Put simply, a “bento” or “bento box” is a Japanese lunchbox. What separates a bento box from the turkey sandwich, potato chips, apple, and juice box many of us carried in a Disney lunchbox in elementary school, is the attention to detail and the balance of the ingredients. A proper bento lunch is crafted with care and should be a complete meal with a variety of tastes, textures, and food groups.
The bento boxed lunches prepared by parents across America and abroad have the ability to make use of every last bit of space – the meal is packed neatly and tightly into a small square or rectangular shape, making it easy for kids to transport. It is now an absolute art!
Yes, it’s all the rage and you want in now! You want to pack a bento, but before you start you need to make sure you have something to pack it in! There are so many choices out there, and knowing how to pick one can be a bit confusing.
Here are the 6 requirements for a bento box:
1. The container should be leakproof. This is quite important since you don't want the inside of your carrier bag, whatever it is, to get stained by leaking liquids. Many bento boxes have leak-resistant rubber seals. For any container you use, do a leak-test by filling it with water and shaking it around a bit. If any moisture leaks out easily, you probably want to try another box.
2. The container should be easy to wash and take care of. This may sound like a no-brainer, but you should consider this especially if you want to use a bento box. If you think you don't have the time or just simply don’t want to handwash your bento box, you will want to make sure you get a dishwasher-safe container.
3. The container should be microwave safe if you intend to nuke it. If your kids have access to a microwave oven, they may want to heat up their lunch in it. Most bento boxes are not microwave safe, since the typical bento is meant to be eaten at room temperature. So be sure your container is microwave-ready if you want to heat it up.
4. The container should be the right size for your lunch needs.
If your child likes variety or eats a lot at lunch time, make sure the size is appropriate for their needs. Some kids prefer a multitude of options, especially if they are picky eaters. If your child is very active and has a healthy appetite you want to make sure there is enough food to satisfy their nutritional needs.
5. The container should be insulated with compartmentalized boxes.
Some kids don't like the individual items in their bento boxes to be rubbing against each other. If that sounds like them, then you will need a compartmentalized lunch box. If you would rather have the compactness of a non-compartmentalized box, supplemented when needed with a separate container for something like fruit then, you can buy extra bento containers.
6. The container should be the material that is best for your particular needs.
There are a wide variety of bento boxes available made out of everything from plastic, to lacquered wood, to aluminum, glass, silicon, and melamine. They come in every shape, size, and color imaginable. You just need to decide who will be using it and how they eat. Do you need something light? Do you want something environmentally friendly? Something resistant to heat? Microwavable? Prevents leakage? Is available in a wide variety of designs? Easy to maintain? Lucky for you there are so many choices!
If your kids are getting sick of eating the same thing every day, are tired of carrying a lunch box or lunch bag, switch up their school lunch with a fun easy to use bento box! Never fear, the bento box is here!