For as long as I could remember, I’d been eying the Planetbox. For the unacquainted, it’s this ingenious stainless steel bento-style lunchbox. The genius is in the shape and sizes of the compartments and the way the lid snaps on to keep everything in its place:
Look at that cute little square for treats!
Alas, I would balk at the price. $40 for the box, upwards of $60 if you include the carry bag and accessories like sauce containers. Our set of dining chairs was cheaper than that! So onto my dream wishlist it would go.
Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to test-drive one of their newest versions. The Shuttle (basic set starts at $34.95) is much smaller in scale, meant for snacks or a sandwich and a side:
I knew right away that it would be perfect for packing a kindergarten lunch. When it arrived, I was kicking myself for not springing for one sooner. It’s nice. Really nice. Thick, heavy-duty stainless steel built to withstand years of use make you realize the cost is worth it. I used the shuttle every day last week to see how versatile it is. I’m used to one or two more compartments, but there’s plenty of room to fit the same contents a bulkier bento would thanks to how much space the lid creates when closed, if that makes sense. I could stack three sandwiches in the main compartment.
The challenge is in maximizing space and keeping everything separate that should be. Large silicone muffin cups and these IKEA baking cups fit perfectly height-wise. It really is the perfect size for a kindergartener’s appetite, especially when he has 10-20 minutes to eat. It also fits nicely into the LL Bean lunchbox we use with room to stack a juice box or other containers on top.
The only drawback is that it can be tricky to pack with vertical space in mind. So, Planetbox has a meal-planning page on their website where you can create an account and browse a gallery of what other people are packing. You can also build a meal, filling compartments with pre-selected images of food that you can ultimately save and use as a visual guide for later. Again: genius.
Here are my the-sun-isn’t-even-up-yet pictures of meals last week: browse more on Instagram.