Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dragon Bento and Bear Bento in Planetbox (2)

These two bentos were made a few months ago. The stamped bear bento was enjoyed by Nikolai when he had half day at school and the dragon bento was made by my hubby. I remember Nikolai, when planning a visit to a friend's house, asked for a dragon bento and dad obliged. My hubby told me that he was unable to find a dragon cookie cutter so he used a dinosaur cookie cutter for the dragon and added fruit leather wings. I have to give him credit for his creativity.:)

Here is the dragon bento made by my hubby.


In this bento lunch:
  • Dragon sandwich with a candy eye, free hand cut fruit leather wings and fire.
  • Organic baby carrots.
  • Seedless black grapes in a silicone cup with a flower pick.
  • This lunch is packed in a Planetbox Shuttle.
Here is the easy stamped bear sandwiches.


In this bento lunch:
  • Bear stamped sandwiches and baby carrots with a cute bear pick.
  • Cherries and stamped cheese.
  • This lunch is packed in a Planetbox Shuttle.
Here are the supplies or similar that I used to create and pack these lunches.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Back To School Bento Lunch

Time flies and it's back to school time for Nikolia, he will be starting Grade 4. Where did the time and summer go? We really did have a fantastic vacation from school, so it seems extra jolting that we will need to change our focus from the next adventure to preparing for school. I am glad that Nikolai is quite comfortable with his school, and the staff there, and that he is always appreciative of educational opportunities and eager to learn. I will have to get back to more of a blogging mode... slowly perhaps.

I believe I have mentioned before that I love our Laptop Lunches leak proof individual containers. Freeze applesauce in the individual container the night before and it's quick to grab and go in the mornings. It leaves home frozen and thaws by lunch time and works as an additional ice pack.


In this bento lunch:
  • A sandwich made with bread cut to the shape of a small notebook with lines made from nori and notations made from fruit leather. Babybel cheese with the no 4 carved on it. Strawberries in a silicone cup.
  • Organic baby carrots with an apple cupcake pick.
  • Frozen applesauce topped with fruit leather cut into an apple shape. I'll add the lid to the applesauce container before closing the lunch box.
  • A spoon wrapped in cloth napkin.
  • This lunch is packed in his Laptop Lunches
  • Linked to Bentolunch.net
Here are the supplies that I used to create and pack this lunch.


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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lunch Box Comparison List

Over the years I have received inquires about which lunchbox I like the most, which ones are leak proof, which ones I would recommend and more. Since I have packed many lunches and alternate among the many lunchboxes in our ever growing collection, I thought it might be helpful to make a list of some of them along with the features that we like and things to consider.

As it is more the case that I have no consistent favorite, I usually make my selection from the lunchboxes I have based on what might be best for that particular lunch. Sometimes it is important that the box is leak-proof, other times it isn't important and one which lacks that particular feature might better complement the contents.

There are times when the layout of the container is a factor; where the number of sections or their relative size would be more suitable for the lunch I am making. Perhaps, like me, you may end up with a collection of them.


To make it easier to view, I have arranged these 'in a nutshell' descriptions here in alphabetical order. This list is based on my own experience over the years of lunch packing.

Easylunchboxes


The  Easylunchboxes container provide three sections for food which makes packing lunches easy.

Features that we like: 
- The containers are microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe and they are made from BPA free, FDA approved, food-safe polypropylene plastic.
- In case you are wondering whether these are similar to those disposable ones sold in stores, the answer is NO. The Easylunchboxes are much higher quality, more durable, the lids are not flimsy.
- The lids come in fun colors.
- Easy to open and close for small hands.
- They are quite economical, come is a set of four for around $14. The sets come in classic and brights colors.
-  The insulated lunch bag is great and I have even used it for carrying other boxes.

Things to consider:
- The boxes are not leak proof and do function best when carried in this Easylunchboxes insulated lunch bag.

**You can see my gallery of lunches packed in Easylunchboxes by clicking HERE.


ECOlunchbox

  
The ECOlunchbox is a stainless steel container and we own both the Solo Cube and Solo Rectangle versions. The Solo Cube measures 5 1/4 inches square, 1 7/8 inches deep, with 600ml capacity and the Solo Rectangle measures 4 3/4 inches wide, 6 3/4 inches long, and 2 inches deep with 850ml capacity. The price range for the Cube and Rectangle is around $16-$20.
They also have several different styles of containers, lunch bags and accessories that can be found here.

Features that we like:
- Easy to open and close for small hands.
- Stainless steel will not retain stains, odors or residues and will last for a long time with proper care.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Lead free, plastic free, BPA free, phthalate free, non toxic and waste free. 

Things to consider:
- The containers are not leak proof.
- Not for use in microwave.

**You can see my gallery of lunches packed in ECOlunchboxes by clicking HERE.

Goodbyn Bynto


The Goodbyn Bynto is a 3 compartment lunch container which will keep food separated. The goodbyn bottle fits nicely in the middle compartment and they carry very cute dishwasher safe sticker sets which my son loves (bottle and stickers are sold separately). The dimensions are 10.75 in x 6.75 in x 2.5 in which the largest compartment holds 2.1 cups of food, the middle holds 2 cups, and the smallest holds 1 cup. The price range is $9-14 depending on where you get them. Recently I have seen them being sold in our local Target stores.

Features that we like:
- Foods are not touching each other with the divided compartments.
- The drink section is great especially when we needed to pack a quick snack and drink for the weekend.
- Top drawer dishwasher safe.
- BPA and phthalate free, FDA approved and 100% recyclable.

Things to consider:
- The lid needs to be closed properly. The important thing is to press along the perimeter of each of the compartments when closing the lid.
- Not leak proof.

**You can see my gallery of lunches packed in the Goodbyn Bynto by clicking HERE.

Go Green Lunch Box


The Go Green lunch box is a generously sized five compartment food container which even comes with a bottle that will hold eight ounces of your preferred drink.

In our particular case it didn't get used much since we got it. Make no mistake, we love the box, it is just that Nikolai usually does not eat that much at lunch time. I am expecting to use it much more this coming school year. It is truly leak proof due to their innovative design. Yogurt which I included with Nikolai's lunch stayed properly within it's compartment. Due to it's size, it fits best with the lunch bag that comes with it.
The dimensions are 13in x 8in x 3 in and the lunchbox set is currently $39.95 on Amazon.

Features that we like: 
- It's leak-proof. The “turn n lock” knob and soft silicone bands were designed to make it leak-proof and airtight.
- The top and bottom are tethered together so I don’t have to worry about the lid getting lost or being forgotten at lunch.
- The drink bottle fits neatly inside the box and the bottle is stainless steel.
- Easy to unfasten retention clips allow lid to be separated for cleaning.
- It is BPA-free, Lead-free, PVC-free, and Phthalate-free.

Things to consider:
- Not recommended for dishwasher.
- It's best used with their own lunch bag since it's size is larger than most standard bags.

**You can see my gallery of lunches packed in the Go Green Lunch Box by clicking HERE.

Laptop Lunches 


The Laptop Lunches is quite versatile, and I like that the bento buddies can be arranged in many different ways, using one container or all depending on what you decided to pack. Laptop Lunches come with an outer container and five inner containers; three with lids and two without. I sometimes like sending applesauce in his Laptop Lunches container since the bento buddies with individual lids are leak-proof.
I love the bright colors of the bento buddies which are available in assorted colors which you can mix and match for more flexibility. 
The outer container measures 9 x 7 x 2.25 inches and the Laptop Lunches bento box is around $24.

Features that we like:
- Removable inner containers can accommodate a variety of food sizes.
- Tray-like feel makes lunch fun.
- The lids seal well to prevent wet foods from leaking onto other foods.
- Its convenient size fits in backpacks and most lunchboxes.
- The containers are microwave safe (without the lids).
- Containers and lids are dishwasher safe--top rack only, no heat boosters.
- Option to order additional inner containers of varying sizes.
- Additional space for utensils and napkins.
- BPA, PVC, and Lead free.

Things to consider:
- The individual lids for the inner containers may be a little difficult to open by a small child with small hands.
    **You can see my gallery of lunches packed in Laptop Lunches by clicking HERE.

    Lock and Lock


    The lock and lock food container has a leak proof locking lid and comes with four inner individual containers. I love the flexibility of using one or all of the inner containers. It has a generous capacity of 870ml and an air-tight seal, but as the inner containers do not seal, liquids  or sauces may leak from one inner container to another. The container currently sells for $11.50 on Amazon.

    Features that we like:
    - Removable inner containers.
    - Leak proof and airtight with the four hinge locking system.
    - Microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe.
    - BPA free.

    Things to consider:
    - The lid may be a little difficult to open/close for younger kids.

    **You can see my gallery of lunches packed in the Lock and Lock container by clicking HERE.

    LunchBots 
     

    We personally own both the LunchBots Duo and Quad. LunchBots are made of stainless steel, come in various sizes and styles and with lids in cheerful colors. The LunchBots Duo measures 6.25in x 4.5in x 1.75in; capacity:600 ml and the price around $19. The Lunchbots Quad measures 6in x 5in x 1.75in; capacity:600 ml and the price is around $22.
    We own the LunchBots duo for four years now and it is still in perfect condition, well worth the price.

    Features that we like:
    - Divided compartments to keep food separate and not touching. 
    - The lids are easy to remove even for small hands.
    - They are easy to clean, will not retain stains, odors or residues since it is stainless steel.
    - Will last for a long time with proper care. 
    - Lead free, plastic free, BPA free, phthalate free, non toxic and waste free.

    Things to consider:
    - The containers are not leak proof.
    - Not for use in microwave.
      **You can see my gallery of lunches packed in LunchBots by clicking HERE.

      PlanetBox


      The PlanetBox Rover has five compartments and two dippers. It measures 10” x 7.5” x 1.5” and price tag of $60 which includes the carry bag. The PlanetBox Shuttle has two compartments and one dipper. It measures 7.75" x 5" x 2" and the price tag of $40 with the carry bag. Each come with a colorful magnet set, perfect for personalizing. The lid is the hinged type and is secured with a metal snap-type latch, so it all remains together.
      The price tag is on the high side but if you’re looking for a box that will last for years to come and that is completely plastic free, high quality and durable, this is the one for you. While the price is a bit more than some alternatives, the value more than justifies it when its quality and all of its many features are considered.

      Features that we like:
      - Made of stainless steel and there’s no worry about BPA.
      - Dishwasher safe, eco-friendly and should last indefinitely.
      - Compartments which provides variety and versatility.
      - Cute magnetic designs to choose from. 
      - The dippers are great containers to hold sauces, dips, yogurt etc that fit perfectly inside the Planetbox.
      - Whether using the handle or the removable and adjustable shoulder strap, the insulated bag is both sleek and functional. On the outside there's a place for a water bottle and a pocket for a napkin or a snack box. On the inside is a mesh pocket for a PlanetBox cold kit or any ice pack, and a couple little straps that secure utensils or a cute note from home.
      Things to consider:
      - It's a little on the heavy side compared to other lunch boxes.
      - Not for use in microwave.

      **You can see my gallery of lunches packed in PlanetBoxes by clicking HERE.

      Trudeau Fuel Everest Box


      The Trudeau Fuel boxes we discovered were easy for our son to open/close when he started kindergarten. This was a big plus for us as we were concerned about him having difficulties and need assistance in the relatively short time allotted for their lunch.The measurements are 5.6 x 5.6 x 2.2 inches and currently sells for $4 on Amazon. There are no dividers, but we often separate foods with silicone cups or baran sheets.
       
      Features that we like:
      - The one piece construction where the lid is attached and therefore there is no chance for it to become separated and lost. 
      - Made from polypropylene which is both eco-friendly and BPA free.
      - Dishwasher safe.
      - Available in multiple colors.

      Things to consider:
      - Not leak proof.
      - Not for use in microwave.

      **You can see my gallery of lunches packed in Trudeau Fuel boxes by clicking HERE.

      The above are just a few lunchboxes from our collection and this list does not include the many double tiered bento boxes, some of which can be seen HERE, or some really cute ones which can also be found on this blog.

      Do you pack lunches for your kids or for yourself, and do you have a favorite lunch box?

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