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A Guy’s Guide to Packing Your Lunch

For too long, weekday lunches have been trapped in a false dichotomy: the sad PB&J versus the bank account-depleting lunch out. Well, there’s a better way.

The average employed American man spends up to $46.50 a week on lunch. Do the math yourself and you’ll find that making the same stuff yourself costs about 60 percent less. That alone should be enough to convince you to start packing your lunch, but there’s second crucial factor: health. When you have control over the ingredients, you can build something that is both healthy and delicious.

As Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, said "a man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will's freedom after it." The challenge therein (as we understand it): to pack a lunch that will renew your faith in your own—and humanity’s—freedom. Okay, that sounds like a tall order best left to the world’s elite chefs. But it isn’t has hard as you might think. Start with these rules.

Quality Food in Big Batches

Don’t think day to day with your lunches—that’s a surefire way to lose 30 minutes of your morning making the same boring sandwich. Instead, think week to week. Try making big batches of veggie-filled stir fries, hearty soups, or wholesome grain salads on Sunday evening. They’re a snap to store, transport, and microwave. Need inspiration? Just take a spin through Food52’s Amanda Hesser’s chronicle of her kids’ lunches. We’ll take what they’re having.

Tupperware to Stand the Test of Time

Ditch the tinfoil and invest in some solid containers. Think twist tops and impact resistance— stuff you'll want to keep in your arsenal for posterity.

Brown Bag Upgrades

No more paper bags. They’re flimsy, and if a spill occurs on your commute you’re bound to ruin the lining of that new Jack Spade shoulder bag. Pick up some hardware that’s meant to handle the job, like an indestructible Stanley Thermos or Roosevelt Supply’s classic canvas tote, which is lined with nylon to save your stuff from spillage.

Nicole Caputo

Photo: AP

This article is part of the Birchbox Man 31-Day Challenge for January 2015. Click to see all daily challenges and to learn how you can win sweet stuff all month.

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