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27 Ways To Make Your Sad Desk Lunch Happier

Food picks, mason jar salads, portable crock pots, and more ideas for bringing lunch from home.

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1. Bring a portable crock pot to work so you can enjoy a hot meal without waiting in line for the communal microwave.

This 20-ounce crock pot has an easy travel lid with a handle so you can grab it and go. Use it to reheat leftovers, soups, oatmeal, and more. The outside doesn't get hot while it's plugged in, so you don't have to worry about setting your cubicle on fire. Promising review: "I've had this same crock-pot for about four years now and it has saved my life! I love it so much and it works wonders. I actually leave the outside part in my office and take the food container part home with me. I wash and clean it then put it back in my lunch bag. It just makes life so much easier. I also prefer warming my food up in this crock-pot than using a microwave. Best part is I could leave it on for two hours straight and not having to worry about anything. My food is nice, tasty and warm. This is just amazing!" —Babygal422Get it from Amazon for $17.09 (available in four colors).
amazon.com

This 20-ounce crock pot has an easy travel lid with a handle so you can grab it and go. Use it to reheat leftovers, soups, oatmeal, and more. The outside doesn't get hot while it's plugged in, so you don't have to worry about setting your cubicle on fire.

Promising review: "I've had this same crock-pot for about four years now and it has saved my life! I love it so much and it works wonders. I actually leave the outside part in my office and take the food container part home with me. I wash and clean it then put it back in my lunch bag. It just makes life so much easier. I also prefer warming my food up in this crock-pot than using a microwave. Best part is I could leave it on for two hours straight and not having to worry about anything. My food is nice, tasty and warm. This is just amazing!" —Babygal422

Get it from Amazon for $17.09 (available in four colors).

2. Spiralize up some zucchini noodles for a meal that's half way between a salad and a pasta dish.

Replace your noodles with a veggie and — BAM — no more falling asleep at your desk after a carb heavy lunch. Get a spiralizer from Amazon for $27.99. Learn how to make zucchini noddles with garlic-parmesan roasted red pepper sauce here.
anediblemosaic.com

Replace your noodles with a veggie and — BAM — no more falling asleep at your desk after a carb heavy lunch.

Get a spiralizer from Amazon for $27.99. Learn how to make zucchini noddles with garlic-parmesan roasted red pepper sauce here.

3. Take inspiration from picnic trips for easily portable meals that go beyond potato salad.

amazon.com

Picnics are lots of fun... so why shouldn't lunch at work be fun?

Get A Moveable Feast from Amazon for $10.98, Barnes & Noble for $18.14, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

4. Make your food cute so you'll be excited to break it out at lunch time.

Try these little eye picks that make it easy to eat finger food (unless you find it hard to eat food that's looking at you). Promising review: "These make lunches fun! I use them regularly in my kid's bento style lunches." —PegGet a pack of 10 from Amazon for $5.31.
amazon.com

Try these little eye picks that make it easy to eat finger food (unless you find it hard to eat food that's looking at you).

Promising review: "These make lunches fun! I use them regularly in my kid's bento style lunches." —Peg

Get a pack of 10 from Amazon for $5.31.

5. Add chips to your otherwise healthy sandwich so you can still feel an ounce of joy come 12 p.m.

You can't beat that satisfying crunch. Learn how to make this "epic avocado sandwich" here.
amuse-your-bouche.com

You can't beat that satisfying crunch. Learn how to make this "epic avocado sandwich" here.

6. Keep a stash of sriracha packets handy for when your meal needs a little zip.

Get a 50 packets for $11.99 or two refillable keychains for $12.99 from Amazon.
amazon.com

Get a 50 packets for $11.99 or two refillable keychains for $12.99 from Amazon.

7. Make extra colorful wraps so every afternoon can feel like the end of a rainbow.

Your lunch break is the new golden hour. Get the recipe for Thai peanut chicken wraps here.
ambitiouskitchen.com

Your lunch break is the new golden hour. Get the recipe for Thai peanut chicken wraps here.

8. Feel like you're carrying important cargo — and keep lunch thieves away — with the right lunchbox.

Promising review: "I bought this as a gift for my work buddy for Christmas. He got a good laugh out of it, and continues to get laughs as people notice the box and become slightly alarmed, especially when he pulls out a pudding cup and starts eating it." —SweetpeaGet it from Amazon for $16.39.
amazon.com

Promising review: "I bought this as a gift for my work buddy for Christmas. He got a good laugh out of it, and continues to get laughs as people notice the box and become slightly alarmed, especially when he pulls out a pudding cup and starts eating it." —Sweetpea

Get it from Amazon for $16.39.

9. Try packing a bento box so making lunch for work feels more like a fun project instead of an obligation.

amazon.com, amazon.com

This three-tiered bento box separates your lunch into a three-course meal. It comes with utensils, carrying case, and handle. You can choose to bring one, two, or three containers because they click into each other. Now that you have a bento box, grab a cookbook to help you come up with meals to pack.

Get the bento box from Amazon for $29.99 and the cookbook for $16.01, Barnes & Noble for $16.24, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

10. And get a bento accessory kit so you can turn your lunches into works of art.

It comes with four sandwich cutters, eight metal cookie cutters, 18 silicone cupcakes liners, and 10 animal food picks. Promising review: "My granddaughter this morning used the sandwich cutters this morning. We had fun making her lunch for school. I wish I had these when her mother and uncles were kids. I would cut their sandwiches in different shapes with a paring knife. The cutters are a lot easier!" —Carolyn M.Get a set of 40 from Amazon for $15.98.
amazon.com

It comes with four sandwich cutters, eight metal cookie cutters, 18 silicone cupcakes liners, and 10 animal food picks.

Promising review: "My granddaughter this morning used the sandwich cutters this morning. We had fun making her lunch for school. I wish I had these when her mother and uncles were kids. I would cut their sandwiches in different shapes with a paring knife. The cutters are a lot easier!" —Carolyn M.

Get a set of 40 from Amazon for $15.98.

11. Use a muffin pan to create tiny, handheld lunches, like mini quiches.

Like, for example, these awesome veggie quiche cups. Check out the recipe here or see more muffin tin recipes here. Get a muffin pan from Amazon for $8.99.
thekitchenismyplayground.com

Like, for example, these awesome veggie quiche cups. Check out the recipe here or see more muffin tin recipes here.

Get a muffin pan from Amazon for $8.99.

12. Keep your dressing in a little squirt bottle so your salad won't get limp and soggy in the fridge.

Promising review: "Love these! Got two of them as a birthday gift for my husband because he takes his lunch nearly every day and they're great. He uses it mostly for bbq sauce or ketchup or mustard. Easy to clean by hand (I know because I'm the one who does that!), easy to use, and they fit nicely in a lunchbox with everything else." —MegGet a pack of three from Amazon for $8.99 or Jet for $11.30.
amazon.com

Promising review: "Love these! Got two of them as a birthday gift for my husband because he takes his lunch nearly every day and they're great. He uses it mostly for bbq sauce or ketchup or mustard. Easy to clean by hand (I know because I'm the one who does that!), easy to use, and they fit nicely in a lunchbox with everything else." —Meg

Get a pack of three from Amazon for $8.99 or Jet for $11.30.

13. Feel healthy by throwing together a kale and quinoa bowl for lunch in like, two seconds.

The recipe only takes 20 minutes so you can make it first thing in the morning. Get the full recipe here.
Izy Hossack / BuzzFeed

The recipe only takes 20 minutes so you can make it first thing in the morning.

Get the full recipe here.

14. Jam a salad into a mason jar, because those things are cheap, easy to find, and straight-up beautiful.

Use this cookbook to help guide your journey into mason jar lunches. Get 24 mason jars from Amazon for $31.99 or the cookbook from Amazon for $13.59, Barnes & Noble for $19.99, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.
amazon.com

Use this cookbook to help guide your journey into mason jar lunches.

Get 24 mason jars from Amazon for $31.99 or the cookbook from Amazon for $13.59, Barnes & Noble for $19.99, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

15. Put your lunch in fancy food bags because presentation is everything.

thegrommet.com, etsy.com

Get the silicone one from The Grommet for $6.48+ (available in four colors) or the waxed canvas one from WAAMIndustries on Etsy for $24 (available in 11 colors).

16. Pour a little spicy honey on your food because everything tastes better with some hot sweet goodness on top.

Promising review: "This honey has a nice kick. Be sure to put it ON something before you try it for the first time. I sampled it straight from a spoon and thought it was way too spicy, but when I put it on cornbread it was just fine!" —L. SwansonGet it from Amazon for $14.99.
amazon.com

Promising review: "This honey has a nice kick. Be sure to put it ON something before you try it for the first time. I sampled it straight from a spoon and thought it was way too spicy, but when I put it on cornbread it was just fine!" —L. Swanson

Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

17. Deconstruct your tacos so you can eat your lunch with a fork instead of shoving tortillas in your mouth and getting cheese on your keyboard.

It's also a great way to take care of leftovers from taco night. Check out this awesome taco bowl recipe here.
cookingclassy.com

It's also a great way to take care of leftovers from taco night.

Check out this awesome taco bowl recipe here.

18. Use utensils that double as pens so you can work and eat at the same time and get out of the office on time for once.

Promising review: "I really love these things. The pens actually work for writing, and they ship with extra (regular) pen caps so you don't have to store the utensils in a messy drawer (I keep the utensil tips in a plastic bag in my desk drawer). That was a pleasant surprise." —Chesterfield8Get a set of three from Amazon for $17.99.
amazon.com

Promising review: "I really love these things. The pens actually work for writing, and they ship with extra (regular) pen caps so you don't have to store the utensils in a messy drawer (I keep the utensil tips in a plastic bag in my desk drawer). That was a pleasant surprise." —Chesterfield8

Get a set of three from Amazon for $17.99.

19. Invest in a Guac-Lock so you can bring guacamole to work that's actually still green and appetizing.

Promising review: "This product is everything it says it is and more!!! My guacamole stays fresh for days! Easy to clean. I can stow and serve in same container." —Christine BalenaSee BuzzFeed's full review here. Get it from Amazon for $19.99.
amazon.com

Promising review: "This product is everything it says it is and more!!! My guacamole stays fresh for days! Easy to clean. I can stow and serve in same container." —Christine Balena

See BuzzFeed's full review here.

Get it from Amazon for $19.99.

20. Fill a thermos with soup for a hot and ready-to-eat meal you can break out the second the hangry hits.

This thermo pot comes with a cork lid and a metal spoon for easy soup-enjoying on the go. It keeps hot food warm for six hours and cold food cool for eight hours. Get it from The Grommet for $39.95.
thegrommet.com

This thermo pot comes with a cork lid and a metal spoon for easy soup-enjoying on the go. It keeps hot food warm for six hours and cold food cool for eight hours.

Get it from The Grommet for $39.95.

21. Use egg molds to make your sad boiled eggs into happy little animals.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "These have worked great for hard boiled eggs. Peel the eggs while hot/warm, and gently place into one half of the mold. Carefully close the lid or place the top half of the mold onto it. Tap, or gently apply force while closing to jog the egg into position. You'll want to pay attention to the size of the egg. Large or extra large work fine for most molds. You might need a jumbo for the car or bear, though. Align the egg sensibly with the mold and it should all work out fine. Drop the mold containing the egg into an ice water bath for a while and the shape will set and you'll have a fun shaped hard-boiled egg for your kiddos." —Porter Woodward

Get a set of six from Amazon for $7.99.

22. Throw your dinner leftovers in dumplings for a meal that feels brand new.

Check out the full recipe here.Get gyoza wrappers from Jet for $1.99.
foxeslovelemons.com

Check out the full recipe here.

Get gyoza wrappers from Jet for $1.99.

23. Keep an extra snack in this helpful carrot that holds veggies and a dipping sauce.

Promising review: "This carrot container is hilarious! I love using it. I put baby carrots inside and hummus in the lid. It makes for a fun break at work. I think it's very well made." —SharonGet it from Amazon for $8 (also available in apple or celery form).
amazon.com

Promising review: "This carrot container is hilarious! I love using it. I put baby carrots inside and hummus in the lid. It makes for a fun break at work. I think it's very well made." —Sharon

Get it from Amazon for $8 (also available in apple or celery form).

24. Roll your own sushi and automatically become the envy of the whole office.

This kit comes with a training frame, paddle, and roll cutter. Promising review: "Made sushi for the first time last night and it was awesome!!! This thing is so easy!! I was able to make rolls with rice on the outside with no problem, just added a little water to the roll mat and voila! I purchased eel sauce, made spicy mayo, and put them in squirt bottles to give the platter that restaurant look. I also added black sesame seeds to the outside of one and a very inexpensive black caviar to another. My guests and husband were all amazed!" —Beach MomGet it from Amazon for $24.95.
amazon.com

This kit comes with a training frame, paddle, and roll cutter.

Promising review: "Made sushi for the first time last night and it was awesome!!! This thing is so easy!! I was able to make rolls with rice on the outside with no problem, just added a little water to the roll mat and voila! I purchased eel sauce, made spicy mayo, and put them in squirt bottles to give the platter that restaurant look. I also added black sesame seeds to the outside of one and a very inexpensive black caviar to another. My guests and husband were all amazed!" —Beach Mom

Get it from Amazon for $24.95.

25. Enjoy some cold brew in a little juice box so you won't feel tempted to go for a cup of iced coffee and inevitably pick up some replacement lunch while you're out.

Get it from Jet for $3.79 (it gets cheaper when you buy more than one). You can also subscribe to get cold brew on tap here.
instagram.com

Get it from Jet for $3.79 (it gets cheaper when you buy more than one). You can also subscribe to get cold brew on tap here.

26. Finish off the meal with a small dessert, like some fancy, organic adult animal crackers.

These fancy snacks come in vanilla, lemon, and our personal fave, chai. Get a box of four from Amazon for $14.99.
Good Zebra

These fancy snacks come in vanilla, lemon, and our personal fave, chai.

Get a box of four from Amazon for $14.99.

27. And then sport a clear lunchbox so everyone can see what you're having for lunch and get super jealous.

Promising review: "I've gotten many compliments on this bag from co-workers who require clear bags at their business. Great quality and fits plenty of items inside. It was flat and stiff when I first bought it, but after leaving it in the car for a bit to get warm, helped me to get it into the correct shape. There is a strong plastic smell that goes away by the next day when you open it up and air it out. Really like this lunch bag. Great bargain!" —Troika CheuGet it from Amazon for $14.79.
amazon.com

Promising review: "I've gotten many compliments on this bag from co-workers who require clear bags at their business. Great quality and fits plenty of items inside. It was flat and stiff when I first bought it, but after leaving it in the car for a bit to get warm, helped me to get it into the correct shape. There is a strong plastic smell that goes away by the next day when you open it up and air it out. Really like this lunch bag. Great bargain!" —Troika Cheu

Get it from Amazon for $14.79.

Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides here!

Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.
Ryan Pattie/BuzzFeed

Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.