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Lunch Containers

Old 11-29-15, 02:29 PM
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BikingZombie
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Lunch Containers

So, what are people using for lunch containers these days?

I love bringing my lunch whenever I can, but I stick to non-soupy stuff since I've never quite found a trustworthy container yet. A few weeks back I thought I'd try my luck again with a Lock & Lock holding some soup, but it found its way out and all over the inside of one of my panniers. Luckily I had my work clothes in the other pannier, but the mess was there regardless.
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Old 11-29-15, 05:05 PM
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Try a Stanley or Thermos hot food container. I know the Stanley I had would keep my soup hot for a few hours, and I don't remember it ever leaking. It should be safe enough in a pannier, especially if you can keep it upright in your bag.
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Old 11-29-15, 07:59 PM
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Have used these with good effect for liquids, standard tupperware-style containers for solids
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Old 11-29-15, 08:23 PM
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I like those Glad Twist&Lock containers. I have access to a microwave at work so I tend to freeze anything that may leak and make a mess: soups, chilli, etc. The food then goes from the freezer to my insulated lunch bag. It takes a little longer to re-heat but until I am ready to eat, it also serves as my ice-pack.
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Old 11-29-15, 08:28 PM
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If you have some in your area try Asian, particularly Japanese grocery/dept stores. They usually have a wide assortment of really high quality stainless thermos bottles, some wide mouthed and shallow, oriented for soups etc.

They are about bullet proof and fairly light. They aren't cheap, but they will last forever. Expect to pay north of $20.
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Old 11-29-15, 09:11 PM
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I've commuted with food in Japanese bento boxes. They work well with items that don't drip (rice, cooked fish, salad without dressing, and so on.)
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Old 11-30-15, 10:25 AM
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Reverse .. I take sealable rubbermaid containers for take home leftovers , to Not consume disposable containers..
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Old 11-30-15, 10:29 AM
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Sealing with a low profile has been the recurring issue for me. The Rubbermaid ones burp and the lids have a slight tendency to hook on things and tear up a corner. I don't have any Tupperware but I expect it would work better based on my memory of Mom's. I'd avoid anything that can pop open when squeezed a bit, which would precludes the otherwise great containers that come from supermarket delis. I now use containers with a latching lid but I can't recall the brand name off the top of my head.

For a long time I wondered why my plastic food storage containers would develop gunk that could not be cleaned off, then I realized it was oil in the food that was getting hot enough to mar the plastic. Glass would be fine, but glass seems fragile.
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Old 11-30-15, 10:40 AM
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I always throw anything that might leak into a plastic grocery bag and knot it up. I also make sure the knot faces up.
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Old 11-30-15, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by lost_in_endicot View Post
Try a Stanley or Thermos hot food container. I know the Stanley I had would keep my soup hot for a few hours, and I don't remember it ever leaking. It should be safe enough in a pannier, especially if you can keep it upright in your bag.
I tried an Element Thermos a while back. It worked great, but the steel, or the coating, had some reaction with some of the chicken soup/stews we made and would go rancid by the time lunch came around. Seriously, take food out of fridge, scoop into thermos, bike to work, put container in fridge, open container at lunch and discover the rancid food. This wasn't a single occurrence, this was proven over multiple times with different stews. Weird.

Originally Posted by Hoang View Post
I like those Glad Twist&Lock containers. I have access to a microwave at work so I tend to freeze anything that may leak and make a mess: soups, chilli, etc. The food then goes from the freezer to my insulated lunch bag. It takes a little longer to re-heat but until I am ready to eat, it also serves as my ice-pack.
I'll take a look at these

Originally Posted by TGT1 View Post
If you have some in your area try Asian, particularly Japanese grocery/dept stores. They usually have a wide assortment of really high quality stainless thermos bottles, some wide mouthed and shallow, oriented for soups etc.

They are about bullet proof and fairly light. They aren't cheap, but they will last forever. Expect to pay north of $20.
Lots of asian grocery stores here. I'll check one out.

Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I always throw anything that might leak into a plastic grocery bag and knot it up. I also make sure the knot faces up.
Modus operandi right there. It's not always bullet proof, since the container itself could rip the bag, but it usually works fine.
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Old 11-30-15, 01:19 PM
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I like Pyrex, because glass is a nice material to eat out of, and it's microwaveable. But it is heavy. These containers have a terrific seal on them. For containers that might leak, I'll put plastic wrap under the lid and then secure that with rubber bands. Then I'll wrap the container in one or two plastic grocery bags. I'm concerned about the long term effect of eating food wrapped in plastic, so I prefer my food contact plastic for as little time as possible. Heating food in the microwave while still in plastic seems particularly scary.

I've also bought glass containers at the local Chinese grocery store, and they look like lock-n-lock that @BikingZombie mentions. If you have a local Asian supermarket, you should go. The food is excellent, and they normally have a fantastic kitchenware section with super prices.
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Old 11-30-15, 01:45 PM
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I use regular Tupperware stuff... but if it's soupy I freeze it.
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Old 11-30-15, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I always throw anything that might leak into a plastic grocery bag and knot it up. I also make sure the knot faces up.
For food I re-use 16oz plastic Fluff containers*. They have lids which seal tight and securely... and then I wrap and tie them into a plastic grocery bag for backup.

*Not that I eat a lot of Fluff, but every Christmas I go through 4 of them, making seasonal gift fudge for everyone in my life.
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Old 11-30-15, 02:13 PM
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I accumulate leftover containers from take-out pho and then stuff'em into a plastic bag before packing them into a pannier or backpack.



Apparently you can get a box of 240 for $40 (plus some amount of shipping)!
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Old 11-30-15, 02:25 PM
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I'm with@noglider on this one. I use Pyrex for all the same reasons. Lids seem to seal well enough.
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Old 11-30-15, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
These containers have a terrific seal on them.
Link check!
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Old 11-30-15, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Link check!
Oops! Here is the proper link, and I also edited my post.
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Old 11-30-15, 04:06 PM
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[QUOTE=BikingZombie;18354683]I tried an Element Thermos a while back. It worked great, but the steel, or the coating, had some reaction with some of the chicken soup/stews we made and would go rancid by the time lunch came around. Seriously, take food out of fridge, scoop into thermos, bike to work, put container in fridge, open container at lunch and discover the rancid food. This wasn't a single occurrence, this was proven over multiple times with different stews. Weird.

That is weird. The Stanley had a stainless steel liner. I never had that problem.
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Old 11-30-15, 05:19 PM
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I use GlassLock containers that came in a set from Costco. You can also find them in those Asian markets individually. They look similar to the Lock-n-Lock glass models, with tops that have 4 hinged latches and a rubbery gasket inside (bento box style). This set had several round, square and rectangular sizes. I got tired of plastic that got damaged and stained in the microwave, figuring that glass would be the safest and cleanest, despite some weight and fragility. Most of them I just use daily in the kitchen. They've held up well, no chips and no hinge failures. The gaskets should be removed every so often for cleaning, as liquids do creep under the gasket and grow black crud (probably mold).

So far (many years), they have not leaked at all, placed sideways in a padded bag in my panniers for a 2 mile commute. While I don't recall taking any really liquid food in them for this trip, I do put thick fluid stews and such in them, no problem. I think if I had really liquidy soup, I'd use my Thermos/Nissan soup container and preheat it.

Perhaps there is some magic/trade secret to this technology where some work, and some don't.
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Old 11-30-15, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I always throw anything that might leak into a plastic grocery bag and knot it up. I also make sure the knot faces up.
I've done that...
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Old 12-01-15, 11:55 AM
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I like the Pyrex-bottomed ones with the plastic latching lids and the rubber gasket. I also had one big plastic-bottomed one with the same latching features that worked well for years, including several kayaking trips.

The only problem that I've noticed is that the gasket can sometimes work itself loose. The big plastic one I had ejected the gasket from the lid in what is probably the world's worst dishwasher several years ago, and landed on the exposed heating element in the dishwasher's main chamber. It set of the fire alarms, burnt halfway through on one side, and all the way on the other. I continued to use it very carefully for several years, even with the break in the gasket, until I tossed it when moving to Europe.

Now I remove the gaskets and wash them by hand (now that I have a dishwasher again!)
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Old 12-01-15, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I now use containers with a latching lid but I can't recall the brand name off the top of my head.
Circling back to this... the brand name is Sistema. The ones we bought are a quart or so. There's a vent in the lid for microwaving. They have an inner compartment to keep stuff apart and a 2-piece spoon - these all get left home. We also have a few without the vent which we keep in the cars, with Cheerios and Goldfish for kiddo.

Soup Mug - Microwave - Sistema Plastics
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Old 12-01-15, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by TGT1 View Post
If you have some in your area try Asian, particularly Japanese grocery/dept stores. They usually have a wide assortment of really high quality stainless thermos bottles, some wide mouthed and shallow, oriented for soups etc.

They are about bullet proof and fairly light. They aren't cheap, but they will last forever. Expect to pay north of $20.
The one in my area has some really nice bento box sets, but they were about $50 or more if I remember right. And the thermos bottles were way more than $20.
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Old 12-01-15, 01:39 PM
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Some are glass vacuum insulated, and built into a plastic body to be stronger. Stainless vacuum insulated ones here two. About $25. I have some of both. They work. And will stay hot if you do as was mentioned already and fill with hot water to heat the inside before you put the soup in. They have a good screw on lid that will not leak.

Thermos Vacuum Insulated Food Jar (10 oz) : Target[*GCLID*]&gclsrc=ds
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Old 12-04-15, 09:47 AM
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Since I have a microwave and stove at work my wife bought me glass containers with very tight seals. Yes they are heavy in my panniers but I figure I'm in the commute for exercise not racing so it helps with the health. She didn't like me using plastic to heat stuff up in and the dishes at work well we all know what they can be like. Yes glass can break in an accident but the one time I went down I didn't up near the bike anyway.
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