health and weight loss

Get Started Bento Challenge: Week 1

Welcome to Week 1 of the 5 week Getting Started Bento Challenge! If you’re new to the site, see the overall objectives of this Challenge.

The Challenge officially commences on Monday January 12th (Joining in later is fine too - just catch up where you can!)

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Before we kick off Week 1, here’s a quick outline of this and upcoming Challenge weeks.

  • Each week, we’ll be focusing on a particular aspect of making tasty, healthy and cost conscious bento lunches as efficiently as possible.
  • There will be three task and goal levels: Basic, Going Deeper, and Weight Loss. Basic is what you should try to do at a minimum. Going Deeper is for people who are very motivated and want to take on more. Finally, Weight Loss is specifically for people who want to use the Challenge to kick start, or enhance, a weight loss plan.

So, on to Week 1! continue reading...

Thinking aloud about the January bento challenge

UPDATE: Details of the Challenge are now up here! We’ll start on January 13th.

I’m quite overwhelmed by the amount of interest in my little idea about some sort of health and weight loss related bento challenge for January! The original post is here if you missed it. Here is my thinking about this at the moment: continue reading...

Bento boxes: The perfect tools to combat portion distortion (and an idea)

UPDATE: Details of the Challenge are now up here! We’ll start on January 13th.

The Washington Post says to use a salad plate for portion control, but I say, what about a bento box? Plus, the germ of an idea. continue reading...

Quick tip: Frozen fruit cups

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This is such a simple thing to do, and there’s no better time to do it than in the summer when so many fruits are in season. Cut up any soft ripe fruit, and put them into silicon cupcake liners or wrap in plastic film. Then stash each cup or bundle in a freezer safe plastic container. You can then take out a cup or two and tuck them into your bento box. They act as an edible cooler for your bento. The container here has a cut up nectarine (divided into two silicon liners) and 2 small bananas (divided into 4). continue reading...

Losing more than 50 lbs as a couple with bento, and dealing with an omnivore's needs

Reader Suzi no miko left this great comment:

I am a vegetarian and my husband is not (slight issue…). When I make Bento for the two of us I end up making a bunch of different things because he wants meat in his Bento almost every day. He’s also on the South Beach Diet thing and won’t eat rice, carrots, corn, potatoes, soba, fruit, etc… This page had been very helpful to us (more specifically me) and thanks to our bento boxes making portion control easy and the tips on packing from you we have collectively lost about 50 pounds.

That is really great - congratulations to Suzu no miko and her husband! Bentos are a great weight loss aid, as I’ve written before, because portion control is much easier than with large or more open containers.

One point that Suzu no miko brought up is something I have to deal with too: how to make a vegetarian-based bento that an omnivore, or a bigger eater, would feel satisfied with. I often show the bigger-portion version of each complete bento, but here are some general tips. continue reading...

Skinny bento vs. not skinny bento: how to (and how not to) fill a bento box

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Even if you have a small bento box, you can still go overboard on the calories. Here’s how to, and how not to, fill a bento box if you’re using bento lunches to try to lose weight. continue reading...

Review of Yaseru Obento Recipe, a great diet bento book

book-yaseruobento.jpgThere are several books dedicated to using bentos for weight loss. I have quite a few of them, and most have a lot of good ideas. I only got Yaseru Obento Recipe recently, but it’s already become my favorite bento-for-weight-loss book and one of my favorite bento books of any kind. It is in Japanese only, as are all good bento books unfortunately. But it’s so full of great photos and illustrations that I think you could get a lot out of it even if you don’t read Japanese.

Yaseru Obento Recipe just means “slimming bento recipes”. The subtitle is kirei de oishii baransu bento ga atto iu ma ni dekiagari! dakara nagatsuzuki shite reboundo nashi! That’s a bit long, but it means generally “beautiful and delicious balanced bentos that are made in a jiffy! So you can keep (making them) for a long time, and won’t have a relapse!” That sounds good to me, and the book does deliver on that promise. continue reading...

Getting started with bento making: Easy diet bento rules

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Bento box lunches are a great tool to use within an overall weight loss program. Just the fact that the box is quite compact makes portion control a lot easier. However, just packing your lunch in a cute box doesn’t automatically make it ‘diet food’ either. Here are some simple rules to follow to maximise the weight-loss benefits of your bento lunches. continue reading...