"Eating Paleo takes a bit of planning" A truer has never been made... but it is far from the crazy difficulty that I often am told it must be. One of the biggest planning tools that I use daily has been my lunch tote. It is very important that I am able to pack a substantial amount of food as most days I am bringing at least 2 meals with me- breakfast and lunch- and some days I am bringing as many as 4- breakfast, lunch, shake or snack, and dinner. Previously, I used a fairly traditional lunchbox... the type that tent up to the top. They look like they are large but there is a lot of unusable space due to the design. That is, if you want to zip the tote closed- a must to keep the food cold! My mother was at Sam's Club and found a really cute lunch kit for herself: the Nicole Miller of New York Insulated Lunch Cooler.
I love it! Finally, no more wasted space! This lunch kit reminds me of the ones I took as a child in that it is a simple rectangular prism (nearly cube) with a zipper and handles. Nothing super fancy... but pretty stinkin' cute you'd have to agree. Immediately I needed one. I was tired of carrying a lunchbox AND food to put in the fridge at work for my second meal of the day. My wonderful mother picked one up for me that very weekend in an adorable pink polka dot pattern. Isn't it totes adorbs (I'm in a movie/TV/song quote mood right now... fair warning. Also, if you haven't watched the Lizzie Bennett Diaries you are seriously missing out. Get to it!)?
There are both good and not so good qualities about this insulated tote but for the days when I need to pack only two meals this is a lunchbox I like very much
1. You can store a lot of food in here!
If you are like, 'Whoa! that's enough for 5 meals!' hold up a second... not quite. It is enough for a salads (about 2 C), two entrees/proteins, a snack (if I don't add an extra cold pack), a fruit or veggie side and portioned dressing/condiments. I can't put all of this in there if I am carrying a container of dressing or any type of uncut fruit for instance. If I use the containers that came with the tote
I have enough room for a larger salad, a protein, another veggie or fruit (or some nuts or etc) and breakfast plus my salad dressing, utensils, and cooling pack. If I pack it with all of the containers you saw above then I can't add extra cooling pouches. A must if I am going to need it to last till a late lunch or beyond unfortunately.
2. As I already mentioned... it comes with containers. From a little research online it looks like not all of the kits out there have the three pack that I received but getting some non-leak containers was certainly a plus for me. Perhaps it would be worth it to check out Sam's if you wanted the containers... the link I put above goes to Amazon and it appears from the tag that the containers are included, at least for the polka dot version.
3. It is easy to clean. Until you have had a green smoothie leak in your lunchbox you simply do not know the pain of deep cleaning a lunchbox... that stuff stains and gets into every crevice in a lunch kit... or backpack, as was my case. Exploding bottle of green juice... everywhere. It was not a pretty sight and took forever to clean... I'm still finding flakes! Ugg. So I was quite happy to put my shake in my new box for safekeeping instead of in my backpack. This was on a day that I ate breakfast at home (rare... I came in to work late) so I while I usually don't have room for my shake container I did this day. And boy was I glad when I got home and saw that it had leaked (that lid is going in the trash). Hurray for not having to clean a backpack! A little Thieves cleaning spray and it wiped out good as new. Yay!
1. The cold pack that comes with it is not particularly good. Unfortunately, though it is a clever idea to make it thin enough to fit in the front zipper pouch the pack simply doesn't keep the box cold for long enough. I end up putting it in the fridge at work to keep it fresh all day instead. On a side note, anytime I say or hear the word clever now-a-days I always think "Run, my clever boy... and remember." Kudos to anyone who gets that reference... we can be friends.
2. There is no pouch for a drink. I know this won't be an issue for most people but I would really like to have a drink pouch for a water bottle or shake on the lunchbox somewhere. Just a personal preference. My last one didn't either though so it isn't a huge issue, just a want.
That's it... pretty much loving my two meal lunchbox. Now to figure out what to do for the days I am gone for all my meals. Hmm... until next time interwebs, have a great day!