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8 Not-Sad Lunches for School or the Office (+ Tools to Make Packing Them Easy)

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Remembering, in the hazy, golden-warm days of summer, that school (and work) lunches need to be packed, feels a little bit like being hit with the door on the way out. (Oof.) But a not-sad desk lunch for you and/or your kiddos isn't an achievement to be won—it's just a rhythm to get into. And it starts with a little planning, a well-stocked pantry, and a few special touches.

Here are a few of our go-to very-not-sad lunches, plus the tools that make packing them even easier:

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Joan's on Third's Curried Chickpeas
Joan's on Third's Curried Chickpeas

Pack curried chickpeas in one jar, a fat handful of greens in another.

Clamped Weck Bowls 10.14 Ounce (Set of 6)

Clamped Weck Bowls 10.14 Ounce (Set of 6)

$38
Waxed Canvas Lunch Bag

Waxed Canvas Lunch Bag

$40

Peter Miller's Lentils Folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and Basil
Peter Miller's Lentils Folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and Basil

The pot's for big batches of lentils—and the book? Either lunchtime reading, or more Genius recipe inspiration.

Staub Essential French Oven, 3.75QT

Staub Essential French Oven, 3.75QT

$149
Signed Copy: Genius Recipes, by Kristen Miglore

Signed Copy: Genius Recipes, by Kristen Miglore

$35

No-Gadget Falafel
No-Gadget Falafel

Falafel in one compartment, fun toppings (and zippy, meal-rounding-out pickles) in another.

Two-Layer Sandwich Box (Set of 2)

Two-Layer Sandwich Box (Set of 2)

From $22
Pacific Pickle Works Trio

Pacific Pickle Works Trio

$29

Avocado and Marinated Kale Salad Sandwich
Avocado and Marinated Kale Salad Sandwich

Never run out of plastic sandwich baggies again.

Reusable Storage Bags (Set of 2)

Reusable Storage Bags (Set of 2)

$29
Bee's Sandwich Wraps (Set of 4)

Bee's Sandwich Wraps (Set of 4)

$30

Ridiculously Easy Macaroni and Cheese
Ridiculously Easy Macaroni and Cheese

Pure comfort in every way.

Lunch Love Notes (Set of 40)

Lunch Love Notes (Set of 40)

$24
Apple Chips

Apple Chips by Merrill Stubbs


Radish and Pecan Grain Salad
Radish and Pecan Grain Salad

We love packing lunch in sturdy, compact, leak-proof jars. A separate compartment keeps dressings and sauces separate.

Two BNTO Canning Jar Lunchbox Adaptors

Two BNTO Canning Jar Lunchbox Adaptors

$20
Ball Elite Blue Jars (Set of 8)

Ball Elite Blue Jars (Set of 8)

From $23

An Adaptable Minestrone
An Adaptable Minestrone

Keep a box of crackers in your office and you practically have instant lunch—just add cheese. Or a thermos full of soup!

Thermo Pot

Thermo Pot

$42
Cheddar Cheese Crisps (Pack of 2)

Cheddar Cheese Crisps (Pack of 2)

$20

Zahav's Hummus Tehina
Zahav's Hummus Tehina

Just add fresh veg for dipping (and maybe some olives, too.)

Divided Airtight Storage Container

Divided Airtight Storage Container

$30
Grilled Flatbread

Grilled Flatbread by Erin McDowell


Speaking of special touches...

Low-Sugar Oatmeal Raisin Cranberry Cookies

Low-Sugar Oatmeal Raisin Cranberry Cookies by Joanne Chang

Raspberry Fruit Roll-Ups

Raspberry Fruit Roll-Ups by Miranda Keyes

Sara's "Granola Bars"

Sara's "Granola Bars" by Merrill Stubbs

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies by Kim Boyce

Matcha Snickerdoodles

Matcha Snickerdoodles by Ali Slagle

Trail Mix

Trail Mix by Merrill Stubbs

What was in your lunchbox as a kid? Tell us in the comments.

Tags: lunch, lunch ideas