Depending on how your day is going, lunch can be the highlight of the working day.
If you’re lucky and the weather is on your side, you can spend an hour in the local park, reminding your toes what grass feels like. But even if it’s cold and rainy, taking a break from your desk to eat and have a mental break can help you feel recharged and revived for the second half of the day.
Whether you’re watching the pennies, or you just don’t like what’s on offer near your workplace, making your own lunch can reap rewards in more ways than one. It’s likely far healthier and fresh than store bought, with the added bonus that you can include only what you like, compromising on nothing. How often can you say that about a coffee shop sarnie?
What you put your lunch in is second to what’s on the menu, but it’s still a fairly important thing to consider. While plastic takeaway boxes are all good and well for housing ingredients in your fridge and freezer at home, surely your work lunchbox should be a little more uplifting? Not to mention, if you’re a grazer, you may like the idea of separate compartments to divide sweet and savoury bites.
You may think a dedicated lunchbox is for kids, but there are plenty of versions for adult eaters too. We’ve rounded up the best options for all kinds of lunch, from a humble sandwich to bento box styles to help you find your new office must-have.
Shop our edit below
Black+Blum BPA-Free, Leak-Proof Microwave Safe Bento Box Style Compartment Food Container
Measuring 20 x 20 x 5cm, this compact lunch box can easily hold a feast for one, yet is small enough to slip into your work bag. The leaf-proof box is made from strong BPA-free plastic and inside holds a number of compartments to separate your lunch components. It even comes with its own stainless steel fork which slides neatly inside, so no need to worry about home-brought cutlery getting dirty in your bag.
We love Black+Blum’s design for hearty rice dishes in the winter and fresh salads for summer. And, thanks to the included sauce pot (with space for garnishes in the lid), neither option will become too soggy as you can wait until you’re ready to eat to pour. Genius.
If you’re feeling really fancy, there are plenty of designer touches to upgrade your Black+Blum lunchbox. Paul Smith has made a Black Leather Lunchbox Holster specifically designed for Black+Blum boxes, £110. And, Prada has collaborated with the brand on a stainless steel, bamboo and silicone version, £90.
Microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe.
Buy now £21.95, Amazon
Sistema To-Go Salad & Sandwich Lunch Box,1.6L, Assorted
There’s no need to agonise between a sammie or a salad in to work thanks to Sistema’s clever lunchbox design, which has dedicated compartments to hold each portion of your meal. Everything fastens securely together with a clip-lock lid so you won’t find yourself picking bits of lettuce from your keyboard - there’s no chance it’ll open in your bag. It comes in green, blue and purple colour choices, making it simple to colour-code for each member of your family.
Buy now £8.99, John Lewis
BRIGENIUS Bento Box for Adults
Pack your own three-course meal into this bento-style box and be the envy of all your colleagues. It boasts five compartments to hold all your snacks and sweets, keeping them separate until you’re ready to eat. The dedicated sauce pot is perfect for keeping salad dressings and dips away from the rest of your food and the smaller compartments are ideal for a small treat to bring a sweet finish to your meal. The lunch box comes with a fork and spoon which attach to the lid, and the design is microwave and dishwasher-safe too.
Buy now £22.99, Amazon
Sistema Stackable Lunch Box, 1.2L, Assorted
Sometimes a sandwich just isn’t enough to power you through the day. Hungry diners can give themselves even more options thanks to this lunchbox, which features a divider tray in the lid to keep fruit and salad from meddling with your homemade sandwich in the more spacious section below. The clip-lock lid will give you peace of mind that your meal is safe and sound until you’re ready to devour it.
Buy now £9.00, John Lewis
Indian Tiffin Store 4 Tier Large Tiffin with Thermally Insulated Blue Patterned Tiffin Bag Carrier
Mumbai’s famous dabbawalas are said to deliver up to 200,000 lunches across the Indian metropolis every day from housewives to office workers, with practically flawless accuracy - and all without a computerised system. The dabbawalas carry the lunches, typically a few rotis, a curry, a daal and some rice, in a stacked lunchbox called a tiffin, keeping all the components separate and sog-free until the reach their recipient.
While the idea of a dabbawala is yet to take off in London, the concept of a tiffin lunchbox undoubtedly should; it’s a genius way to pack in small courses for lunch, leaving you far more sated than a high street option would. This four-tier open fastens with clasps and comes with a beautifully decorated thermal carrier to keep your contents cold or warm.
Buy now £28.99, Amazon
Suzie Bidlake Tiffin Box
If you like the idea of having lunch with a helping of exotic fanfare, feel transported for an hour thanks to this stainless steel tiffin lunch box, handpainted by artisans in Maharashtra, India.
As well as taking to the office, it’s an easy option to take on picnics too, keeping all the courses divided until its chow time.
Buy now £29.00, Etsy
Kate Spade New York Lunch Bag, Gold Dot with Script
Swap that sad paper bag you’ve been using for your sandwiches for something altogether more fabulous, thanks to US designer Kate Spade. The brand has this playful polka dot patterned design which is insulated on the inside to keep your food hot or cold. The bag fastens with a white zip and can be carried with handles if you’re travelling light and don’t have a backpack to place it in. The soft design measures 24 x 23 x 15cm.
Buy now £25.59, Very
Alessi Food à Porter tiered carry lunchbox 500ml
Sleek, contemporary and playful design is Italian brand Alessi’s trademark, even for lunch boxes. This bold red design features twin compartments to satisfy all your lunch cravings, and it’s made from thermoplastic resin which will keep your food cool - helpful in the summer when you might be craving salad and snacks instead of anything heavy. We’ve never been more excited to do lunch prep.
Buy now £48.00, Selfridges
Herschel Supply Co City Pop Quiz insulated lunch box in ash rose
The least lunchbox-looking option on this edit, who knew bag supplier Herschel made designs to hold your lunch too? This pale pink option features a two-way zip to access your grub faster and there’s a spacious five litres inside to fill. Naturally it’s insulated to keep your lunch cooler than the cucumber in your summer salad, making for a refreshing bite to eat when the clock strikes 1pm.
Buy now £35.00, ASOS
Hip Clutch Lunch Bag & Cutlery Set, 1.4L, Jade
Also available in blush pink, this clutch bag-design lunch box lets you eat food on the go with style. It features one main compartment, with cutlery attaching to the inside of the lid, and there’s a covered pot for sauces, dips and dressings too. The best bit is that this box is made with Ocean Bound Plastic, which recycles plastic rubbish that would otherwise end up choking the seas.
Buy now £22.00, John Lewis
Stasher Lilac Sandwich Bag
It may be sold as a sandwich bag, but the truth is Stasher’s flexible bag has so many uses. It can keep batch-cooked food in the fridge until you’re ready to eat, stand in as a makeup bag and stop your lotions and potions spilling over the rest of your bag, and act as a wet pouch for your swimming gear when you’re on your way back from the beach or the pool.
As a sandwich bag though, it does very well, with the soft silicone casing expanding to fit the heftiest of lunches. It’s not only oven safe to 220 degrees, but will stand the test of the dishwasher, microwaves and freezer too. Your new kitchen fave.
Buy now £13.00, Urban Outfitters
Anya Hindmarch Lunch Box
A place for everything and everything in its place: where better to get a dedicated lunchbox than luxury designer Anya Hindmarch whose penchant for labelling has delivered this insulated option.
Granted it may cost the same as one or two weekly shops, but with a cotton shoulder strap and roomy interiors, you’ll get far more use out of it than just the 9 - 5. Take it on day trips, picnics, to the beach - anywhere you fancy tucking into a stylish homemade meal.
Available in a variety of eyecatching colours, it’s currently 50 per cent off, was £225.
Buy now £112.50, Anya Hindmarch