The many benefits of a compartment lunch box

There’s a lot to be said for compartment lunch boxes. They have a long history of use and appreciation; bento boxes, which are divided into sections for rice, fish, seaweed, etc., have been part of Japanese culture for over a thousand years. China, Indonesia, Korea, and Thailand all have their own versions of the bento box. These lunch boxes can be highly decorated and elaborate (as in the lacquer bento boxes you see in museums), or modest and plain.

Why individual compartments make sense

Let’s discuss some of the benefits of a compartment lunch box. First off, they reduce paper and plastic waste drastically. Plastic bags take a minimum of six hundred years to decompose in a landfill—or, unfortunately, they end up in oceans and rivers, where they are often eaten by reptiles and birds who mistake the plastic for shiny fish eggs. When you pack a reusable compartment lunch box, you eliminate the need for plastic bags (and the expense of buying them); you also stop using paper bags, which carry their own toll on the environment.

In a compartment lunch box, different parts of your meal are separated, so nothing gets soggy or loses its individual taste. (In a plastic or brown paper bag, this is not the case; only a hard walled lunch box with molded compartments will let your lunch maintain its integrity). Also, a plastic bag, paper bag, or even a plastic lined fabric lunch sack will not hold up well under heat or cold—like in a refrigerator, or, conversely, in a hot car.  Neither will those options stay airtight or leak-proof in a tote bag or backpack. Only a compartment lunch box with a tight lid can hold its own against the elements, and the jostling that happens inside a school backpack. And how about smells? Is there anything smellier than an old banana and a ripe PB & J inside a paper bag at the back of a classroom? Or at your co-worker’s desk? Sealed up lunch boxes eliminate those odors, keeping everyone’s lunch pleasantly under the radar.

Portion control

Another benefit of a compartment lunch box is that allows you set up your lunch along good nutrition and portion control lines. Dedicate the largest compartment to grains: rice noodles, a whole-wheat bread, or dry granola are all good food choices. Smaller compartments go to proteins, vegetables, and dairy. The compartments force you to examine how much food you’re about to eat, as you fill them up; if the lid doesn’t close, it’s like you’ve overstuffed a suitcase—you’re packing too much. Plastic bags and paper bags don’t offer this kind of observation; you just stuff them without thinking about it. Another good thing about a molded compartment lunch box: they’re extremely easy to clean. Let them sit in warm water with soap, or run them through the dishwasher. Can’t do that with a fabric lunch bag.

If you’re looking for a leak-proof, dishwasher safe and BPA-free compartment lunch box, look no further: view our Bento Slimline Lunch boxes here.