7 Food Containers You’ve Actually Been Using All Wrong

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

Ketchup cups: Fan out

Ali Blumenthal for Reader's Digest

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. Here's the best place to store condiments in your fridge and pantry.

Chinese takeout boxes: Unfold

Ali Blumenthal for Reader's Digest

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. The next time you order take out, try these nutritionist approved dishes.

Soft drink lids: Use as coasters

Ali Blumenthal for Reader's Digest

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 containers: Fold in half

Ali Blumenthal for Reader's Digest

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. And here's how to fold a yogurt lid into a spoon.

Tic Tac containers: Practice portion control

Ali Blumenthal for Reader's Digest

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.

Oreos: Use tray for milk

Ali Blumenthal for Reader's Digest

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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Soda can: Tab holds straw

Ali Blumenthal for Reader's Digest

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.

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