Oct 12
2012

How to Pick a Bento Box (+ A Giveaway!!)

in ad-free, Bento Buddy, Giveaway, Tips & Tricks

So you want to pack a bento, but before you start you need to make sure you have something to pack it in!  There are a lot of choices out there, and knowing what to pick can be a bit confusing if you’ve never packed a bento before.  But don’t worry, with a few simple guidelines we’ll get you going in no time!  We’re using the buddy system, remember?

Bento Buddy

There are a wide variety of bento boxes available in Japan made out of everything from plastic, to lacquered wood, to aluminum, and they come in every shape, size, and color imaginable.

Different kinds of Japanese bento boxes

There are lots of Japanese bento boxes for sale on amazon.com, as well as through sites like BentoUSA.  Zojirushi makes some of my favorite bento packing options, because they make high quality insulated and compartmentalized lunch jars. (Keep on reading for a chance to win one!)  There are also lots of other options, like Laptop LunchesEasy Lunchboxes, and Sistema Lunch boxes.  But how do you actually go about picking a container that’s right for you?

Sistema Lunch Box Products

5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Bento Box

  1. Size matters:  Who is the bento for?  If it’s for your 6-year old then they definitely don’t need a ginormous container, because they don’t need that amount of food!  When choosing a size, keep in mind how much food the person who will be eating the bento normally consumes, then choose a box accordingly.  I tend to eyeball things, but if you want more technical help, check out the size guides on Lunch in a Box and Just Bento.
  2. Easy to care for: No matter how much you might love a bento box, if it’s a pain to clean you’ll start liking it less and less.
  3. Easy to use: Again, you have to consider who the bento is for.  If it’s for a child, is it easy to open and close?  Is it microwaveable?
  4. Leakproof: Is the container leakproof or come with a special band that helps keep it tightly closed?  Remember, you want a container that keeps the food in it!
  5. Insulation: Do you want a container that will help keep food hot or cold?  Or do you plan on just using ice or gel packs to keep food fresh?

If all else fails . . . Not sure you want spend any money on a bento box, or you’re not even sure you want to pack a bento?  No worries, start slow!  Find an airtight plastic container, like a square or rectangle-shaped piece of Tupperware, and use that!  See? No excuses!

I have teamed up with my friends at Zojirushi to give away FIVE of their lunch jars to help you out with your own bento packing!  I love their jars because they will last a longtime if well cared for, they are well-insulated so they keep food hot/cold for hours, they are easy to wash, they have removable inner bowls that can go in the microwave (except for the Stainless Steel Food Jars which are one piece and cannot go in the microwave), and they are really nice looking!

Zojirushi Lunch Jars

Zojirushi Food Jar Giveaway!

There will be five (5) lucky winners!

Rules: The giveaway will close Friday, October 19th, 2012 at 12:01 am EST. The giveaway is open to readers with a US address. The winners will be chosen randomly and notified by email. Winners will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.  To enter, please follow the steps below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

Alessa October 12, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Love this.

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Tamiko October 12, 2012 at 2:29 pm

My daughter loves her bento boxes, but I’d love some new ones and my youngest daughter will need some starting next year!

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Amy October 12, 2012 at 2:32 pm

These bento boxes are so beautiful and practical. Can’t wait to pack my kids’ lunches in them. :)

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Michelle October 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I really want to start doing this!

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Kenny October 12, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Nice! I love Zojirushi stuff.

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Geraldine October 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Thank you for the tips and for coming up with this giveaway!

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Nolwenn October 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Oh I love this brand and I am looking for new bento boxes for my whole family. I live in Canada but can have a mailing address in the US (yaaay)
thanks for the chance to win.

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Wendy October 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Zojirushi food jars are awesome! I’d love to win one!

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Kirsty October 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm

We use containers that are rectangular with portions separated out – these seem to work well. I can’t wait to see what everyone packs in their lunches! :)

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Jane October 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm

This is just the inspiration I need to start packing healthy lunches for work again. Thanks! :)

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suzanne October 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Thanks for the info, I’ve always wanted one! Maybe I’ll win ^^

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Tril October 12, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Any suggestions on health considerations like lead-free or BPA free materials in these bento boxes?

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Callan October 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I’d love to win one for my little brother!

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Jean Layton October 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Haven’t seen these colors before, sure to brighten lunch.

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camel October 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Yes! I’ve seen such artistic lunches that friends in Japan make (forest scenery out of pieces of celery, etc) I’d love to try my hand at just packing a bento, let alone trying to be artistic about it. :)

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jen @ the baked life October 12, 2012 at 4:07 pm

love this. My daughter is going to daycare in February and I’m totally lost on what to feed her. Can’t wait for the rest of this series :)

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Marlo O October 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Awesome giveaway :)

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vaishali October 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm

wow..this is great!

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Heather October 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm

I have been considering getting a bento box for forever! This would be perfect :)

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Michaela October 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I have spent hours on the internet looking at adorable and clever bento boxes for my lunch, but I never bought one :P Maybe now is the time to go bento! (love the pink one)

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Jessie October 12, 2012 at 4:59 pm

These are so cool I have been thinking I would like these for me! I pack my lunch daily and the really are neat looking!!

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Therese October 12, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I pack my lunch every day and I would love to have a cute container to put it in!

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Chelsea K October 12, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I pack my lunch for work every day and it’s nice to get inspired to try something new!

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S. Brooks October 12, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I pack a bento everyday for work. Love your inspiration!

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Diana @ VeggieNextDoor October 12, 2012 at 5:35 pm

I pack my lunch every day but never seem to have the right-sized containers for all of the components. I would love a Bento Kit!

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Leah Evanson October 12, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Would love to try these Bentos!

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Erin October 12, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I’d love to win these — they’re gorgeous!

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Amber October 12, 2012 at 7:21 pm

I pack 3 lunches every day! I would LOVE to win one of these!

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Cathy B*****y October 12, 2012 at 7:30 pm

though I do not comment very often, I love your site. I always look forward to reading your posts, your ideas, your recipes, and tips! So excited about this giveaway.. Zojirushi is such an amazing brand. I first discovered them when my first Asian friend brought rice in a portable rice maker/steamer by them to a potluck… many years ago… I was hooked since! Would love to win one of these sets! I especially love the Mini Bento Stainless Lunch Jar set in blue, and the 17 0z pink food jar -thermos.. thanks so much for the opp!
Cathy B*****y pbprojecthope at yahoo dot com

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Shannon October 12, 2012 at 7:33 pm

LOVE those Bento options!! Great for the kiddos lunch!

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Aimee October 12, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Wow, the Zojirushi lunch sets are beautiful!

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Kelly G October 12, 2012 at 7:59 pm

I’ve been wanting to get some bento boxes. Very cool.

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Rebecca@A Dusting of Sugar October 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Bento lunches are so cool! I have a feeling I would like veggies a lot more now if they had been presented to me in a bento as a child.

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pam October 12, 2012 at 8:32 pm

love the idea of bento…still learning how. Lunch seems a little more special.

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Rebecca October 12, 2012 at 8:51 pm

I’ve seen photos of awesome bento boxes, but never actually made myself one. I’m looking forward to seeing what you post!

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Linda October 12, 2012 at 9:45 pm

I’ve done everything you asked except for tweeting…because I know if I start that too, I’m doomed. Love that darling yellow jar…it would be perfect for my youngest grandson. Thanks for offering this!

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Sophia October 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm

I love bento and Zojirushi!

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Iryna B. October 12, 2012 at 11:00 pm

This is so awesome! Would love to win one of them!

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lej October 12, 2012 at 11:31 pm

It would be great to win one. The food jars are really going to be the next big thing because they are versatile would love to give one a try.

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Kelie E October 12, 2012 at 11:55 pm

This is so helpful! I salivate over your bento pics on instagram and am dying to try this myself.

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VW October 13, 2012 at 12:04 am

Cute! Japanese lunches are the best too :D

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Kristen Jones October 13, 2012 at 12:09 am

I would love to win one for my new kindergartener!

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Candace October 13, 2012 at 4:02 am

LOVE the bento box I brought back from Japan. Would love to share a new one with my nephew.

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Katherine October 13, 2012 at 4:13 am

Love love love! I don’t know what’s been holding me back from getting bento boxes for the kids, but this was a great kick in the butt… thanks!

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Judi October 13, 2012 at 6:43 am

I love the idea of a lunch box with compartments! I wish I had had something like that when I was a kid. My food was always getting mixed together!

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Becky October 13, 2012 at 6:44 am

Love this! I love bento boxes for my daughter- it’s great for her daycare!!!

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Rachel October 13, 2012 at 6:58 am

Love these! So handy.

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Ilana October 13, 2012 at 8:03 am

I love the bento idea. I’m going to try it for my 6th grader’s lunches.

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Ye October 13, 2012 at 8:05 am

I’ll love to win one for my mom.

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Sandra October 13, 2012 at 8:28 am

I would love one of these bentos!

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