Reviewed by Louise Totton
The kids have now finished school for the year, and they have a whole summer ahead of them of playing in the garden, chilling out and generally having a nice time. The parents, on the other hand, have a summer of arranging childcare, writing lists of what needs to be purchased ready for September and finding the time and inclination to get to the shops and get the stuff bought!
One of the things on my list for this summer, that I haven’t had to buy before, is packed lunch items – the kids have always had school dinners up to now, but we’ve decided to go for a change this year and move on to packed lunches. I have never been a massive fan of traditional, soft lunchboxes – I find that they invariably led to squashed sandwiches, burst yoghurt pots and trying to jigsaw everything in can be a challenge touch enough for the Krypton Factor final. There has to be an easier way!
I was hopeful that the Bento Lunch Box from the Sistema Lunch range would fit the bill for us. We were sent the 1.65 Litre version of the Bento Box, as well as the 515ml Snack Capsule. All of the Sistema items are available in a range of appealing colours, and there is something to appeal to everyone – both of these products are available in pink, purple, blue and green.
The first one we tried out was the Bento Box (RRP: £9.99). The Bento Box is a compartmentalised lunchbox, which is divided both horizontally and vertically. There are three sizes available, and the 1.65l one is the middle-sized option. It is comprised of two large compartments (one removable), two smaller compartments (one removable) and a screw-top yoghurt pot, which also fits into the Bento Box.
The two larger compartments are each large enough to store a single, standard sized sandwich, or a pasta, fruit or standard salad, whilst the smaller containers are ideal for snacks such as nuts, carrot sticks or even a couple of unsquashed biscuits or buns. The yoghurt pot can obviously be used for yoghurts, but also for either salad dressing, humous for dipping carrot sticks in or even used to make a jelly!
I thought this box was brilliant, and so practical and handy. We have a number of Sistema products in the house and every single one of them has been fantastic quality, and this is no exception. The lid is closed with a hinge and a click-style fastening, and it fastens tightly with no spillage at all, even from dressing salad dressings. The whole container is freezer safe, microwave safe and dishwasher safe, although we don’t have a dishwasher so ours has only been hand washed.
I love how flexible these are – if you want to use the container for something deeper, you can just take out the removable sections. Having all of these compartments already in the box also means that you don’t need to used sandwich bags, so you can also reduce your use of single-use plastics, which has to be a good thing these days. I also think that the fixed compartments encourage healthier eating as it’s so easy to fill a couple of them up with healthy snacks like plain popcorn, veggie crudités and nuts. I am really impressed with this product and my daughter is really looking forward to using it in school.
We also loved the Snack Capsule (RRP: £6.50), which is a great concept that I haven’t seen before. The capsule consists of a central band, and two different sized pots which screw onto each side of it. This creates two completely self-contained snack pots (305ml and 210ml), and the central ring also has a plastic spork which fixes on to it.
The pot is dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe, making it ideal for pasta and sauce, which can be heated up, as well as for reheating leftovers. Of course, at school, that isn’t an option but popping yoghurt in one half and fruit in the other would be an ideal snack for breaktime, especially with the spork. Anything that can encourage kids to take a healthy snack into school rather than sugar or salt-laden choices has got to be a good thing.
We are really pleased with both the Bento Box and the Snack Capsule. They will keep the food better and less squashed than a normal, soft lunchbox would and they will also store nicely in the fridge, so I can make their whole lunches the night before, meaning all we have to do in the morning is grab the boxes. The quality is excellent, they’re easy to wash and are super flexible – a definite must on the Back to School list!