After realizing that the Laptop Lunch was too small for J’s needs, I despaired a little, as it’s one of the biggest bento boxes on the market (see my complete review of the Laptop Lunch here). According to the company, it holds 1400 mL or 3 cups, with each of the two larger compartments measuring 8 ounces and the two smaller compartments measuring 4 ounces each. When filled according to the traditional bento ratio of 3 parts rice/carbohydrates, 2 parts veggies/fruit, and 1 part protein (all by volume), the box would provide a 1,400 calorie lunch. That ratio, however, is not what works best for us, and our high vegetable consumption really drops the box’s caloric capacity. What to do?
I zipped through Whole Foods one day on a Coconut Bliss run, when something shiny caught my eye. A whole display of stacked, two-compartment, sparkly stainless steel lunch boxes, looking rather like an arsenal of space capsules, waved cheerfully at me. Oh man. I try to eschew impulse buys, but I just couldn’t resist this one. It was big and looked easy to clean. Bingo!
Here it is in action.
Step 1: fill bottom compartment. This container is so roomy that I fit a generous portion of mixed baby greens, sliced cucumbers, shredded cabbage, sliced green bell pepper, sliced carrots, shredded organic cheddar, and a portion of homemade vinaigrette (the plastic dressing container is from the Laptop Lunch set).
Step 2: place stainless steel divider over bottom layer.
Step 3: pack top compartment. It doesn’t look terribly appealing, I suppose, but this was actually quite tasty — seasoned brown rice, beef and veggie patty (kind of like meatloaf), and an herbed mushroom sauce.
Step 4: slap the lid on top, slide it into its carrier, and fasten it securely. Doesn’t it look just like a space capsule?
Step 5: when I manage to remember, I like to add a cloth napkin to the package, and on his workout days, I often slip a Lara Bar in the loop too.
- Can’t be microwaved. This doesn’t bother us since we try to avoid microwaves and don’t mind eating cold leftovers.
- Doesn’t fit easily into an insulated bag with an ice pack. Since J drops his lunchbox in the refrigerator as soon as he arrives at the office, though, this doesn’t affect us.
Upsides (compared to the Laptop Lunch Box):
- So easy to clean! And only two compartments!
- No plastic.
- Very cool retro look.
- Large capacity. That leaves lots and lots of room for vegetables. Sometimes, I fill up the bottom compartment with cut up veggies and fruit and throw in a small container of peanut butter or hummus.
My great sorrow: It doesn’t have a brand name on it anywhere, I threw away the box, and I can’t find anything just like it online! How awful is that? They aren’t carrying it at Whole Foods anymore either. I plan to ask a manager next time I’m there if they have records of the manufacturer. I’m sure they do, and I would really like to buy another one.