A Bento Addiction

There is a new craze in my house. My kids are headed back to school this morning and are proudly toting Bento Boxes.

Bento Boxes | ASpicyPerspective.com

These compact Japanese style lunch boxes are almost all they can think about…

Who else will have one?

What ingredients should we buy for filling the bentos?


How will they “design” their lunch each day to look special?

It’s a lot to ponder for a 9 and 7 year old.

Bento Box | ASpicyPerspective.com

Although their bento addiction is a little over-the-top at the moment, Lt. Dan and I have determined it is a good thing. Traditionally bento boxes are filled with lean protein, rice or noodles, fruit, and veggies, often raw.

That sure beats PB & J every day, with potato chips and a cookie.

Bento Lunch Boxes | ASpicyPerspective.com

We eat very healthy about 90% of the time, but in the past, school lunches have been a grey area. There are just so many “convenience” options that have great marketing tactics, yet when you flip the package, are loaded with junk, junk and more junk.

The fact that my kids are asking for red cabbage and bean sprouts to improve their bento designs can only be positive.

Japanese Bento Boxes | ASpicyPerspective.com

Reasons for Startinging a Bento Addiction:

  • Bento Boxes tend to be small, encouraging healthy portion sizes.
  • Bento designing promotes healthier food choices.
  • Bento designing is a creative outlet.
  • It’s fun for kids to pack their own lunches.
  • Bento packing and cleaning builds personal responsibility.
  • Bentos are earth-friendly, cutting down on plastic baggies.

Japanese Bento Lunch Boxes | ASpicyPerspective.com

Our current plan is to make time each night for the kids to pack their own bento boxes and place them in the fridge. This will save time in the morning, make them feel proud of what they’ve made each day, and allow the ever-present mommy guilt to subside a bit in the lunch department.

It’s a win-win.

Kids Bento Boxes | ASpicyPerspective.com

Get ideas for bento box packing on my latest Pinterest Board, The Bento Box.

You can buy all sorts of unique bento boxes online, but the best prices I’ve found are at your local Asian market and at World Market Stores. They tend to sell bentos and tiffins (metal Indian lunch canisters) for $5-10.

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44 comments on “A Bento Addiction

  1. Brian @ A Thought For Foodposted August 22, 2012 at 6:22 am Reply

    I love those boxes… I kind of have a thing for little compartments. Love the idea that you’re teaching kids about portion control with these.

  2. shelly (cookies and cups)posted August 22, 2012 at 6:37 am Reply

    I love these Bento Boxes! I am so going to get a few for my kids this school year!

  3. Paula - bell'alimentoposted August 22, 2012 at 7:17 am Reply

    We’re gearing up for back to school next week! I’ll be packing ours soon! World Market DOES have a fantastic selection (not that I’m there more than once a week now or anything ; ) xoxo

  4. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggiesposted August 22, 2012 at 8:57 am Reply

    I went to Japan a few years ago and I came home with about a dozen bento boxes & accessories and I never use them. I really need to start–I love that the lunches you made in them are fun, but completely doable. Because as much as I would love to make Hello Kitty out of rice and seaweed, it’s so not happening. :)

  5. marlaposted August 22, 2012 at 9:08 am Reply

    I LOVE this lunch box post!! Such helpful and great tips on packing bentos.

  6. Myra of Mommy+Me Lunchboxposted August 22, 2012 at 9:14 am Reply

    Great post. Where did you get the colored containers for the Lock&Lock container?

    • Sommerposted August 22, 2012 at 9:32 am Reply

      Myra, that was in the bento section of my local Asian foods store. It came with the clear box and the four colored squares, all for $5.

  7. Laura (Tutti Dolci)posted August 22, 2012 at 9:49 am Reply

    Such a cute idea, and a perfect way to involve your kids in the lunch process!

  8. Kari Mposted August 22, 2012 at 9:54 am Reply

    I love the animal chopsticks! They’re so cute. I’d love to get some for my daughter, do you know where you got them from?

    • Sommerposted August 22, 2012 at 11:35 am Reply

      Hey Kari, you can order them on Amazon. :)

  9. Lindsayposted August 22, 2012 at 10:57 am Reply

    I love bento – I grew up in Tokyo, so it always baffles me that people haven’t hopped on the bandwagon more here!

    I love your blog, and I nominated you for an award. Check out here! http://funnyloveblog.com/2012/08/22/one-lovely-blog-award-thanks/

    • Sommerposted August 22, 2012 at 11:44 am Reply

      Thanks friend, that’s so kind!

  10. Amy Tongposted August 22, 2012 at 11:31 am Reply

    Oh yeah. I love having the kids pack their own lunches. That way, they know what’s in there and they are more likely to finish it up as well. :)

  11. Andrea @ Vegvaciousposted August 22, 2012 at 11:53 am Reply

    Oh my gosh – I love these! I think they would be great for my own lunch — I’m always scrambling around to find enough Tupperware (my husband’s a hoarder LOL) and I love that they can act as a form of portion control. Going online shopping right now :D

  12. Chrissyposted August 22, 2012 at 12:11 pm Reply

    These are adorable little Bento box ingredients. I love them! I want to pack my lunches and snacks in Bento Boxes, but I know that I won’t feel like washing the extra pieces…

  13. Angieposted August 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm Reply

    I’ve never bought bento boxes, but they sure are cute. Maybe it would make my son eat all his lunch more often.

  14. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppersposted August 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm Reply

    These little boxes are becoming a big thing! I should get one of these for my work lunches! It’s a great idea!! I love your post today!!

  15. [email protected] Food Ramblingsposted August 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm Reply

    So cute! I might need one for work :)

  16. Mariahposted August 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm Reply

    Can you give us a web address for where to buy these, preferably in an earth-friendly version that will keep the things inside COLD? Thank you!

    • Sommerposted August 22, 2012 at 1:05 pm Reply

      Hey Mariah, I mentioned at the end of the post that these were purchased locally at a little Asian food store and World Market for $5-10. You can buy them online on Amazon, BentoUSA.com and LaptopLunches.com, but they are a bit more expensive.

      …Whole Foods has the laptop style bentos right now for back-to-school. They run around $30.

  17. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.posted August 22, 2012 at 1:03 pm Reply

    these are so fun!!

  18. Cassieposted August 22, 2012 at 2:48 pm Reply

    I am always so intrigued by these, and what a fun way to get the kids involved in packing lunches! I have loved following your Bento Box Pins too!

  19. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchenposted August 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm Reply

    A very cute way to make school lunches fun and get kids interested in food. I wish I had these when I was growing up!

  20. Bonnie Kposted August 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm Reply

    I wished I had one when I was in school. I did have a cute lunch box, though.

  21. Monetposted August 22, 2012 at 4:58 pm Reply

    Bento boxes are wonderful…and I have fallen into a habit myself. My best friend from Japan sent me one two years ago, and I bring it to lunch almost everyday of the year! I loved seeing all the yummy treats and eats you packed in these…great stuff, my friend!

  22. Belinda @zomppaposted August 22, 2012 at 5:49 pm Reply

    Think your kids are going to extremely popular at lunchtime!

  23. Lisa | With Style and Graceposted August 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm Reply

    These are so great!! I love all the different compartments and lunch ideas!

  24. Allisonposted August 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm Reply

    Bento sounds really cool but my kids will eat at least twice as much food as I ever see in a bento box for their lunch. No they’re not overweight, they are just active little boys and burn a lot of calories. Does the bento box satisfy? Do you pack more than one?

    • Lisaposted July 20, 2014 at 3:54 am Reply

      I have a couple different sizes, so yes, I sometimes send more than one box. And sometimes its to separate moist food from crackers and sammies so they dont get damp. Some boxes have two tiers and there are ones that hold up to 500 ml. They are completely customizeable to whatever your children like. :)

  25. Kateposted August 23, 2012 at 6:19 am Reply

    My kids go back in a couple of weeks. These are adorable. Great ideas for those picky eaters.

  26. Carolynposted August 23, 2012 at 6:31 am Reply

    Sure makes lunch time a lot more special for little kids! Love them.

  27. Jen @ Savory SImpleposted August 23, 2012 at 6:36 am Reply

    I have always loved bento! If it have kids they will definitely be getting these beautiful lunches. I love how bento makes healthy food fun.

  28. [email protected]posted August 23, 2012 at 8:06 am Reply

    I’m sold! I want one for myself and one for the preschooler .. I hope she will fill it with something other than an Oreo. :/

  29. Shawn @ I Wash...You Dryposted August 23, 2012 at 10:24 am Reply

    YES! We have converted to Bento Boxes for our school lunches this year, and they are AMAZING! I love your boxes, we use Easy Lunch Boxes that you can buy on Amazon. My kids absolutely love their lunches this year, and I actually enjoy making them! I am going to do a post soon about a weeks worth of Bento Lunches! So fun!

  30. Aggieposted August 23, 2012 at 11:00 am Reply

    Loving every single thing about these! We have been going bento style this year and it’s been great. I’m not very creative, but am getting lots of ideas. Love those silicone muffin cups for extra compartments!

  31. Jersey girl cooksposted August 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm Reply

    Love, love, love this! Great ideas! I am heading to buy some bento boxes online tonite. My daughter never wants a sandwich so she will love this.

  32. Diane {Created by Diane}posted August 24, 2012 at 9:14 am Reply

    I just LOVE all the compartments in these, maybe I’ll have to start packing my lunch in them they are so cute!

  33. Ilkeposted August 26, 2012 at 5:43 pm Reply

    I need to get one of these. I love the size and compartments. I get hungry often at work and I put my snacks in small ziplocks. Things tend to get mushy though :) World Market is one of my favorite places to shop so I don’t mind stopping by there after work :)

  34. Aleighaposted August 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm Reply

    Ummmm, yeah…kind of noticed your bento addiction on Pinterest ;) and I love it!!! Looking forward to making school lunches in another couple of weeks. Thanks for all the ideas!

  35. JulieDposted August 26, 2012 at 9:37 pm Reply

    These are so cute!!

  36. vianneyposted August 28, 2012 at 6:25 pm Reply

    I love this idea Sommer! and having the kids create their own each evening is such a great experience! too cute~

  37. Jeanetteposted August 29, 2012 at 7:47 pm Reply

    Bento boxes are such a fun way to get kids to eat a variety of healthy foods – great pics!

  38. Becka @ Just a Bunch of Momsenseposted September 4, 2012 at 10:44 am Reply

    Love this post about bento lunches! I just got a similar square bento box by Kinetics, and packed it for the first time this morning! So fun! :D

  39. Ninaposted August 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm Reply

    These Bento Boxes are fantastic. Have been helping with my niece regarding a more healthy way of eating along with portion control. These boxes would certainly bring the point across in a positive manner, not counting she would have the coolest lunch at school. That alone encourages a more positive dining outlook.