Types of Lunch Boxes

Brown bag lunches are becoming obsolete.
Brown bag lunches are becoming obsolete. (Image: crumpled bag image by Karin Lau from Fotolia.com)

The term "brown bagging it" is obsolete in today's environmentally conscious crowd of children and adults who take lunch on the go. The wide range of lunch box types on the market shows that lunch box design has adapted along with style and functionality trends. "No meal has received more cultural attention to its transport than our lunch," according to the National Museum of American History.

Metal Lunch Boxes

Metal lunch boxes provide solid protection for your food. They are strong and deep enough to hold a standard thermos or water bottle for transporting drinks. Metal lunch boxes come in a variety of juvenile themes like super heroes and villains as well as prints and solids. Black metal lunch boxes with domed, hinged, tops, are iconic for today's workers.

A worker's lunch box and thermos.
A worker's lunch box and thermos. (Image: Workman's Lunch IV image by Sophia Winters from Fotolia.com)

Plastic Lunch Boxes

Plastic lunch boxes range from the traditional square shape with a handle to innovative designs with separated interior compartments for snacks, main dishes and ice pack storage. Their rigid material protects food, and some styles can be placed directly in the microwave for heating.

Insulated Lunch Carriers

Trendy, soft-sided lunch boxes come in a variety of shapes, with handles and carry straps. Insulated styles keep food cool or warm, and the flexible material fits in overstuffed backpacks. They do not offer much protection to keep your food from getting crushed, but the broad range of designs and characters on soft-sided lunch boxes keeps them popular.

Standard soft-sided lunchbox.
Standard soft-sided lunchbox. (Image: Lunchbox image by Scott Williams from Fotolia.com)

Vintage Lunch Boxes

In the 19th century workers carried their lunches in metal buckets. If children were sent with lunch at all, it was sometimes packed in empty tobacco or coffee tins. The first mass-marketed lunch boxes were produced in the 1950s and advertised new television shows and characters on their sides. Super heroes, movie performers and musical groups stayed popular during the transition from tin to plastic lunch boxes in the late 1970s. Today vintage lunch boxes are still carried, as well as new models, instead of the traditional brown bags that deplete natural resources.

A tin storage box for a lunch box.
A tin storage box for a lunch box. (Image: tin 2 image by Leticia Wilson from Fotolia.com)

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