Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Smart Planet Ultrathin SaladBook Lunch Box Review

Today we're using the SaladBook by Smart Planet that I used once previously to pack the Totoro Soba Bento last month. Remember that one? Today I've packed a Salad Bowl containing curried chickpeas, cottage cheese with sunflower seeds, cinnamon apples, pickled carrots and daikon, fresh steamed corn, pickled cucumbers and wakame, pickled red onions, and blackberries - atop tossed romaine lettuce. I am really into the bowl-type bento these days, and this kind of container is ideal because no divided sections are necessary. And there are so many possibilities!

This box is unique in that it is "ultrathin," meaning that the roundish single section container is only about one inch in height yet manages to provide 20 fl oz (591 ml) of volume. 

You can see that this container is quite wide and shallow.

The box has a leakproof gasketed lid which is held in place by four tight clips which are an integral part of the lid itself, and seal by latching to the underside of the box. While this mechanism seems to work very well at keeping the box watertight, I found that the latches are so tight they can be challenging for small hands to pull open.

Here you can see the latching mechanism of the clips. There are 4 clips and they snap closed on the bottom of the container. If your (or your child's) hands aren't strong enough to push off the clip, I've found that pressing the lid and container together will release pressure on the clip and it will be easier to push up.

The box comes with an insulated zipper tote with a handy mesh pocket and a spork in a color that matches the box lid. This is a somewhat minor point, but I found it curious as to why the pocket opens downward so that when you open the lid, the spork falls out. I solved this problem by attaching an adhesive velcro closure, which works very well.

The spork now stays in place in the pocket until you choose to remove it. Yay!

The profile of the entire SaladBook after it's packed and ready to go. I found it to live up to its "ultrathin" billing quite well. I mentioned the box itself being about one inch high; when zipped up the whole bag will only take up about 2 inches of depth in your backpack (or briefcase or similar).

Alternately, you can carry it separately by the short handle strap located at the pointed end of the tote. So convenient!

The last item included in the SaladBook set is a little dressing container. It consists of a collapsible soft silicone pouch with a hard snap-close lid which also screws off for easy filling and washing. It's a great idea, but in my experience the cap opens very easily because of the soft nature of the container. I wouldn't pack it next to the box inside the tote because it might pop open and leak. But I don't think this matters too much because since the box itself is completely watertight, you can simply drizzle the dressing atop the salad before packing. That's what we did in the Totoro soba salad bento and it worked just fine.

The salad we packed today didn't require a separate dressing, so we didn't worry about it. 

Overall, I think the Smart Planet Ultrathin Saladbook is a good buy; it retails for $14.99 and comes with a spork, dressing container, and insulated zipper tote. It is practical, sturdy, dishwasherable, and lightweight. Its storage profile is slim and convenient; it is leakproof and spacious. I recommend this container for kids and adults alike.