Whether you're meal-prepping for yourself or packing lunches for the kids, having the right containers can make all the difference. You may have heard of PlanetBox, since they're known for making some of the best lunch boxes out there. Their products are useful and made from stainless steel, but they can be expensive.
If you can't stomach their price tags, you're not alone – and there are definitely more affordable options out there. That's why we put together this list of our favourite bento boxes in Canada, so you can see some alternatives that work just as well. But let's start by answering one major question: What is a bento box?
To put it simply, a bento box is a lunch kit that comes with different dividers, so you can put different foods (that usually make up an entire meal) in the same container. Almost every brand included in our top five is available online at Well.ca, and you can usually find them at stores like Chapters. We tried to pick options specifically for kids and adults from companies that create bento boxes in different sizes, colours and shapes.
Monbento makes all the tools you need to pack you lunch, including bento boxes, reusable cutlery and water bottles. They're probably best known for their Monbento MB Original The Bento Box, which has two separate, airtight containers that are microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe. Their containers come in different colours, and they make the Monbento MB Tresor just for kids.
Takenaka specializes in sleek bento boxes that are probably best suited for adults. They're known for their pastel colours and different shapes – from their traditional Single Bento Box, all the way to the Takenaka Bento Bowl, which is perfect for carrying soups and stews. All their containers are microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe, and many of them even come with utensils, too.
Goodbyn is a go-to for busy parents everywhere. Their brightly coloured containers are perfect for kids, and they make everything from individual snack containers to portioned lunch kits that are very similar to traditional bento boxes. Goodbyn lunchboxes are some of the most affordable options on our list, and they all have lids that stay shut but are still easy enough for little hands to open.
Bentgo products tend to sell out fast whenever they're available, so it's a good idea to scoop some up whenever you see them in stock. They're best known for the Bentgo Children's Bento Lunch Box, which you may have already seen before. Each one opens like a laptop to reveal four or five food compartments. You can sometimes find vouchers for these on Groupon Canada, too.
LunchBots are by far the most similar to those famous PlanetBox containers. Instead of plastic, they're made from dishwasher-safe, food-grade stainless steel that resists rust and is really hard to break. They make containers with one, two, three or four different compartments, as well as thermoses and little condiment containers. They even have coloured lids, so you can tell them apart.