Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gluten-free Bento Lunches, Part 2: Laptop Lunches

So my first jump into bento style lunches was with Laptop Lunches, a bento system that is sold together or in parts. The two kits that I purchased were complete systems that included four inner compartments, stainless steel fork and spoon, outer case and a carrying bag. At the store they retailed for $39.99 each.

Early last year upon visiting my kids school for lunch, I had made my mind up that I was going to stop with school lunches, even though it made life much easier. If it was something that I looked at and was revolted by, why on earth would I allow my kids to consume it. I started to put together lunches for the kids, but I just found that I was using so many plastic baggies and containers, I really wanted something that was a unit.  I admit I had been pretty hard up to get these containers for a while. I had seen them in my local Wegman's Grocery store and kind of coveted them.  
I really think the Laptop Lunches systems are a great buy. After using them for almost a year now, I have found them to be pretty indispensable. The containers are easy to clean (just be VERY careful about the dishwasher if they fall down by the element, they are a melted mess) and very durable. It makes it pretty easy to portion out your kid's lunch across the daily meal requirements, ie vegetable/fruit, protein, dairy etc. The system even comes with a really nice booklet to help you get started. It talks about the environmental benefits of using the system and includes some nice recipe ideas too. 

While I do love the system, I do have a few complaints. I sort of wish that all the containers came with lids. I would like the option to be able to use each space lidded or not. For instance if you put two crunchy snacks in with a sandwich or some veggies, the un-lidded snack would get all soft or soggy. I also think that for the $39.00 that the system should come with the water bottle or cooling pack. While I do think that the kit on it's own is worth the money because you really get a great deal of use out of it, lets be honest, $39.00 for a lunch box is not cheap. I think I would also like to have the company offer a few different size containers than what is standard. I would like to be able to have the freedom to be a little more bento-y with my lunches, but the containers as they are are pretty size restricting for cute food design. 

All in all, I think that Laptop Lunches are great place to start for bento. It gives you a clear idea of how to portion and get started. Its my go-to system when I am a little short on time. 

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