7 Food Containers You’ve Actually Been Using All Wrong

Snack smarter with these brilliant, hidden uses for everyday food packaging.

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Unfolded ketchup cup

Ketchup cups: Fan out

You dunk a giant, double-patty cheeseburger (or a handful of fries) into a tiny paper cup of ketchup and—splat! More ketchup coats the table than your grub. Good news: Those frustratingly small paper cups are designed to be fanned to better accommodate your food. Tug the upper rim of the cup outward to expand.

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Unfolded Chinese take out container

Chinese takeout boxes: Unfold

Get your chow mein and plate it, too. Chinese takeout boxes are meant to unfold into a plate for easier chowing down. Translation? No more greasy hands from digging into the box. Simply untuck the sides of the takeout box. If you don’t finish your food in one sitting, easily refold into a box.

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Cup using its lid as a coaster

Soft drink lids: Use as coasters

Investigate your plastic drink lid. Most have three small bumps along the top rim, which match the ridges in the bottom of the cup. Place your cup on the plastic lid for a convenient coaster. Sayonara, water rings. Is soda bad for your brain? The answer may scare you.

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Yogurt container bent in half

Yogurt containers: Fold in half

Chances are, you’ve spotted Greek yogurt with a handy topping compartment. This is usually filled with honey, fruit, or other goodness. You’ve probably tried (and failed) to get it out with a spoon. Put the cutlery down: Most containers with separate toppings are meant to fold in half. Simply bend and pour the toppings into the yogurt.

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Tic tac container on its side with one candy held out in its lid

Tic Tac containers: Practice portion control

Care to eat eight orange Tic Tacs at once? We get it. But for moments when you’re inclined to practice self-restraint (kudos to you), make use of the crater on the underside of the lid, which nicely holds exactly one Tic Tac. Turn the container upside down, give it a little shake, and slowly open the lid while tilting the box horizontally so the other mints don’t fall out. One Tic Tac will be awaiting you in its designated spot.

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Oreo tray with the middle row filled with milk

Oreos: Use tray for milk

Step 1: Gobble up the middle row of cookies (easy, right?).

Step 2: Pour milk into middle row.

Step 3: Dunk cookies in milk.


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Soda can with straw held in place by the tab

Soda can: Tab holds straw

For nights of sophistication—or any other times you use a straw in a soda can—push the tab toward the can’s opening. Poke the straw through the tab to hold the straw in place. Ta-da: No more blindly chasing a straw while watching re-runs.