Sunday, August 28, 2016

take out or to go

Along the lines of my last post, dealing with food storage containers, the next big ticket item is lunch containers to go or take out containers from restaurants.

Sure, you can use the same glass jars and storage glass containers for both lunches to go and take out food, but glass is a lot heavier and can break, so those considerations should be taken into account.

Although I take glass jars and glass storage containers with me to bring home leftovers, the real trouble comes with actually remembering to bring them. For this reason, I recommend that you keep a storage tote of emergency or unexpected leftovers containers in your vehicle for such occasions. While you are at, pack a few sets of utensils as well, just in case the establishment serves plastic ware with their food.

Something we have leaned on doing, is to ask for the food in non-take out form (they serve the food on a plate) and then pack it up in our jars and containers. This is in case a restaurant will not pack your to-go food in your own containers, often citing sanitary reasons. My husband and I will go out to eat together and bring something home for the kids and in those cases we just order all the food for the table and pack it up ourselves.

What to include in your leftover pack:

  • A canvas tote bag to keep the containers in
  • 2 or 3 quart-size, wide mouth mason jars with lids
  • Wide mouth mason jar funnel
  • 2 or 3 medium or deep glass containers with lids
  • A few kitchen towels to wipe off the jars (just in case)
  • A few sets of utensils (forks and spoons)
  • A few plates
  • A few reusable straws (more on this in another post)

And that's it. Make sure to wash them out regularly, about once a month, whether you use them or not.

Another option for the emergency leftover pack is to use lunch containers:

Packing for lunch is a great way to keep your costs down and keep single-use containers out of your life.

There are several wonderful lunch containers:

Stainless steel 3-tier containers, which I love and have been using for almost a decade. I purchased 4 sets (3 kids and me) for lunches for homeschooling groups and they are still going strong after 10 years; I can vouch for their durability and versatility.

Recently, I've seen stainless steel lunch trays that double as a container. Looks nice for younger kids or for making lunch packing easier. I would definitely get these if my kids were younger. We used to use the laptop lunchbox system, but those are plastic and these stainless steel options would be an ideal way to go.

For hot foods, stainless steel thermoses are the ticket. I know the initial investment on these is high, but consider how much it costs to eat out for lunch just a single week, and you will see the return on your investment in no time.

We use these containers a lot [AMAZON] or these giant ones [AMAZON], perfect for a good size sandwich or salad. Both these items are pictured above.

Whichever size or combination you choose, these stainless steel containers are easy to clean and maintain, they are durable and they are reusable endlessly. Grab a few and start packing your leftovers or lunches yourself.

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