Bento boxes I covet and my actual bento boxes

bento-boxes

 

I like the idea of funky bento boxes but I rarely buy them because they are not all that practical for me. Most bento boxes are based on the assumption that you will have rice in one compartment, not anything sloppy or juicy. I don’t eat a lot of starches but I do eat a lot of stews and they leak when I use normal bento boxes. Bento boxes aren’t that sandwich friendly either. I don’t eat a lot of sandwiches but when I want to make them I have nothing to put them in.

What’s important for me when choosing lunch containers:

  • shape – will it fit the types of foods I eat
  • size – not too big as to encourage overeating but not to small as to require extra containers
  • leakiness – I eat a lot of soupy things so leak proof is a must (both levels in case of a multi level container)
  • aesthetics –  I have yet to find something both functional and beautiful but I keep up hope. I always have and always will choose function over form.

What I covet

bento box

  1. Lego bento box – I don’t really need to explain why I covet it. It doesn’t look too leak proof so I will have to satisfy my lego love by picking up some lego chopsticks next time I go to the lego store. I just bought the fork and spoon set for the resident toddler. Image source.
  2. Wooden bento box – I love wood. I have a wood for and spoon set that I use at home all the time. I can see this getting stained by something tomatoey or leaking all over my bag. I would buy this if I drove to work everyday and could keep my bag flat at all times.
  3. Slim bento boxes – I had one. When I bought it I thought it would fit in my bag better than a wider box but discovered that it didn’t. These also have a leaking problem. The bottom level is for rice and the lid for that doesn’t stop leaks, even from things that aren’t saucy. If you only use the bottom for really dry things you will be fine.
  4. Donburi bento box – I love the shape and the non-pink ones look cool. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t eat a lot of starches so there is nothing that will absorb excess juice from stews. I have a feeling these babies will leak.

What I actually use is pretty boring but effective. All links are for Amazon Japan.

my bento boxes

  1. Larger bento box with rubber around the inside edge - (top left) this one is for meal salads. Sometimes I put smaller containers, sans lids, inside so I can take things like humus and chickpea salad without mixing.
  2. Bento boxes with rubber around the inside edge – (top right) this is the one I have for non-salad meals. It is perfect for stews, pastas and curries. I would choose the black version if you eat a lot of tomato sauces as it could get stained over time. Mine hasn’t but I don’t make tomato sauce that often.
  3. Ziplock screw lock containers – these have never leaked on me, even with soup. I have all three sizes. The large ones are great for salads, you can layer the ingredients with the dressing and the hard veggies on the bottom and the leafy stuff on top. Then you just shake it up at lunch to get everything coated. No extra containers and no soggy lettuce. I use the middle size one the most.

What do you use for your lunches? If you have any product recommendations please leave them in the comments below.

 

26 comments… add one

  • Screw-on lid containers all the way. They aren’t pretty, but neither is tomato curry soup all over the bottom of my purse, so I’ll take it.

  • Screw-on lid containers all the way. They aren’t pretty, but neither is tomato curry soup all over the bottom of my purse, so I’ll take it.

  • I use a stainless steel bento box!
    This one: http://justbento.com/files/bento/images/stainlessbento.jpg

    It has a latch-on lid with a silicon seal so it doesnt leak and a stainless steel removable divider plate inside. It has an capacity of about 670ml. I bought it 2 years ago and i use it almost everyday for my lunch! I cycle to work everyday so i needed to get something that wouldnt leak, also since i usually eat cold lunches its great. I never microwave anything~ i suppose it may not be good if you want to reheat it at work or something. But if like me you like lunches that can be eaten cold then this bento box is really practical and very durable and plastic free~

    • Kirsty Girl

      Thanks for the recommendation. That would be a great warm weather bento box.

  • I use a stainless steel bento box!
    This one: http://justbento.com/files/bento/images/stainlessbento.jpg

    It has a latch-on lid with a silicon seal so it doesnt leak and a stainless steel removable divider plate inside. It has an capacity of about 670ml. I bought it 2 years ago and i use it almost everyday for my lunch! I cycle to work everyday so i needed to get something that wouldnt leak, also since i usually eat cold lunches its great. I never microwave anything~ i suppose it may not be good if you want to reheat it at work or something. But if like me you like lunches that can be eaten cold then this bento box is really practical and very durable and plastic free~

    • Kirsty Girl

      Thanks for the recommendation. That would be a great warm weather bento box.

  • Joanna

    Do you know if the Ziplock screw lock containers are BPA free?

    • Kirsty Girl

      Great question. I couldn’t find any info on the website so I just sent them an email. I’ll post the answer as soon as I get it.

    • Kirsty Girl

      They just called me back and they are BPA free.

      • Joanna

        Great news! I’ve been looking for something of this shape, but didn’t know about these screw lock containers. They go in my amazon basket :) thanks for checking the BPA-freeness out!

  • Joanna

    Do you know if the Ziplock screw lock containers are BPA free?

    • Kirsty Girl

      Great question. I couldn’t find any info on the website so I just sent them an email. I’ll post the answer as soon as I get it.

    • Kirsty Girl

      They just called me back and they are BPA free.

      • Joanna

        Great news! I’ve been looking for something of this shape, but didn’t know about these screw lock containers. They go in my amazon basket :) thanks for checking the BPA-freeness out!

  • If you’re looking for watertight boxes I’d recommend Black+Blum boxes.

    I have a review here you can check out if you’d like :
    http://ohbentouk.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/blackblum-review-and-first-christmas-bento/

    • Kirsty Girl

      Those look nice. Anything with a rubber ring like that is good.

      • They’re really good, they have a range of 5 (so far I think) different lunch box options :)

  • If you’re looking for watertight boxes I’d recommend Black+Blum boxes.

    I have a review here you can check out if you’d like :
    http://ohbentouk.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/blackblum-review-and-first-christmas-bento/

    • Kirsty Girl

      Those look nice. Anything with a rubber ring like that is good.

      • They’re really good, they have a range of 5 (so far I think) different lunch box options :)

  • I really love the Zojirushi SL-XCE20HG Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tiffin Box. I purchased it last week for my 10yo daughter’s lunches. It contains three spill proof soup containers and one bread box. It keeps the food hot or cold. I put heated leftovers from dinner into my daughters lunch and the food is still hot when she eats it 4.5 hours later.

    • Kirsty Girl

      I’ve been eyeing that one for a while. I am thinking of one for a gift. I’m glad to know that you like it. Thanks for the recommendation.

  • I really love the Zojirushi SL-XCE20HG Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tiffin Box. I purchased it last week for my 10yo daughter’s lunches. It contains three spill proof soup containers and one bread box. It keeps the food hot or cold. I put heated leftovers from dinner into my daughters lunch and the food is still hot when she eats it 4.5 hours later.

    • Kirsty Girl

      I’ve been eyeing that one for a while. I am thinking of one for a gift. I’m glad to know that you like it. Thanks for the recommendation.

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