAK SMILE line of instant-print digital cameras
KODAK

The SMILE printer is available on Amazon and Walmart for $100 and comes in five different colors: white, black, blue, green, and red. The SMILE instant-print digital camera is also $100 on Amazon and Walmart and is available in the same colors.

While the camera and the printer both come with a starter pack of sticker-backed ZINK photo paper, you can get 50 refill sheets for $24 when you run out.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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