Bento box of the week: Fit & Fresh Breakfast Chiller

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This week's bento, or rather food-on-the-go, box is from the popular Fit & Fresh™ line from Medport. Fit & Fresh™ products are plastic containers with a cooling element included in some way. This makes them interesting for use with food that needs to be kept chilled, especially in the warmer months.

The bowl here is the Fresh Start Breakfast Chiller, one of the smallest containers in the Transportation range. I just got it yesterday, and I have been playing with it a bit. Here's what's included in the small plastic bowl.

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The blue donut shaped thing is the cooling element. The small round container fits inside the donut, which rests in the large bowl, leaving space underneath. The orange bowl screws onto the plastic bowl, and finally a lid with an integrated spoon snaps on it all. Quite a complicated thing.

The spoon is quite clever - it folds up, and when opened snaps back into the handle part to keep it securely open.

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I've tried using it for its intended purpose, as an all-in-one transporter for a bowl of cereal with milk and fruit. I first tried putting the fruit in the bottom bowl, but that didn't work - when I put the cooling element and the small bowl on top, the upper orange container wouldn't screw on properly. So I put the cereal in the bottom bowl, and the fruit on top. The milk goes logically in the small bowl. Here I have a whole small banana and a small apple cut up (tossed with a little lemon juice to prevent it turning brown).

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What I like about the Breakfast Chiller:

  • It's fairly compact, and has that 'cute' factor.
  • It does indeed keep the milk refrigerator cold.
  • I like the clever spoon.

What I don't like about it:

  • It is surprisingly heavy. This is due to the comparatively large size of the cooling element. I believe it's that big because the aim is to keep the milk very cold, and in that task it succeeds quite well. But it's heavier than the other lunch boxes with cooling elements that I have.
  • It feels a bit clunky. The parts don't quite fit together as well as they could. You have to really double-check to see the lid on the small bowl is completely shut, or the milk is going to spill all over. The screw-on part takes several tries to get it to really tightly and securely close. The integrated spoon in the lid is nice, but it doesn't quite seem to click in properly, so that it fell out in my bag. It feels just a bit unfinished to me somehow. (Yes I do tend to be picky about these things.)
  • The instructions say it's top rack dishwasher-safe, but I don't think it's sturdy enough to be microwaved. (Edit: The Fit and Fresh website says: "All Fit & Fresh™ products are easy to clean, freezer, microwave and top rack dishwasher safe (except for the ice packs). Do not microwave the ice packs." So I guess the Breakfast Chiller should be microwaveable.)

So, you might think a single-purpose container like this isn't worth getting. Well I think it could be. It doesn't have to be used just for cereal. With a bit of imagination, it would serve quite well as a bento box for a Japanese-style, densely packed lunch. I measured the mililiter capacity (as I do with all new or potential bento boxes) and the total for all containers is about 600-650ml, which is fairly ideal. So for bento lunches that need to be kept cool, this may be quite interesting. I am going to play around with it more and see what combinations work in it. In the meantime, it's great for those days when I want breakfast just ready to go, or even just have some cereal and fruit for lunch.

Fit & Fresh™ products are available in many stores in the U.S. (this one was acquired at a Target); online they are sold on ye old Amazon for $8 (or even cheaper) . The 'suggested retail' seems to be $9.99. Unfortunately they don't seem to have any overseas distribution (or I haven't found any information about it online).

(I'll have another Fit & Fresh™ review down the line. Thanks to Argentee for putting it on the shopping list!)