Pack me.

The old latch-lock lunch box of yore (yeah, the one emblazoned with depictions of Star Wars or what not) may have finally met its match – a rival from Japan known simply as "bento," for which your kids will soon be clamoring (if they're not already).

For kids who are outgrowing the PBJ and purport to have more sophisticated tastes, the bento philosophy of balance, nutrition and occasionaly aesthetic presentation provides an alluring alternative. Moreover, the nested, interlocking and compartmentalized boxes come in a variety of branded and designer styles.

An authority on bento is Lunch In a Box: Building a Better Bento blogger “Biggie,” a one-time Japanese expat now living in San Francisco where she is raising her son and as one might expect is as well-packed and fastidiously organized as a bento lunch.

"A bento lunch is a compact, balanced, visually appealing meal packed in a box. Historically, it’s a Japanese box lunch."

Lunch In a Box not only provides recipes and menu suggestions, nutrition guides and the occasional philosophical assertion, it also has an extremely handy Bento Store Locator function and a bento box size guide and kid-friendly menu suggestions.

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