Or, how to ensure salad dressing doesn’t explode in your bag.

There’s something about fall, back-to-school season, and the month of September generally that’s getting us motivated to pack more lunches to work. For me personally, that something is the fact that my lunches for the past few months have consisted of rushing to order a salad via the Sweetgreen app before the ordering window closes or spending $11 on mediocre prepared food from down the street that comes in sad, tiny plastic (groan) containers. Something’s gotta change! This sad state of affairs (plus rounding up some of our team’s favorite lunch-packing bags and tools – has me motivated more than ever to actually meal prep for the week. Enjoy and let us know if you’ve got any more recs. — Katrina

Lunchboxes

Listen up. Getting a proper lunchbox can really up your lunch packing game. In addition to motivating you to actually prep and pack food for work, it allows you to take joy in packing a full meal, with snacks included. If you’re feeling daring, you can even include your own personal mini bottle of sriracha. Or whatever other condiment your heart desires. The issue has typically been finding chic lunchbox options that don’t feel dorky. After some meticulous investigation, below are some of our favorite lunchboxes that are both functional and cute.

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1. The classic L.L. Bean bag. Why mess with a classic? L.L.Bean worked while we in elementary school, why wouldn’t it work for us now? This cute little bag is a more grown up take. ($29, L.L. Bean)

2. Small and simple. This ‘no frills’ lunchbox is just big enough to fit a tupperware and a few small snacks, but not so big that it will take up the entire office fridge. It’s a great choice if you have limited space, and don’t want to carry too much with you on your commute. ($6, Target)

3. The statement bag. If you need a bigger bag that’s easy to bring on your commute, carry this cute washable bag with pride. ($44, Anthropologie)

4. The minimalist bag. PackIt Lunch Bag It gets the job done! It has raving reviews! What’s not to love? “This one got the most shoutouts of them all when I asked for recs on Instagram.” - Alisha ($19, Amazon)

Food Storage

If Team GNI has learned anything about packing a work lunch, it’s that it’s a prime opportunity to swap out your plastics for ceramic, glass, or stainless steel if you can. Also, can we give compartments a little shoutout here?! Where are all our organized Virgos at? This is, or should be, your jam. Here are some of our team’s top picks for food storage if everyday tupperware isn’t cutting it for you.

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1. Cute and colorful ceramic bowl. We love the Ceramic Porter Bowl from W&P because it’s actually big enough to hold a meal and obviously aesthetically pleasing. We’re also suckers for their new glass containers wrapped with protective silicone and cute little dressing containers launching later this month. ($30 and up, W&P)

2. Compartmentalize your snacks, not your emotions, in this bento box. A bento box is honestly one of the easiest ways to pack your lunch. Everything is in one container, and you can heat some of it up, without mixing everything together. They’re a great option when you don’t want to lug around a heavier option, just check that they’re BPA free, microwave and refrigerator safe. ($29, Anthropologie)

3. Simple and sustainable stainless steel lunchbox. This 2 compartment set is the perfect combo if you don’t want to carry a lunchbox around, and want a sturdier option than glass or ceramic. ($35, PBTeen)

4. The fancy work lunch box. This Prepd Pack is the bento box on another level! This comes with three removable containers and it’s magnetic for easy folding! It’s like Transformers, but lunch. Plus it has a cute bamboo lid and flatware. ($69, Anthropologie)

Lunch Accessories

Accessories? For lunch? Well, did you think we were going to stop at lunchboxes?! This is not amateur hour, people! We’re extremely passionate about lunch over here! Serial lunch packers know that what makes packing lunch truly joyful is the extremely useful accoutrements that we can include in our lunch bags. Plus, lunch can easily be the least sustainable meal for many, between straws, plastic forks, Ziploc bags, and foil. Bringing your own accessories eliminates the need for these single-use items. We challenge you to swap out the plastics for these cute and colorful options that’ll fit right in with your desk.

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1. Portable, bendy, silicone straws. Team GNI loves this portable straw set from Food52. It comes with a little pouch that can hold a straw for you and one for a friend. ($25, Food52)

2. Reusable snack bags. Adults need to snack too. But we don’t need to waste plastic bags. These clear colorful bags come in snack and sandwich size. ($10, Anthropologie)

3. Bamboo utensils kit. If you work in a co-working space, then you know there are never enough forks. Bring your own with this easy bamboo set. ($8, Amazon)

4. A cute, mini to-go bag. If you don’t want a full lunch box but need a bag to use when you pick up lunch at a grocery store, or run out of space in your work tote, the Baby Baggu is the easiest option that you can keep in your bag or in your desk. ($10, Baggu)

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Header image by @baggu.