cmarbon 5:51pm, 2 January 2007
I bought mr. bentos for myself and by boyfriend for Christmas. (Thanks for the note on the mr. bento sale!) Having received my bentos, the size of the containers suddenly seems tiny compared to portions which have appeared enormous when I check out the photos here. My instinctual fear of underfeeding has me worried this could never supply a wordday's full of food ... has anyone had trouble with this?

ValerieTorrey 11 years ago
I think I had a hard time adapting at first, but it wasn't long before I realized that I just had to start making more filling, compact food for my lunch dates with Mr. Bento. Small sandwiches (just like Ariel's), pastas, lots of veggies and yogurts.

I've never gone hungry with Bento on hand! :)
.ams PRO 11 years ago
Yeah, it's really a great exercise in both portion control AND packing dense food -- I'm also sort of astounded when I see people with loosely packed lunches. I use every cubic centimeter and try to get really filling, fiber-rich foods. If you pack smart, it's really enough! In fact, I had to get my husband a smaller lunch jar because Mr. Bento was too much for him...
simple apparatus [deleted] 11 years ago
Before I bought my Mr B I was afraid that it would be too small as well, but it turned out to be just right. For a couple of months. Now it's too big and I've gone to a smaller, one tier bento box.
KJF916 Posted 11 years ago. Edited by KJF916 (member) 11 years ago
I've found the same -- it's too much food for one person (although arguably, I eat smaller portions than most -- I had weight loss surgery last year) unless I plan to be at work, and meetings after work. In that event, I have a breakfast, lunch and snack/or dinner bento in the Mr B. Or, if its a messy meal, I pack wet hot washclothes and such in the empty containers. Otherwise, I use smaller 1 and 2 tiers, also.
cmarbon 11 years ago
Thanks for everyone's response -- I'm going to try to use some of the tricks I've seen here to get the high-density food in.
Lalalaa Dolce Vita PRO 11 years ago
I quickly discovered that a lot of my tiny dense foods are also insanely high-calorie!
I filled the teeny container with nuts, dried cranberries and choc. chips, and did a little math. That container alone held 250 calories!!!
Which evens out and turns out to be fine, because I do eat that stuff mid-afternoon, and if i have a little snack around 4, I eat much less for dinner.
I'm just sayin' I was appalled when I first did the calorie roundup on mr. bento. Portion sizes don't necessarily mean lo-cal.
waiting cows [deleted] 11 years ago
After using Mr. Bento for a short while, I have to say it is more then enough food for me, even for long day. When I packed my 1st meal, I had pasta dish mixed with sauce in the rice container and since my Mr.Bento was new, I thought I should put the food on a paper plate before nuking it. To my surprise, that one container of food completely filled a dinner sized plate. Now I find, as it seems others do too, that it is becoming too much food, when filled to the brim.
KJF916 Posted 11 years ago. Edited by KJF916 (member) 11 years ago
Doce and Barking Tea Light both make excellent points. You would be surprised how much food is contained within those containers. My bento containers hold an entire day's worth of food for me, candidly, and once you plate it up, you see just how much you are eating.

Another Flickr user has demonstrated that very well, here.

Sobodda made a corn puddding, carrot salad and rice in a Ms. Bento, here:

And then plated it up, here:

That's a large plate of food, far more than you'd get in a restaurant entree, that's for sure! I think most people will find that Mr. Bento is more than adequate for a meals and snacks.

sobodda PRO Posted 11 years ago. Edited by sobodda (member) 11 years ago
Thanks for linking to my photos! (Just to clarify for anyone who doesn't own these - that is the Ms. Bento).

Here are two examples of Mr. Bentos unpacked. I don't think I even had these fully packed, and you can see how much food it is.

Mr. Bento 05.19.06 - Out of the box! Mr. Bento 06.01.06 - out of the box
sobodda PRO 11 years ago
And here are two more Ms. Bentos unpacked:

Ms. Bento 05.31.06 - out of the box Ms. Bento unpacked - pseduo Salade Nicoise
KJF916 11 years ago
Excellent examples! And you're right, the Mr. is even bigger than the Ms.!
manixter 11 years ago
Two comments, and a question.
I totally agree with the density arguements. I get to work before breakfast, and stay late, so I usually need breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, and a snack. Fitting all that in (which is a very good thing, or otherwise I get hungry and eat cheetos and pepsi) requires attention to density and packing. Most chips, for example, are right out. Just don't pack very well.
How to people find that the Mr Bento compares with the laptop lunchbox? I have both; it seems that they have different strengths but contain a similar ammount of food
huh radio 11 years ago
I've never had trouble with not having enough room in Mr. Bento. My problem with Mr. Bento is that it is too big and I have trouble filling all the containers.
Biggie* Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Biggie* (member) 11 years ago
I just wrote a long blog post about portions and choosing the right size container for your gender/age/height/physical activity level with the guidelines in this table (I translated them from a popular Japanese website that's been getting a lot of media exposure in Japan -- they're based on official Japanese nutritional guidelines).

The Mr. Bento's total capacity is 1230ml: 450ml (rice container), 300ml (side dish), 200ml (side dish), and 280ml soup container.

In Japan, lunch container size is described not by its dimensions (inches or centimeters), but instead by its capacity (in milliliters -- ml). Why? Because a rule of thumb in Japan is that when you pack a bento in the Japanese way (A: 3 parts grain dishes, 2 parts vegetable dishes, 1 part protein dishes; B: without candy, junk food or fatty food; C: without empty space, and D: with pretty dense food), calories correspond directly to capacity (i.e. a 600ml box holds a 600-calorie meal). The Mr. Bento's containers can hold less dense food, though, like salad, sandwiches, soup, etc. -- this is just for reference.

Click for full info and lunch container size charts.
stinky_harriet PRO 11 years ago
Mr. Bento is big! I really like that because I can pack a lot more lower calorie foods like raw veggies (or cooked) and salads, which I can't really do in my Laptop Lunchbox. You just have to watch what you're packing, and not fill up the bigger containers with high calorie foods.

Mr. Bento is big enough for lunch and breakfast or snacks. depending on what types of food you pack.
ysetiawa 11 years ago
When I first bought Mr. Bento, I had the same thought. My GOD, it's so small. But actually it fits a lot. Now, I only use the 2 bowls for lunch, and I use the other 2 for snacks/fruits.
Kate Chan PRO 11 years ago
Holy Cow - I think the Mr. Bento is GI-normous! I'm planning a ton of salads and greens. I used to hate to pack them because warm salad (blech!). Same thought with mushy salad. EW! Now I can have dressing, cottage cheese, rice, etc in one.

What about using the bottom two for hot items and top two for cold? Does this work?
jillouci PRO 11 years ago
I had this concern about the Ms. Bento, but it's actually just the right size. If I pack it well, I'm quite full when I'm finished. I could never eat a fully packed Mr. by myself. My husband eats it all, but he's a voracious eater. One time he brought it back because he'd gone out to lunch, so I tried to eat it for lunch and could not finish half of it.

So yeah, I'll just join the chorus and say that you'll be amazed how much food fits in that thing. The way I pack, it would never fit on a dinner plate.
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