CHOOSING THE RIGHT BENTO BOX
During the summer I don’t really get a break from making lunches as my kids attend day camp. Right this second, I’m avoiding making my daughters camp lunch by writing this article. Am I the only parent who feels this way? I would rather cook a three-course meal for the family than pack lunches. After two years of being at the lunch making helm, my husband now outright refuses. He drives the kids to school, so that’s his revised contribution to the morning routine.
But, I did purchase a PlanetBox and it has made a significant difference in relieving the morning lunch stress. I chose PlanetBox as our bento of choice because of its stainless-steel construction (guaranteed BPA-free) and durability factor. Ours came with a stainless round container for foods like rice, and also a smaller stainless container for sauces and such.
I have one child who refuses to eat carbs of any kind so simple things like a sandwich are out. The PlanetBox provides a range of compartment sizes so that I can add the snackable items that seem to fill him up. I generally do my healthy version of a “Lunchable” for him.
The other child can’t have any dairy or gluten and hates meat and veggies. Today I convinced my dairy free protein hating child to have a sandwich; lettuce and meat on a bun, cut into a funky shape of course, with my sandwich cutter. In addition to some sliced fruit for each of the boxes – I was good to go! Bonus, I don’t have to buy the individually packaged items – I can buy in bulk and pack according to the size of the compartments.
The PlanetBox has really taken the guess work out of making lunches. The compartments basically dictate to you what to put in them. I’m not a “night-before” lunch maker, so in the early am, I appreciate the help.
TIPS FOR CHOOSING A BENTO BOX:
1) If you’re concerned about BPA, there are quite a few stainless steel bentos available such as; LunchBots, PlanetBox or traditional Indian tiffin containers. They are dishwasher safe but not microwaveable. Glass containers are also a good option; Rubbermaid Premiere and Lock & Lock Glass Euro Lunch Box set.
I was very tempted to order the traditional bento boxes online. The Japanese models have super cute designs and patterns, which would appeal to the little ones, especially if you have trouble getting them to eat at school.
Just make sure your containers are easy enough for them to open and close without supervision.
2) If your child likes soups or wetter foods like curry, etc. the majority of bento box’s are not watertight. Use a thermos for these foods. There are stackable bento-like thermos’s available on amazon.com.
3) Let the kids help! It’s super important to have the kids involved in the lunch making process – even if their contribution, for their age, is telling you what they like and want for lunch. Get them to give you a list of items that they will eat. You don’t want everything you send in the morning to come home again at night. Been there. Super gross. The idea of “eating the rainbow” also makes this process easier to generate ideas for different foods.