Let us agree, as kids, we were all excited for the lunch break. Everyone would sit together and open lunchboxes and share the food. But nowadays canteen has taken over the homemade lunch and now can rarely spot teens carrying lunch boxes. For good digestive health and better immune, you should never feel shy to carry homemade food to school or work. Also, many health experts suggest people have a homemade meal several times a week. So we’re picked some of the best bento boxes of 2020.
What is a Bento Box?
Bento boxes come from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and other Asain countries where rice is the staple food for lunch. The specific compartments and dividers in the box have made them popular for packing lunch. A typical bento box has 5 compartments. Not all compartments need to have the same size ratio. For example, the rice compartment will have a big size as compared to the salad or dip space.
The concept of a bento box is to help you have a well-balanced diet during the mid-day. When you put small portions of fruits or cooked grains in the space it improves your eating habits. Not only the homemade meal is healthy but it also aids weight loss. And what could be better than a bento box that lets you pack multiple food items without any of them touching each other? This way you can have a healthy portion and snack on your favorite cracker at last for taste.
Ever since bento boxes have become popular in the market, there came many brands in the market claiming their product to be the best. And many of them have miserably failed while we were testing them. After going through several products we’ve listed down the best Japanese bento boxes in the market today. You’ll find different materials and compartments of the bento lunch boxes in the review list below. We’ve picked the best lunch box from each material so by the end of the article it becomes easy for you to decide what type of box do you need.
|Original BentoHeaven Lunch Box||PP + Bamboo||4.7|
|GreenLunch 3-in-1 Bento Box||Stainless Steel||4.5|
|Prep Naturals Glass Bento Box||Glass||4.4|
|AOOSY Bento Lunch Box||Wooden||4.4|
|Wagindd Stacking Bento Box||Food-Grade PP||4.5|
1) Original BentoHeaven Bento Box Bundle with FREE Lunch Bag – Leakproof Lunch Boxes
The simple and sophisticated design of the Original BentoHeaven bento lunch box is loved by many. It has two compartments with an adjustable divider on the one. And the depth of both the boxes is enough to fit sandwiches without the crust on. But not only sandwiches but leakproof silicone gasket lets you pack liquidy foods like sauce or dips. Plus, you can slide the divider easily as per the sauce quantity you want.
Despite the minimalist design, BentoHeaven comprises of a dedicated spoon and fork compartment on the top. Also, no need to search for compatible cutlery separately as the BentoHeaven BPA-free lunch box already includes a pair of chopsticks, spoon, knife, and fork. In addition to cutlery, it also includes lunchbox notes. You can write a heartfelt note every time after packing a tasty meal for your kid or partner.
If you do not have time to cook food in the morning then BentoHeaven microwavable bento box is perfect. This BPA-free unit is microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safe. So take advantage of its qualities by preparing the meal at night. Then simply store it in the fridge and either microwave in the morning or the microwave of your office. Thanks to ventilation lock lid design that cuts down reheating time as well as keeps the content fresh inside for a long time.
2) GreenLunch Eco Stainless Steel 3-in-1 Bento Lunch Box with Pod Insert
No matter how food-safe material the companies use, parents are always worried about their kids’ health. And if you do not trust plastic products then go for GreenLunch stainless steel bento box. The material is promised to be of high-quality stainless steel and guaranteed to be BPA-free, PVC-free, Phthalate-free, lead-free, and 100% non-leaching. So one thing sure with this bento lunch box is the food you pack for your loved ones does not touch any plastic part at all.
Apart from the high-quality material, we love the size of this bento lunch box. It comes in 2 levels with 3 containers. There are two 3-cup size containers and one small 3/4-cup container. The small container easily fits in any of the compartments of the large bento box. Plus, the 3-cup size is large enough to fit a full-size sandwich with crust on. You can pack fruits in the small compartment while the big bites go in the larger section.
The top-grade stainless steel of this bento lunch box will not rust or corrode even if you pack liquidy foods. However, it is important to note that the unit is not 100% leak-proof. Although the lids sit tightly on the place there’s room for thin liquids like soup to leak. So avoid packing soups, stew, etc with GreenLunch stainless steel bento box. But you can hassle-free pack thick sauces like hummus or yogurt in its nesting pod. Your cracker break won’t feel dry when there room for thick dips.
3) Prep Naturals Glass Bento Box Containers with Lids (3 Pack)
If you love to pack fruits for your mid-day meal then Prep Naturals glass bento box is perfect for you. Certain food and fruits have a high acidic nature and might reach with aluminum or steel if kept too long. This not only ruins the taste of food but also produces a foul smell. And you might not want to open the box just to throw away food in the garbage. So instead of steel go for best quality glass bento box that does not react with any type of food, no matter how acidic or alkaline.
Thanks to the borosilicate glass material of Prep Naturals that is thick and perfectly balanced. Such type of glass is less prone to cracking and shattering. Besides, the food storage container is made with top-notch dishwasher, microwave, oven, and freezer-glass safe glass. The glass lunch box is divided into three sections with glass dividers. There are no gaps between compartments that can cause internal leaking. You can pack ketchup, hummus, dips, etc, without the fear of leakage spoiling your office bag.
Keeping a spoon and fork in the bag is one common thing we miss out on in our busy morning schedule. But thanks to Prep Naturals special transparent cutlery lid on top of the lunch box that reminds you to keep a spoon and fork before you pop your tiffin in the bag. Other than that, the lid seal that prevents liquid from leaking is removable to clean the grooves. It is better to handwash the grooves and silicone ring to get off the bacteria and stuck food.
4) Wooden Japanese Wooden Bento Boxes for Adults and Kids – FDA Approved
Japanese traditional lunch boxes were made of wood. And if you want to experience traditional Japanese style lunch packing then Aoosy wooden bento box is perfect. Made of natural wood, this multi-functional double layer box is all safe to pack food. In addition to natural wood, the unit is also finished in a natural paint. The paint is healthy, safe, BPA, PVC, and phthalates free. This means your food will not infuse any toxic smell even if it remains inside the box for a couple of hours.
Not only the good quality of wood but the design and lock of the unit brings out the traditional Japanese bento box feel. Instead of a latch or lock, it comes with a black band. This band goes around the box to hold wooden lids in the place. The wooden bento box separates as four parts, the inner lattice, 2 boxes, and a lid. The wooden divider is removable in case you wish to pack only one type of food.
Speaking of food, this wooden Japanese lunch box is not meant to pack liquidy foods like pasta, soup, etc. Instead, it is best for Japanese foods like sushi, rice roll, buffet, dry fruits, etc. The container is great for hiking, camping, lake fishing, and other outdoor activities where you need tasty and healthy food. You can take your steel cutlery or use the wooden spoon and fork that comes along with the wooden box.
5) Leak-Proof, BPA-Free Stacking Bento Box by Wagindd
BPA-free plastic bento boxes are best to pack lunch for kids. They are easy to open and safe as compared to glass containers. And no need to worry about toxic substances with Wagindd 100% food-grade bento box. This FDA-approved, food-grade PP plastic lunch box and silicone gaskets are super durable and safe. Plus, the high-quality material will not react or stain with acidic or turmeric-based food like chicken curry.
While many products failed the leakproof test, this one passed the test with golden colors. Which makes this leakproof lunch box ideal for packing soup, stews, curry, etc. The rubber gaskets on the lid of each compartment prevent liquid from coming out. Speaking of compartments, this microwave-safe bento box comprises of 4 independent removable containers. One 500 ml, one 400 ml, and two 180 ml containers. All of them are completely leakproof. The small containers are perfect for dips and soup.
A microwave cap on the lid lets you reheat the contents inside conveniently. You can store the insulated lunch box in the freezer or fridge, then reheat the contents while you’re ready to eat. Open the steam tabs on the lid before microwaving. And like many other products on the list this cute bento box also provides fruit pick, spoon, and fork. The size and smooth edges of cutlery are perfect for kids.
Things to Look in the Best Japanese Bento Box
Now that you’ve seen, bento box comes in different material. Each material holds its properties and makes it special from the others. But if we had to sum up, we would classify bento box material broadly into stainless steel, glass, wood, and plastic.
Stainless steel: Sturdy stainless steel bento boxes are perfect for adults and teens who love homemade food. They are tough and cannot be bent or cracked easily. However, there are chances that acidic foods will react to steel such as pickles, lemon, etc of stored for long hours. But on the positive side, they are easy to wash and can last for a lifetime with little maintenance.
Glass: Again, fragile glass bento boxes are ideal for grown-up teens and adults. Glass lunch boxes are perfect for people who like to pack citrus fruits or pickles frequently. Thanks to the nature of glass that do not react with such foods and keep them fresh for a long time. Another benefit of glass food containers is, they are microwave, oven, and freezer safe.
Wood: A traditional Japanese bento box is made of wood and instead of locks there is a band that holds every compartment together. They are great for packing Japanese food. However, wooden boxes are not as user-friendly as plastic or steel. This means you cannot soak them, microwave, or put them in the freezer like other materials. They require extra care and will last for a lifetime.
Plastic: These are the most convenient method of packing food. While going for plastic, choose BPA-free, food-grade, and non-toxic material. Plastic food containers are best to store soup and other liquidy foods as the silicone gasket prevent internal leaking. Plastic boxes come in character bento boxes that are cute to look at as well as functional. They are perfect for babies and kids.
Bento boxes have partitions to store more than one kind of food on the same platform. Traditionally these partitions were fixed but now you can find lunch boxes with an adjustable divider. Or else, you can completely remove the divider. So no matter which material you go for a bento Japanese style box will have multiple partitions. The concept of partitions is to make people add different types of food for a balanced diet.
Generally, bento lunch boxes are airtight. So the hot food you pack does not get cold for a couple of hours. And the same applies to cold food. They are not considered as insulated lunch boxes but their airtight quality and thick walls do help to keep food warm and cold for a long time.
Can you put a bento box in a microwave?
Yes, microwave-safe bento boxes are all safe to heat food in the microwave. But you should read the manual up to what degrees your bento food container is safe. Plastic and glass bento boxes are generally microwave-safe but you cannot reheat food in the microwave using a steel or wooden Japanese bento lunch box. If you lack some serious time in the morning and not able to prepare lunch in the morning then go for microwavable lunch boxes. This way you can prepare a meal at night put the container in the fridge and reheat lunch at the workplace easily.
Bento Box Lunch Ideas
Let’s get back to school! here are some of the lunch ideas that you can execute using such classic Japanese lunch boxes.
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Bento boxes are a great choice for portion control. The division on the box lets you store different kinds of meals on the same platform. The traditional Japanese bento box was invented for people to have delicious and healthy homemade food while out from home. And as we already said, a homemade meal is far better than chunks of bread at the canteen. So do not feel shy to carry homemade food. Get yourself or your kid the best bento box and fill in some healthy portions and some tasty foods. Turn boring lunchtime to healthy eating time.