Bento Beginner- Box Confusion!

Joined: 15 Aug 2010
User offline. Last seen 8 years 15 weeks ago.

Hello! I'm new to the board and also very new to Bentos. It looks like a great idea and a lot of fun! I'm always on the hunt for fun, different, healthy lunches so this just seems perfect.
Anyway, I've been searching the internet for the past few days just looking at supplies, trying to figure out what I should get for starters. But when it comes to boxes, I'm overwhelmed! There are so many sizes, styles, brands, I just don't know where to start or what I would need.
One of my main concerns is that the box be made out of a safe plastic. I read some of the reviews of plastics on the Just Bento article, but how do I tell what a particular box is made of? Stainless steel looks like a good option, but they just aren't as cute and many of the styles I have seen look like they would be a little bulky to carry around. Also, what about the safety of the accessories? I saw some cute rice shapers, chopsticks, all kinds of stuff that might be fun for later on, but I just want to be sure of the safety of the product before buying.
Also, I'm really not sure what size I would need, how many layers, etc. What is a good size box for a lunch?
I like the design (and price) of this model-
Would that size be okay? And what about the safety of the materials?
I'm so sorry for all of the questions, but any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much in advance, I look forward to learning a lot from this forum!

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Bento-ing from: San Jose › California
Joined: 22 Apr 2009
User offline. Last seen 7 years 49 weeks ago.
Re: Bento Beginner- Box Confusion!

I remember reading that the amount of ml a bento box is is about how many calories in food you should have for 1 meal. So if you are trying to eat less for diet concerns, a bento with a ml count that corresponds with the reduced-cal meal might be good. That bento you like is only 310ml which doesn't seem like enough room for you (maybe unless you just put fruits and veggies if you wanted to snack).. but for a meal it might not be the best. I'd go for something at around 500 myself..

As for safety, I can't help much, as I haven't read too many things on it. I would think that you should get a bento box that can be microwaved (although I don't think the lid can be) only if necessary. I've seen bento's that are BPA free, "Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in polycarbonate plastic food and beverage containers and in resin linings for cans. Research has shown that BPA can leach into food from these containers and cans."... but I wouldn't be too concerned about this. I would think the only thing you should be concerned about is how you are packing your food ie. letting it cool before you seal it up so that it doesn't go bad.

As for sizes and brands as so on, I think it's more about what you are willing to spend. If you are intent on making bentos, you could always get better quality ( I would think that wood & metal would be a good idea). Of course, I don't think it will hurt to try out one of the plastic one's too. You could also use a tupperware for the time being if you can't make up your mind. I don't think style is too much of a concern as for how much food you want to put into it. If it's easily portable and doesn't have a chance of spilling, you should be okay. :D

Joined: 13 Aug 2010
User offline. Last seen 8 years 2 days ago.
Re: Bento Beginner- Box Confusion!

Hello :)
I'm new to the board too! I just got my first bento box in the mail a while ago. I haven't used it yet, but I'm looking forward to trying it out. It's a two-tier Natural Lunchtime box which I bought on ebay for $17. It came with a drawstring bag, and utensils. I chose it mainly because I liked the cute but simple design, and because it has everything included. It's pink and white but I think it comes in other colors too. It won't keep your food hot, but atleast you can microwave it with the lids off.

There are some really cute thermal bento boxes on ebay and jlist, which would be good if you don't have access to a microwave. I really wanted one but they're all atleast $50 plus shipping. (Ok I'll admit it.. I'm still going to get one, when I have the money!) If you can afford it, I'd go for one of those... but it's really up to you and what your needs are. Take some time and look at all of your options. Think about the foods you'd like to bring for lunch. A thermal style box, with a thermos and two little containers, would be best for bringing rice or soups, while a two-tier plastic box would be more versatile, but not so good for bringing soups.

Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 3 weeks 2 days ago.
Re: Bento Beginner- Box Confusion!

This new post on the main site may answer some of your questions ^_^


The Big Onigiri.

- Wherever you go, there you are. -

Joined: 4 Aug 2010
User offline. Last seen 8 years 14 weeks ago.
Re: Bento Beginner- Box Confusion!

I like my fancy bento boxes, but you can start with more commonly found containers first.

You weren't very clear about what you consider to be a "safe plastic". Could you give more details? If you're worried about your plastics, you might want to look at for their systems. I'm sure that there are other makers as well. Many of my Indian coworkers are using the Pyrex containers that have lids. I haven't asked why they are so popular but it might be that they microwave and they don't stain from the Indian spices.

Most of my Japanese bento boxes are labeled as okay to microwave the base of the box, so a Japanese-reading retailer should be able to tell you if the box they are selling is considered microwave safe by the maker.

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