I receive many questions about the equipment I use for our fun lunches, particularly the bento lunch boxes and bento accessories and where to buy them here in the UK, so I thought that it would be useful to have a page with all of the information in one place.
Below I have detailed some of the tools and bento boxes that I like to use when packing kids lunches, with a little note about why I would recommend each item and a link to my review if I've written one. I have also put links where applicable to where each item is available to buy in the UK - most (if not all) are also available in the US and elsewhere.
I have just focused on bento supplies that are available here in the UK, as bento supplies are often harder to find here. I will try to update as and when I have new products or tools to share. I hope it is helpful!
Please note: This page contains Amazon affiliate links; I may receive a small amount of commission on items purchased through the links.
Bento Lunch Boxes
For a handy comparison chart of the finer points of my top 12 bento lunch boxes please see my Ultimate UK Lunch Box Guide.
I love the Yumbox Classic because it is brilliantly designed to be leakproof, easy to clean, easy to open for small hands, compact, durable, great for portion control and helps you pack a balanced meal. It features a removable divided tray and is perfect for younger children. For more details see my Yumbox Classic review and Yumbox Classic v2 review, or see the Yumbox in action here on the Eats Amazing blog.
The Yumbox Classic is now available in the UK from the Eats Amazing Shop! As well as the yellow box pictured above, it is also available in several other colours, both pastels and brights, with two cute choices of tray design.
The Yumbox Panino shares many great features with the Yumbox Classic, but the removable tray is divided differently and includes a large compartment that is perfect for holding whole sandwiches, wraps or salads. Like the original Yumbox, it is brilliantly designed to be leakproof, easy to clean, easy to open for small hands, compact, durable and great for portion control, and is perfect for all ages from pre-school children to adults. For more details see my Yumbox Panino review, or see the Yumbox Panino in action here on the Eats Amazing blog.
The Yumbox Panino is now available in the UK from the Eats Amazing Shop!
The Goodbyn Bynto is a new find for us, and we absolutely love it! It's bright, chunky and has three good sized compartments to hold a variety of foods. I also love how the matching Goodbyn water bottle (available separately) fits perfectly inside it, which is particularly great if you're packing smaller lunches for younger children. For more details see my Goodbyn Bynto lunch box review.
I was so impressed with the Goodbyn lunch boxes when I was sent some of them to try that I immediately ordered the whole range for the Eats Amazing Shop! The Goodbyn Bynto is therefore now available here in the UK from the Eats Amazing Shop, in a range of five bright colours.
The Goodbyn Hero is another new lunch box find of ours, and like the Goodbyn Bynto, I'm really impressed with the great design and sturdy feel of this lunch box. The Hero lunch box can also hold the Goodbyn water bottle (available separately), and it also comes with a set of leak proof dippers, which makes it even more flexible! As it's quite large, I'd recommend the Goodbyn Hero particularly for older children and adults. For more details see my Goodbyn Hero lunch box review.
The Goodbyn Hero is now available here in the UK from the Eats Amazing Shop, in a range of five bright colours!
We've recently fallen in love with the Monbento Tresor bento box, which is a gorgeous little lunch box designed especially for kids from Monbento. Despite its compact size, it can hold a surprising amount of food, so is perfect for a range of ages. For more details see my Monbento Tresor Bento Box Review.
I really like the fun shaped TUMTUM Trainee Lunch Set. The proportions of this lunch box make it great for bento style lunches, and it has a handy removable lidded container that sits neatly in the middle as a divider and holder for food or dips etc. It's the perfect size for younger children. For more details see my TUMTUM Trainee Lunch Set review and TUMTUM BUGS Lunch Box review.
The tiered Polar Gear Bento Box is another favourite of ours, and great for a range of ages from pre-school to adults. I sometimes use silicone cupcake cases to divide it up into smaller compartments. For more details of this lunch box check out my Polar Gear Bento Box Review.
The Lego Lunch Box is a big favourite of my older son's and is a really great size for bento style lunches. It comes in a whole range of colours and you can also get matching mini snack boxes that fit inside perfectly to divide it up and hold small portions of food. It's the perfect lunch box for Lego lovers of any age. For more details see my Lego lunch box review.
I've seen the Lego Lunchbox in various shops or you can buy them online from Amazon UK.
We really like the Munchkin Bento Mealtime Set, which is great lunch box suitable for children of all ages. For more details you can read my Munchkin Bento Mealtime Set review.
Japanese tiered bento boxes are obviously designed specifically for bento lunches so hold just the right amount of food. They are compact, but if they are well packed so as to be completely full, then they are perfect for a small meal or for carrying snacks. They often come in fun and unusual shapes and are ideal for younger children.
They are starting to become available in specialist shops here in the UK, but are not always easy to find - you can find a selection of Japanese bento boxes particularly suitable for children now in the Eats Amazing Shop.
Another great little lunch box for younger children is this square divided lunch box from Lock & Lock. This box comes with two removeable dividers so you can divide it into one, three or four compartments - great for added flexibility!
This Lock & Lock lunch box is available from Amazon UK.
This compartmented lunch box by Addis is very reasonably priced and a perfect box for bento style lunches. It is shallower than most lunch boxes, which means that food is less likely to end up moving around too much during transport, and it comes with three removable compartments and a lid which clips on securely but is easy to open for little hands. This box would be great for a range of ages.
I have seen this box in shops such as Robert Dyas, or you can buy online from Amazon UK.
The Sistema Salad to Go is a great little lunchbox that will hold a variety of foods. It has a removable top tray, a lidded pot suitable for liquids such as salad dressing, and even a collapsible knife and fork set that attach to the lid. Like most Sistema products, it's good quality but very reasonably priced. It'd say that it would be a good sized lunchboxes for a range of ages. For more details see my Sistema Salad to Go review.
I've seen this lunchbox in various shops including the main supermarkets, or you can buy online from Amazon UK.
Other lunch boxes that I am happy to recommend include more boxes from the Goodbyn range; the Portions on the Go lunch box set and the Small Meal lunch box, both of which are available in the UK from the Eats Amazing Shop. I also love the Sistema range, including the Sistema Triple Split to Go (read my review here), which is quite large and perfect for adults or older children, the Sistema Lunch Cube Max (read my review here), another large lunch box which is perfect for holding a sandwich and assorted sides, and the smaller Klip It Lunch Cube, which is a great budget friendly box for younger children.
Smaller Containers & Snack Boxes
When I first started making bento lunches I almost exclusively used Sistema Split Containers. They are great value, come in various bright colours and two of them together work nicely for a small lunch. They are the perfect size to carry a snack too.
I have a few sets of shaped snack boxes made by the company RICE that are really useful for holding small portions of food, either within a bento lunch or by themselves for snacks.
I have four lunch bags that I use regularly to carry our different sized lunch boxes. Most recently I have been using the Bibetta lunch bags, which is stretchy, insulated and most importantly machine washable - a massive plus in my opinion! You can read my full review of this brilliant lunch bags here, including a list of the lunch boxes that fit inside it, and you can buy them from Amazon UK.
The second is a standard rectangular insulated lunch bag of the sort that you can usually find in most supermarkets (similar to this one). Most of my lunchboxes fit into it with room to spare for ice packs and drink or pouch of yoghurt.
The third is a foil lined eco-friendly lunch bag that is made from recycled materials. I've found this to be really useful for smaller boxes such as the Sistema Split Containers, and also for the more traditional style Japanese tiered bento boxes. Ours is space themed, but there are loads of different designs available.
Last but not least we love our TUMTUM Bugs Ladybird Lunch bag! This insulated bag is so cute and holds bento lunch boxes in a range of sizes and shapes, including our Yumboxes and of course the TUMTUM lunch boxes. For more details see my TUMTUM Ladybird Lunch Bag review. As well as the ladybird design, this lunch bag is also available in a gorgeous bee design!
Other Useful Items
I absolutely love the Nom Nom Kids Reusable Food Pouches. I use them regularly to pack yoghurt and homemade smoothies or milkshakes in Small Child's lunch bag, but they would be handy for purees and other homemade baby food too if you are weaning. They have a really fun, bright design and are perfect for helping you to be 'green' by avoiding excess packaging, saving money and maintaining control over ingredients. You can also freeze them the night before, then pop them into your lunch bag to keep the lunch cool - they should have defrosted by lunch time. For more information see my Nom Nom kids food pouches review.
I usually pack a couple of ice packs in Small Child's lunch bag to keep his lunch cool whatever the weather. I like the mini ones, usually filled with gel or water, that stay cold all day without taking up too much space or weighing it down. For more tips and information on keeping packed lunches cool check out my How to Keep your Lunch Cool blog post.
I use a few different kinds by Polar Gear, like these mini ice packs and the Polar Animals set. I also have a lovely set with emergency vehicles on, but I've not been able to find them anywhere online as yet.
Decorative Tools & Bento Accessories
Last but not least, I must mention all the tools that I use to decorate my bento lunches. They are not necessary equipment if you want to pack a healthy lunch, but they certainly make them a lot more fun!
As well as being just about the quickest and easiest way to decorate a bento lunch or plate of food, food picks (also known as bento picks) are also handy for securing food in place so that it doesn't move around too much during transportation. You can find a large selection of food picks in the Eats Amazing Shop.
Cupcake Rings & Picks
Like food picks, cupcake rings and cupcake picks are a very quick and easy way to decorate food and add instant fun. They tend to be larger than food picks with no 'pointy bits' so are particularly good for younger children. They are of course ideal for decorating cakes too! You can find a selection of cupcake rings and cupcake picks that have been specially imported from America in the Eats Amazing Shop.
One of my favourite bento tools, egg moulds will change the way that you look at hard boiled eggs forever! I use two types of egg moulds - the 'standard' shapes (bunny, bear, car, fish, star and heart) and the CuteZcute Animal Palz set, which moulds eggs to 4 different animal designs (as well as making pocket sandwiches too). For more information see my step-by-step tutorial for moulding eggs or find our range of fun egg moulds in the Eats Amazing Shop.
Silicone cups (also known as cupcake or muffin cases) are a great place to start if you are trying bento lunches for the first time. As well as the standard round ones, they come in all sorts of other shapes, sizes and colours, and are great for adding an extra splash of colour to a lunch, separate different foods and help with portion control. Taking a few extra seconds to pop your food into silicone cups before adding them to a lunch can make a massive difference to the way the lunch looks. You can find a large selection of silicone cups in different shapes and sizes in the Eats Amazing Shop, including some special Japanese sets that are designed especially for bento.
Cookie Cutters & Sandwich Cutters
I image that most people have a cookie cutter or two lingering at the back of a kitchen cupboard or draw, and if not, they are very easy to find in the shops! Try raiding your children's toy boxes too - playdough cutters will do the same job (after they've been well washed, of course)! Use cutters to cut out fun shaped sandwiches, toast, homemade biscuits, tortilla crisps, pizzas and pastries. My favourite cutters are the CuteZCute Animal Friends and CuteZCute Cuddle Palz cutter sets, the CuteZCute Animal Palz set (for pocket sandwiches), Lunch Punch sandwich cutter sets, plunger cutters, and nesting cookie cutters in various shapes. You'll find a large selection of cookie cutters and sandwich cutters available in the Eats Amazing Shop.
Mini Bento Cutters
I often get asked how I managed to cut out such perfect tiny shapes from foods such as vegetables and cheese, and these are the answer - mini cutters designed especially for bento! They come in all shapes and sizes, and are perfect for cutting fun bite-sized shapes from fruit, vegetables, cheese and meats such as ham. They also come in handy for cutting out mini biscuits, crackers, and even icing shapes for cake decorating. You'll find a large selection of mini bento cutters specially imported from Japan in the Eats Amazing Shop.
Other Fun Tools
Some of the other tools not mentioned above that I use in my bento lunches include mini containers for carrying dips such as mayonnaise and houmous, mini bento cutlery for foods such a salads or yoghurt, silicone dividers for separating and decorating food and edible marker pens.
If you're looking for even more ideas for making lunches, check out the lovely 'Everyday Bento' book by my blogging friend Wendy of Wendolonia. You can find more details in my Everyday Bento book review.
I hope that you've found this page to be a useful resource. If you have any suggestions or recommendations to make yourself, do comment below or send me an email via firstname.lastname@example.org.