What are Bento Boxes?
Bento Boxes are Japanese Lunch boxes, and in my blog I am focusing on a morphed version of the classic Japanese wood boxes to a more travel friendly lunch box style. Bento boxes are a fantastic alternative to the plastic baggies and tin foil waste needed to produce a take away lunch or dinner every day.
Bento Boxes offer a variety of different styles: metal stackable bowls, plastic squares with smaller inserts, bags with fitting Tupperware like pieces, small plastic bentos that only fit one thing, and my favorite the lunchbox style with a built-in tray of compartments. Because when you have a 6 year old it is VERY important that the food never touch!
Bento Boxes are not easily found at the stores, so really the best place to purchase them is online. There are a variety of online merchants offering hundreds of different styles. I actually own 3 different sets, so depending on what I am feeding my child… I will have the right set. If you are uncomfortable shopping online, Amazon.com has many for sale, and they are one of the most trusted online sites available.
Benefits of Bento Boxes
Bento Boxes are becoming much more popular in the United States. They cut down on trash by eliminating the amount of plastic bags and tin foil used. The are economical because they cost about the same as a typical lunch box but they do not need any plastic baggies so they will save you a ton of money there. They are easy to wash at the end of the day. They protect the food, so you or your child doesn’t end up with a smooshed sandwich or chips. Of course it keeps the food separate, so the carrots will never touch the chips or vice versa. The schools have less trash to take out. For me my son comes home with half eaten compartments, so I get to keep track as to what my son at during the day. You can buy Bento Boxes that keep your food warm or keep them cool… so you lunch time options are a little more open.
This is my FAVORITE benefit, and if you are a mom you know… How many times are you at the grocery store with your child and the BEG you for the lunchables? In our house we do not buy Lunchables (gross)… they really only want the Lunchable for the dessert anyway. So I am able to put together my sons own homemade lunchable. I can give him cheese and crackers with sliced fresh roasted chicken and fruit with no corn syrup. (My son gets plenty of junk food… but I draw the line at Lunchables). So with this, I just tell my son to show me what lunchable he wants and we make it with better quality ingredients at home. So for me these Bento Boxes are a dream.
What can you put in Bento Boxes?
Bento Boxes were created for a typical Japanese meal, lots of veggies, some protein and a carbohydrate. The food is beautiful to look at and a delight to eat. Creativity and colorful was what you saw every time you open your Bento Box. For the typical lunch day at my son’s school he does not get that. We put cheese and crackers, chicken nuggets, leftover pizza slices, sandwich (cut with a cookie cutter), fruit, veggie strips, a dessert, pretzels, chips, crackers, gummy worms or bears, yogurt, or whatever else I may have in the house.
If you read up on Bento Boxes you will see that many people take these very seriously… that there is a size for each calorie allowance… for me Bento Boxes are handy tools that allow me to pack a lunch with out trash, and in my household they are BPA free plastic and metal containers. My son thinks all the little compartments are cool and we even found one with a superhero on it. I have been asked by my son’s friends parents as to where to buy the lunchbox my son has… and that is where I introduce them to the genius that is Bento Boxes.