Food

9 finds to make your work lunch more eco-friendly — and enjoyable!

Green accessories for a glad desk lunch, actually.

Green accessories for a glad desk lunch, actually

In case you haven't heard, plastic straws will be banned in both Vancouver and Toronto by the end of next year, and litterless lunches are being promoted at many schools across the country. Of course, it's not always easy or convenient to carry around reusable straws in your purse, or fit bulky, insulated containers into compact office refrigerators, but the extra effort is certainly worth it, especially once you think about how many supposedly recyclable items actually end up in landfills.

It's definitely a financial and time commitment to swap out the single-use containers and utensils from your daily routine with durable, portable replacements. But, the good news is that whether you're someone who packs a homemade lunch daily or prefers food court takeout — or embraces both, depending on the day — there are many more chic, versatile accessories on the market now that are designed to make eating at work, or on the go, more stylish and enjoyable.

Try these reusable silicone bags, which come in a number of sizes and colours, for carrying your sandwiches and snacks in place of the standard plastic reclosable bags. Stasher's food-grade bags are dishwasher safe, have an airtight seal, and can safely be used in the freezer, oven and microwave.

Reusable Silicone Sandwich Bag, about $15.78, stasherbag.com

This pretty, insulated bottle is leakproof and designed for tea, but would be great for water and other beverages, too. What makes the design stand out is that the base easily unscrews for easy cleaning, which is not an option with most stainless steel bottles on the market.

Blush Stainless Steel Bottle, $25, davidstea.com

A simple, sleek vessel with a non-toxic plastic lid, this U-Konserve container holds 50-oz. (that's over 6 cups) of food and would be easy to rinse out in the office sink, if you have access to one. Keep one at your desk, and you may never have to eat lunch out of a squeaky, leaky Styrofoam takeout container again.

U-Konserve To-Go Container, $28.49, well.ca

If you often pack rice or noodles for lunch, adding a pair of portable chopsticks in your #ZeroWaste lunch kit makes total sense. Originally designed for outdoor adventures, these hollow, stainless steel chopsticks have wooden tips and a carrying case, and are also lightweight and collapsible.

Vargo Chopstix, $20, mec.ca

If you're sick of using plastic lunch containers that get stained easily and feel flimsy, there's always the popular stainless steel PlanetBox bento lunchbox. It's designed for kids, but holds enough food for adults, too, and has no lead, PVC, phthalates or BPA material. Just note, it's not meant for hot foods, and cannot be microwaved.

PlanetBox Launch Lunchbox with SiliLid Dipper, $75.95, readisetgo.ca

A smart lunch bag offers insulation and protection from leaks, but doesn't take up too much room in your bag or the shared office fridge. This one has a removable shoulder strap and can be buckled compactly or expanded to fit lunch extras like fruit and beverages.

Goodbyn Insulated Roll Top Lunch Bag, $26.95, lunchaporter.com

One of the sleekest looking thermoses on the market, this compact container is vacuum insulated to keep your lunch hot or cold for hours. Plus, it comes with a spoon that fits the flask perfectly.

Black & Blum Food Flask, $34.50, chapters.indigo.ca

Some of us have sensitive teeth, or simply prefer drinking certain beverages with a straw. There are a number of great bamboo, glass, silicone, plastic and metal reusable straws on the market, but this steel-and-silicone combination from Klean Kanteen remains one of the most popular options. Whichever straw style you settle on, just make sure that the height and width makes sense for your favourite cups and beverages; for example, wider straws are recommended for drinking smoothies.   

Klean Kanteen Steel Straws, $17.38 for four pack, amazon.ca

Made by Japanese craftsmen, this portable titanium fork is made to last and easy to hand wash. Keep one at your desk or in your purse, and you won't have to use another flimsy plastic fork with your takeout meal. Snow Peak utensils are so popular, despite the higher-than-average prices, that there's currently a waitlist for the full cutlery set.

Folding Titanium Fork, about $28.89, snowpeak.com


Truc Nguyen is a Toronto-based writer, editor and stylist. Follow her at @trucnguyen.