Today I am reviewing the lovely Bento Mealtime Set by Munchkin UK.
The Munchkin Bento Mealtime Set is officially designed for toddlers, and I can see that it certainly fits the bill there, but having seen several other bloggers pack their children's lunches in it I wanted to give it a try for Small Child's lunches, because it looked like it would be big enough to hold enough food for an older child too. When it arrived, I was pleased to see that I had judged correctly - whilst it is fairly compact, it does still have plenty of room for a decent amount of food.
My first impression of the set was of a fairly plain, straightforward divided lunch box. Once I opened it up, I was impressed with the quality of it. There has clearly been a lot of thought gone into the design, with great attention to detail. The box is chunky and sturdy, with lovely rounded edges. The two clips that hold it shut are a decent size, and 6 year old Small Child found it easy to open (if a little stiff at first - younger children might have a little trouble with it to start with). Inside, the box has one main compartment, and two smaller ones, all of which are lidded.
On closer inspection, the smaller compartments turned out to be removable containers, which means that the lunch box can be used without them, giving you two sections with room for a little more food if you need it. The two smaller plastic lids are labelled 'veggies' and 'fruits' and are subtly engraved with cute designs. They are easy to remove, and the lids clip firmly on, sealing the containers.
I'm not sure I would put anything too wet in the main compartment, as the inner lid seems to be more of a cover to prevent food from moving around too much than a leakproof lid, but the smaller containers appear to be leakproof. I couldn't find any official information from Munchkin claiming that they are leakproof, but I ran a (very scientific!) experiment, where I put yoghurt in one of the pots, popped it back in the lunch box and gave it a good shake, and it didn't leak at all, so I would be happy to pack yoghurt or juicy fruits in them.
Inside the main lid of the box is a matching plastic cutlery set (spoon and fork) that easily clips on and off, although again, a younger child might need to practice that bit! The spoon and fork are a little more flexible than they initially appeared, but perfectly adequate for a child's lunch. There is a spoon and fork shape etched into the inside of the lid too, which would be helpful for a child when the time comes to put them away after lunch! I like the fact that the inner lids keep food away from the cutlery, so they are still clean when you come to eat.
Once I'd had a good look at the box, it was time to make a lunch in it! Despite it being the middle of the summer holidays, Small Child was delighted to have the chance to try 'his' new lunch box (he lays instant claim to any new lunch boxes that enter the house!). He was particularly taken with the brand name, having watched the Wizard of Oz recently! I took inspiration from the Munchkin logo, and gave it a heart theme.
In this lunch, Small Child had a pizza quesadilla (a tortilla wrap spread with a little tomato puree, sprinkled with grated cheese and chopped ham before being folded in half and cooked in a dry frying pan until toasty), which I cut into hearts using our heart shaped sandwich cutter. On the side he had a few Organix Tomato Noughts & Crosses (I thought they looked like kisses!), cucumber slices (under the carrots), raw carrot hearts (cut into shape using a mini bento cutter and decorated with a rabbit pick), sliced strawberries and blueberries, with heart picks and an M alphabet pick (for Munchkin), and finally some red grapes, in a heart shaped silicone cup, topped with a mini heart fork pick.
As you can see above, the mini compartments were pretty full, but there was still room in the main compartment for more food if necessary. Having packed a meal in the box now, I'd say that whilst the smaller compartments initially looked a bit too small for my liking, once I packed food in them I found they were deeper than I expected, and so held quite a lot. The main compartment was also bigger than I expected, it has plenty of room to hold the main 'course' of a meal.
Overall, I was really impressed with this lunch box. The only negative I can find is that it is a little bit fiddly, with the separate lidded compartments - you have to take them out of the box to get the lids off them, so there is the potential for losing them in a busy lunch hall, but that is a minor thing really. The quality of the box is good, and with its rounded corners and smooth plastic it's a very nice box to handle. I was particularly impressed with the seemingly leakproof containers, and the fact that the main compartment has an inner lid too, which could potentially be used as a little plate at lunch time. I think this box has been really well thought out, and I will definitely be using it for some of Small Child's lunches in September!
The Bento Mealtime Set is BPA free, dishwasher safe, microwave safe and freezer safe, comes in three colours - green, pink and blue, and and is available to buy online from Amazon UK.