I love this box.
I received a Rover set from PlanetBox to review, and loved it so much that I bought another set just a few days later!
Not only does it look pretty - all shiny steel and separated sections - but it's also a great size for carrying lunch!
The Rover complete set comes with all you see above, plus coordinating magnets for decoration in your choice of style. There is the main Rover container, a Big Dipper dish for messy/wet side foods, a Little Dipper sealed side dish for dips or very small loose items, the carrying bag, and the decorative magnets.
As a food-allergy parent, I'm always looking for ways to keep my kiddo from feeling singled out. A lot of the time in our culture, events include food. You get together for a party, there is food. Playdates? Food. Soccer games, afternoon at the park, day at the indoor gym? Yep, food. A lot of our culture revolves around the serving and consuming of food. I'm not knocking that ~ I'm a big fan of food! Especially special party and get together foods; you know, the kinds of things that are yummy, but really too indulgent to eat or serve on a regular day. The kind of deliciousness you save for special occasions are among my favorites!
But that kind of makes things tough for a kid who is allergic to so many common food ingredients! My Beaker can't have anything with wheat, soy, garlic, hazelnuts, or shellfish, and dairy and egg are both only okay for him on a limited basis. Soy and garlic especially are difficult to avoid, and he is very sensitive to them, so we have to carefully avoid even trace amounts of cross contamination. Which means we bring food for him every time we go anywhere, just in case. That goes double for playdates and other special events!
To give the PlanetBox a real trial, I recently packed up a lunch for Beaker to take on a playdate with friends. We were spending the day at a local indoor playground we had never been to before. They have a cafe on site with a pretty extensive menu, but I couldn't trust that anything would be safe for Beaker. This is a pretty standard precaution when we go new places; if we don't know for sure that something safe will be available, food comes with us. And it was a good thing I packed for him; even though the cafe has plenty of organic options, and a pretty decent gluten-free and vegan menu, the only thing they had that Beaker could actually eat was applesauce. Even the apples weren't considered safe, because they slice them in a shared space. I was glad I had packed up the PlanetBox!
And the PlanetBox was awesome! Not only does it hold a perfect amount of food for a long afternoon for a little guy, it's also beautiful. We received many compliments and comments on Beaker's lunch and container while he was eating. Parents walking past our table kept stopping to ask about the box, and I was happy to share the word. It's a pretty fantastic box!
Even the apple hippo* loves PlanetBox! The biggest section of the box has plenty of space for a main dish, or a fun larger side. I've used this bento box to pack lunch for the older kids as well, to check for size. I've even packed lunches for myself, and it held plenty! The separated sections are a good reminder to pack up a little something from each of the food groups, and there is a tiny section in the center that is just the right size for a small dessert treat.
PlanetBox is one of the pricier bento boxes, but it's also worth the cost. It is sturdy, dependable, and very well made. PlanetBoxes are built to last. They are designed to hold up over time, and the high quality stainless steel is engineered for longevity.
They're also pretty. That wasn't the top factor for me, but I can't deny that the shininess held some sway!
Beaker's lunch is entirely gluten free. It is also free of soy, peanuts, tree nuts, garlic, and dairy. Not to mention beautiful and delicious!.
He has half of a turkey sandwich, some carrots and cucumbers, an apple hippo with marshmallow teeth, an Enjoy Life allergy free granola bar cut into bits, some EnerG gluten free pretzel rings, and a Surf Sweets fruit gummy ring for dessert.
Obviously even the best bento boxes can't make the food for you, and they're not going to cure your food allergies. But a pretty, functional, and sturdy box like PlanetBox does help make packing up meals easier, and a lot more pleasant. They look so nice that my Beaker never feels like he is being singled out or left out when I bring one with him to a get together, and that is something big. Instead of feeling like he has to bring his food everywhere, he feels like he gets to bring his food ~ the distinction is subtle, but to me (and many other food allergy parents) it is an important one. Beaker loves his PlanetBox almost as much as I do, and that makes handling his allergies just a little bit easier for me.
You can buy PlanetBox bento gear at their website, http://planetbox.com/, or click the affiliate link below to purchase from Amazon.
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Want to see another great apple hippo bento lunch? Check out Becoming a Bentoholic here for a little hippo made from apple and watermelon, and his tortilla and ham friend!
* Editing to add that I totally forgot to include the story behind the inspiration for the apple hippo! I went grocery shopping, and the next morning I woke up with this apple hippo in my head. It was just this idea in my head, of a hippo made from a carved apple with watermelon teeth. It seemed cute and simple, and it turned out to be both! Later I was packing the lunch into the Rover lunch bag and tucked an apple juice box into the bag. Turning the box over, what did I see? An apple hippo! I must have seen it in the grocery store when I bought the juice boxes and registered it on a subconscious level. The hippo on the juice box looks quite different from mine - for one thing, it's CGI and mine is an actual apple - but the inspiration was there. Now if I could just remember the juice brand.... The store was out of our usual brand so I just grabbed the first 100% apple juice I saw.