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7 self-heating lunch boxes, so you don't have to share the office microwave

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If you’re on the go all day, it’s easy to find yourself eating a lackluster lunch or skipping meals altogether. But according to research released in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, a regular meal schedule is better for your body. That’s where the best self-heating lunch boxes come in — they’ll easily plug into a wall or car outlet to warm your food, so you can enjoy a hot meal wherever you are, whether it’s at the office or on the road.

If you're just planning to take your meal to the office, you can opt for a heated lunch box that only plugs into a standard wall outlet. Or, if you're not sure that you'll have a standard outlet handy, you can opt for an electric lunch box that comes with power cords for both your car and a standard wall outlet, so you have the option of mobility.

Style-wise, most electric lunch boxes are made from high-quality plastic with stainless steel food containers that are easy to remove and wash, but if you prefer a more traditional lunch tote, you can opt for an insulated lunch bag that holds your food storage container, regulates temperature, and heats up your food when plugged in.

And to make packing a hearty meal even easier, some lunch boxes come with utensils so all you need to do is prep your favorite food. Whether you’re toting breakfast, lunch, or dinner, these are the best self-heating lunch boxes on Amazon that’ll serve up hot food in no time, with no microwave or stove required.

1. The Overall Best

This heated lunch box has plugs for the car and a standard wall outlet, so you can use it while you’re on the road or in the office. The lunch box is made from food-grade plastic with a stainless steel food tray, which has three compartments to keep your side dishes separated from your main course. A helpful indicator light lets you know when the lunch box is heating, and when your lunch is finished, the stainless steel tray lifts out for easy cleaning. There’s also a utensil storage box on the top and a fork and spoon are included, so all you need to pack is your favorite food.

According to a reviewer: “Love this thing. I work construction and get tired of sandwiches and buying lunch every day gets costly. I heated up some leftover Hamburger Helper. Took about 20 minutes. I like that it comes with a spoon and a fork.”

  • Power source: 12- to 24-volt car outlet and 120-volt wall outlet

2. A Food Warming Tote

With a 1.5-liter capacity, this portable food warmer is compatible with most flat-bottom food storage containers — just place the container with your lunch inside the tote, plug in, and let it heat up. Because the tote is insulated, it’ll regulate the temperature of your food for hours. However, this option only has a wall outlet plug and there’s no indicator light to let you know when it’s heating. Choose from nine colors, including blue, black, and purple.

According to a reviewer: “I just plug it in with a frozen meal in the morning and by lunch it's cooked to perfection. The simplicity of this little device makes even better , no switches or power settings just plug it in and it's cooking.”

  • Power source: 120-volt wall outlet

3. An Electric Lunch Box & Insulated Lunch Bag

This electric lunch box comes with a separate thermal lunch bag, so you can pack everything inside to keep the temperature regulated until it’s time to heat up your food. The lunch box is made from food-grade plastic and stainless steel with separate compartments for every part of your meal, and the stainless steel tray is removable for easy cleaning. The leakproof lunch bag is made from durable Oxford fabric with foam padding and insulation that keeps food cold or warm while you’re on the go. Plugs for the car and wall outlet are included, and the lunch box also comes with a fork, spoon, and dishcloth. There’s also an indicator light on the lunch box to let you know when it’s heating.

According to a reviewer: “I love this food box! It heats food gently and is perfect for car trips. I would give it 10 stars if I could. The only improvement would be for it to be a little deeper to hold more food.”

  • Power source: 12-volt car outlet and 120-volt wall outlet

4. A Portable Crock-Pot That’s Great For Soups

If you want to pack a hearty soup, stew, or oatmeal, this Crock-Pot food warmer is a great choice. The removable, dishwasher-safe stainless steel food container holds up to 20 ounces of food, and there’s a dishwasher-safe inner lid and an outer lid to seal food and prevent spills. This Crock-Pot has a warming base — just plug it into a wall outlet and let the warmer heat your food while you work. When unplugged, the cord wraps around the base of the Crock-Pot for easy storage. Choose from six colors, including blue, black, and pink.

According to a reviewer: “After growing tired of having semi-hot or having to wait for forever on the microwave at work, I decided to purchase this. It is wonderful. I plug it in about an hour before I have to eat lunch and my food is perfectly warmed.”

  • Power source: 120-volt wall outlet

5. An Option That Heats & Steams Food

This tiered electric lunch box is designed to steam your food for a fresh, hot meal. To use, just pour water into the base, plug the lunch box into a wall outlet, and press the button to start heating. There’s an indicator light to let you know it’s working and the lunch box automatically turns off when the water runs out to prevent burning. It’s made from food-grade plastic with two stainless steel food storage containers, and it comes with a fork, spoon, and chopsticks. To keep your food extra fresh, the lunch box also comes with a vacuum pump to remove excess air from the food storage containers.

According to a reviewer: “I bought this for my son who is a student. He is often caught out studying without the ability to stop somewhere to heat up a lunch. It takes about 15 minutes to heat up the amount of food I pack (I did 2 drumsticks, a cup +- rice), frozen peas I think about a cup, but definitely test before using so you know how long it will take for you.”

  • Power source: 120-volt wall outlet
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