The lunch box may be a childhood concept, but it has many uses in the years beyond school. Packed lunches are a way to save money, stay mindful of your carbon footprint, and abide by a healthier lifestyle.
Bento boxes originate from Japan and come with multiple compartments, intended for different foods such as meat, sandwiches, salad and other snacks. But where does the word “bento” come from? Well, it comes from “biandang,” a Souther song Dynasty slang term which is roughly translated to mean “convenient.”And if you’ve ever used a bento box before, you’ll agree that’s precisely what these lovely lunchboxes are.
Some of these adult-sized bento boxes can even contain more liquid-based items thanks to their airtight setup. These lunchboxes are a helpful way to make meals more creative, whether you’re trying to portion control or set other dietary goals.
Instead of falling for unhealthy fast food or takeout traps, get all your nutrients while staying within budget from a bento box that fits your lifestyle needs. Upgrade from the brown paper bag and invest in an alternative with built-in compartments and stands the test of time. Nowadays, there are plenty of sophisticated options to make sure you won’t get laughed at by the water cooler. Here are our picks for the best bento boxes for adults.
1. Original BentoHeaven Bento Box Bundle
Users love this attractive bamboo bento box for its carrying capacity, extra carrying bag and tightly sealed lid. A much better alternative to Tupperware, the BentoHeaven box doesn’t come with its own utensil compartment but does have a sturdy band that holds it to the upper lid. Chopsticks are a bonus add-on that can prove useful if you frequently eat Asian dishes or pack sushi on-the-go. These food containers feature ventilated lids to maintain freshness and are simple to clean thanks to a smooth interior.
2. TARLINI HOME Stackable Bento Box
Composed of three stackable lunch boxes that come with a divider, this Japanese-style bento box helps you manage your portion control while keeping messy ingredients safe and free of leaks with tight closure. This box is useful if you like to prep carbs, proteins or snacks in specific portions, or if you frequently prepare dishes that require separation, such as curry and rice. Often forget to bring cutlery? This model comes with its own fork and spoon. The company even offers a free refund if you’re not happy with your product.
3. SIPU Bento Lunch Box
For just under $12, the leak-resistant SIPU adult bento box is both cheap and sustainable, thanks to a wheat fiber material. The seal on bento boxes can often gather bacteria over time, and SIPU thoughtfully included an extra two silicone seals. Additionally, this single-tiered box also comes with a complimentary fork and spoon, so you don’t have to bring utensils from home or use wasteful plastic alternatives. An ideal option if you’re trying to be more environmentally conscious and don’t want to spend extravagantly.
4. Bentgo Salad BPA-Free Bento Style Lunch Container
BEST FOR SALAD
Sometimes, nothing hits the spot like a gigantic salad. You can fill up on plenty of customized ingredients you love while staying healthy. This BPA-free salad bento box for adults is a generous 54 ounces and features several different compartments to separate toppings, dressing and salad, along with a built-in spoon. A cutlery cover leaves the fork clean for eating and leaves enough room for a napkin. While great for salad, all the variously sized sections are useful for snacks, sandwiches and more.
5. Monbento MB Square Black Bento Box
This contemporary option is big more of a splurge than some of the other options on the market, but fits more ingredients than the average adult bento box, and has an elegant matte black finish. A rubber seal creates a vacuum that fits sloppy meals, and a sturdy strap keeps everything together. A microwavable feature lets you conveniently reheat leftovers. One reviewer mentions that it’s big enough to pack sandwiches for four people, due to its multiple layers. If you have a big appetite or carry multiple meals, this is the practical choice.
6. BKLYN BENTO Stainless Steel 3-Tier Bento Box
BEST STAINLESS STEEL
This eco-friendly and dishwasher-safe adult bento box is made of sturdy stainless steel and comes with three different tiers. The ultimate buddy for a hike or a stroll to the park, this is the new and leak-proofed version of a picnic basket that takes up barely any space. On the top tier, you can fit more shallow dishes like nuts and trail mix, while the middle and lower compartments are big enough to house fruit, sandwiches, salads and more.
7. Modetro Ultra Slim Leakproof Bento Box
BEST ULTRA-SLIM CHOICE
When traveling with a backpack, briefcase, or another bag that’s tight on space, this slim bento box comes with its own insulated lunch box, complete with a handle and all. Apart from three individually isolated compartments, we love the sleek and sophisticated aesthetic. It’s both microwave- and freezer-safe, making meal prep more accessible than ever.
8. Freshware Meal Prep Bento Box Containers
BEST FOR MEAL PREP
For those who like to prepare multiple meals at a time or are packing for a long trip, this affordable 30-pack of adult bento box-style containers keeps dishes separate and lets you stockpile up to nearly a month of portions. These heavy-duty containers still hold up in the microwave so that you can prepare a fast meal after a long day at work, and they also can be stored in the freezer, so you don’t have to worry about spoilage.
9. Eocolz Electric Bento Box
BEST ELECTRIC BENTO
If you need to keep your food hot, forget dirty public microwaves and lines, and consider investing in an electric bento box for adults. More than one reviewer claims that this electric lunch box heats food “better than a microwave” in just 30 minutes. Inside, you can find two compartments with a removable stainless steel tray to make cleaning a breeze. It comes with two plugs — one for a vehicle and another for the office or house. Perfect for travel usage.