This is an old picture of one of the first bentos I made. I learned about bentos the summer prior to my oldest son beginning Kindergarten. I do not live in an area with bento supply stores and at that time the only pieces I could find were on auction sites with a huge mark-up in price. So I was left to make due with what was readily found around me. Back then my supply stash consisted solely of Lock & Lock boxes (and not the clever ones with the four inner boxes, but just a plain sandwich sized box), Wilton silicone muffin cups and my only picks were cupcake picks, also by Wilton. Still, the concept was the same...
Surely I enjoy having more options to use in bentos now that I have aquired more supplies. But the real reasons I make bentos are these:
#1 - the whole meal is presented at once, no baggies and obstacles in the way to distract the child from eating. At my son's cafeteria there are only 3 lunch ladies to supervise over a hundred children. If my son needed assistance getting a package open he could have his arm in the arm waiting to be helped for several minutes. And for a lunch period of 25 minutes, that can be the difference between him having enough time to finish his lunch and not.
#2 - there is no (or very little) waste! No baggies and disposable containers to fill trash cans and overflowing landfills. Just yummy food to fill hungry bellies.