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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Ketchup paper cup with burger and fries
Photo: Shutterstock

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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Chinese takeout box with noodles
Photo: Shutterstock

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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Coffee cup with holder and lid
Photo: Shutterstock

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.

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Yogurt container with spoon
Photo: Shutterstock

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 Containers
Photo: Monticello/Shutterstock

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 cookies
Photo: All Kinds of Good/Shutterstock

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. Voilà!

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Coca Cola
Photo: Fotoatelie/Shutterstock

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.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest