Finally, a wonderful foodie product designed for men (grrr, no pink KitchenAid mixer for me!) – the manly, steel grey Mr. Bento lunch jar system by Zojirushi serves up a thermos containing four food containers to keep food hot or cold for at least 6 hours.
I decided to test the lunch jar over the past two weeks with a series of different foods. I’m not a very scientific person but I did want to test the overall quality and effectiveness of Mr. Bento. My test simply involved sending Joe to work each day with a different lunch … and waited to see if he came home with or without food poisoning.
My tests concluded that Mr. Bento keeps food cold/hot as stated. Joe survived without any problems AND he really enjoyed using the lunch jar! He even enjoyed it so much that he started posting photos of his Mr. Bento lunches on Facebook – it was really quite amusing.
In an effort to get him eating more healthy, Mr. Bento also allows me to pack some of Joe’s favorite foods along with a heavy dose of fresh fruits and vegetables. He also isn’t spending $10-15 on lunch each day so the lunch jar quickly pays for itself.
Mr. Bento Lunch Jar by Zojirushi
available from Amazon.com
When selecting a lunch jar system, there are several key aspects I found important to consider.
Lunch Jar Size
Mr. Bento stands 10″ tall and is 6″ across, while this may sound quite large it’s not too unwieldy in reality. The container’s height allows for maximum food storage and there isn’t an inch of space wasted. It even comes with a carrying bag that you can sling over your shoulder.
Number & Type of Containers
Mr. Bento comes with four containers in the following sizes: a 15.2-ounce main bowl; a 9.5-ounce soup bowl; a 6.8-ounce small side bowl; and a 10.1-ounce large side bowl. The soup bowl has a leak-proof seal while the large side bowl has a firm twist-seal lid. The two remaining bowls have snap on lids.
And, all of the bowls are microwaveable making reheating lunch easy. The carrying bag also contains a metal spork.
For me, I liked the both the number and sizes of the bowls. The bowls allow me to send a variety of foods and keep them separated. While I may not choose to send soup every day, the bowl works well for pudding, yogurt, jell-o etc.
Mr. Bento advertises keeping food hot or cold for up to 6 hours (and, actually much longer in most cases). The main word here is OR … you can’t do both at the same time. In most cases, I pack all foods cold and allow Joe to reheat the containers that need to be hot for lunch. It wasn’t a big deal for us – the main thing is that it keeps containers at a food-safe temperature for a long period of time.
If there’s a flaw with Mr. Bento, it’s the fact that the containers are not recommended for the dishwasher (yes, I’m lazy). However, it only takes a few minutes to wash out a few containers so I won’t complain too much about this point. When Joe comes home, I wash everything out as I’m preparing dinner then load everything up and put in the fridge for the next day. In the morning, I just drop everything into the lunch jar and send him on his way to work.
Overall, Mr. Bento is a positive addition to our household and provides a great way to make you or loved one is getting a healthy lunch (and, saving $$$ on not eating out every day). Joe even converted a few friends through his Facebook posting.
And, if the lunch bar looks to masculine, Zojirushi also makes a Ms. Bento
which is smaller and comes with a cute tote bag.
For tomorrow’s lunch, I’ve packed Mr. Bento with a tomato beef stew over rice, butternut squash soup, grapes, oranges, carrots, and a piece of sesame filled mochi (shhh, don’t tell Joe, I snuck this in as a special treat).
Review Notice: Thank you to Zojirushi who at my request provided this free product sample for review purposes. My opinions expressed are my own and I have no further connection with this company.