Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

maki
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Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
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It's already Friday! Post your wrapups, thoughts etc. about how Week 1 went for you here! (If you blogged about it post the link to your blog entry or entries here too!)

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The Big Onigiri.

- Wherever you go, there you are. -

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bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 23 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

I didn't actually, I had to remember it. But I made a copy of the new one. Just in case.

____________________________________

Bronwyn

My blog is Food and Shoes

clarissa
Bento-ing from: Berlin › Germany
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 44 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

My first week din't went so well. Monday was ok, I had my bento with me and I ate it while learning for a "little exam" (not written, just a talk with the prof). The "exam" went well, but after I reached home I din't feel to well.
And the next morning I had fever and stayed home since then. I have a cold, so that was it for the exercise and loosing wight part. I have only made two bentos this week, I just cannot force myself out of bed for to long, and standing in the kitchen is out of question.
The fever is down by now and I'm feeling better, so I hope for the next week to be better

____________________________________

Adopt one today!
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bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

It has been very warm here lately so I have been eating mostly salads for my lunches. I pack them the night before, then heat, chop, mix, and eat at work. I am lucky in that I work in a university in a role where I don't have to come in contact with the public, so I have a tiny fridge, a small panini press, a coffee machine, and some cutlery and crockery in my office.

Salads as packed at home look something like this (Tuesday's, with fattening deep fried leftovers):

When prepared they look like this (Wednesday's):

On Thursday I had a proper, compact (if not very beautiful) bento made from the night before's leftovers - smoked chicken, bulghur (higher fibre than rice) pilaf, & stir fried veges:

Friday's lunch was salad again.

As far as the parts of Maki's challenge go:
a) I am trying to lose weight, so am counting calories.
b) I do move a bit - I go for walks at lunchtine, mostly to one of the supermarkets within a couple of km of my work.
c) I pack my lunches mostly the night before, so don't do the mise en place bit. Morning sleep is important.
d) I plan my lunches only a couple of days ahead. I often buy things from the half-price short dated bin at the supermarket, these need to be included in lunches at pretty short notice.

I also started a blog to facilitate participation in this challenge. I figured that if I wrote everything down I'd be less inclined to give up. It's at http://bronwyncarlisle.blogspot.com/ and contains more photos and details about food and calories and walks and stuff if anyone is interested.

maki
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Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

Great report Bronwyn! And thank goodness you had a copy of it! ^_^;

Lauri Loves You
Joined: 7 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

My week started on wed this week. (I have a weird work sched when school is not in session)
The Bento I made for Wed was okay, It was mini teriyaki chicken, veg, and brown rice. It was really the rice that did it in. I made it the night before and ate it cold the next day. So That night I decided to prep eveything the night before and cook in the morning. It was surprisingly fast. Im much happier with the method. Im going to try and keep that up. The only problem will be when school starts again and when my hubbs gets home from tour (hes a musician!) and goes back to his day job. He goes in early. Ill probably make his at night, since he can warm it up at work if he likes.
Anyways There is more about it on my blog with pictures.
http://laurichick.blogspot.com/
I just wanted to say otherwise that ive made the cherry tomato gratin and mini shrimp fritters and Love them! Ive also gotten over the idea of trying to overstuff my bento. It seems that I now have an idea of smaller portions.

The verdict: Week 1 =Success!

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http://laurichick.blogspot.com/

avlor
Bento-ing from: Sioux Falls › South Dakota › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 37 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

@clarissa - Glad you're starting to feel better.

@bronwyncarlisle - I'll trade you your "stinking hot muggy day" for my -20 F (before windchill temp at dawn yesterday).

I've just posted my report here at my blog. Was a fun week, but I think I'll have to choose which challenge I do next time.

____________________________________

Blog and Shop: http://ojami.etsy.com and http://ojamiya.com

zora
Bento-ing from: Nashville › Tennessee › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 27 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

Mine went well, I think! I tried adding up the calories for my bento (and other meals too) and have managed to stay within a reasonable limit, most of the time. I've never done that before (the calorie-counting), so that was a challenge, but very enlightening! I find that it's not too difficult to make a healthy, lower-calorie bento, but then my worst sins always happen at dinnertime: husband and I drag home from work, and when I am feeling too lazy to cook, we order a large pizza and down the whole thing. This happened on Wednesday night, ugh ("but it was a thin-crust!" was my justification. Heh). This is definitely something I need to work on, and I think better planning of my weekly menu will help... I'm going to try using Maki's schedule next week.

If anyone would like to see photos and descriptions of my bento, just click the link in my signature. :)

____________________________________

my daily bento

angelbaby
Joined: 7 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 29 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

This week went really well. The idea of a mise en place for the next morning is brilliant. I've always tried to have an idea of what I was planning to take the next morning, usually a combination of leftovers and frozen things, but it never occured to me to sit everything out the night before. Of course this also means I need to be less of a lazy slag who leaves the kitchen dirty until morning!

I am not a morning person; no amount of waking up at 5:15 - 5:30 will change that. If I don't know what I'm doing in the AM I can't function. One morning I boiled water for tea for tea eggs and forgot what I intended to do with it once the kettle whistled. So the bento/meal planner is even better than the sticky notes I was leaving. I do Weight Watcher's online, so I've been planning ahead for a while. But this gives me a different way to see my lunches and make sure I'm balanced. The downside of points is that you can become very obsessed with tiny little portion-controlled snacks that still aren't very nutritious, but seem virtuous because they're portioned and low in points. My bentos this week weren't very attractive, but they are filling, despite being much smaller than your average fast-food lunch. I managed to remember to document one and will post it as soon as my phone stops refusing to cooperate.

Céline
Bento-ing from: Avignon or Lyon, depends › France
Joined: 10 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

I'm a bit ashamed of my goals for this week after reading what others did... ^^p
I tackled the "go deeper" level, but because of my holidays I only had to pack 2 bento, and probably won't have to do much more since my classes only resume full-time later in february.

I addition to the "going deeper " asignment I also wanted to speed up my bento routine ( under 30mns, rice cooking time included) and eat more vegetables, less meat and more non-meat proteins.
I also wanted to keep in mind one thing : although I want my bento to be attractive I didn't want to spend an unreasonable amount of time on them just because this time people could see them. Sure artsy bento are mouth-watering, but it would only serve as a deterent if I begin to spend 1 hour over each one of my bento ^^p

Proceeding :

I did my planing over the weekend, and planed a tofu burger/brocoli/rice/comté combination for thursday then sesame beef onigiri/brocoli/yogurt combo for friday. I also knew that I had to make the first one the night before, but the second right on the morning.

First bento on thursday

Getting Started Bento Challenge Week 1, 1st bento

Right, that's were troubles came in. When I had to do the mise en place, I realized that I actually could't do it: I live in a 18m2 flat so I only have one set of pan and pot, which contained my dinner then, and my counter space (40 cm x 50 cm) could't fit them together with my bento box and knifes anyway. Fail !
The rest went smoothly though : I made my bento and my dinner together, under 45 mns and accordingly to my planner. I just added one clementine since I had to finish a bag of them. It also featured plenty of non-meat proteins, and tasted fine -yay.

Second bento on Friday

Getting Started Bento Challenge Week 1, 2nd bento

Same problems with the mise en place. ^^p
Plus, I realised that I had mixed sticky rice leftover on the morning I had to leave for a week... so I simply made them into onigiri, grabbed a yoghurt (please note of how I tried to leave out the brand. Ahh, food ethics.), a clementine and put a few brocoli florets in the microwave. Done under 10 mns- a first !
Note to self : To have a train to catch is a great motivation.
This bento also had to be pretty straightforward : I knew the train would be crowded and that I might be unable to sit down to eat it.

Notes for next week :

(Probably only 2 bento to plan again.)

* Be more reasonable when planing my bentos... instead of trying out new recipes in the morning (however tempting they look, the little devils) think about using up leftovers.
* Try to figure out the mise en place problems.
* Keep up the speediness !
* Maybe including more calorific food.
* (look up in advance in the dictionary the english names of some ingredients T-T)

This community is very motivating - I look forward to the next week ! ^^

themadhiker
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 46 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

So I think the bento challenge has got off to a good start here. I have managed to bring lunch in for all 5 days and I have already lost 2lbs this week so in my eyes that constitutes a success

I started off by a batch of brown rice and put it in the freezer into 6 individual portions

Sunday night I had all my ingredients and equipment "mise en place" ready to go to make a variation of bento #1 using turkey instead of tofu.

Tuesday's bento was beef donburi soboro with onion, peppers and carrots which I was very pleased with. I made enough for 4 portions of beef soboro the night before.

Wednesday we had noodles with chicken and green onions with egg tamagoyaki

On Thursday we had my first attempt at making onigiri. I filled them with some of the beef soboro and although they tasted ok they were laughable to look at so no photo I'm afraid. As a filler we had curried kidney beans and the remainder of the soboro.

Last night I was very busy with work so didn't really get any time to prepare anything. I had some defrosted turkey in the fridge and 2 portions of rice in the freezer. I was almost wasn't going to bother but my wife just joked at me and said "bento FAIL!!" which immediately got me in the kitchen and to throw a quick box together with rice, stir fried turkey breast and some stir fried green onion and bean sprouts. I took the photo on another camera so haven't had a chance to upload to flickr yet but it will be there this evening!

What I have learned this week

  • Planning
    I have learned that its really important to plan your food when you do this. I tried to "wing it" but seriously, it makes it much harder because you're not sure you'll have enough of the right ingredients and you're never sure about how long it will take to prepare everything properly.
  • Mise en place
    Just like the planning, its important to have all your ingreadients, utensils and cooking equipment to hand when you're cooking ao you can concentrate on producing quality food as opposed to messing around looking for and washing stuff as you go along.
  • Portion control
    I discovered that you do need to make sure all the food groups have adequate representation. Friday's bento didnt have enough vegetables, Wednesday's was quite protein heavy so I think I'll work a little more on how my boxes are packed and think about compartments and seperators
    a bit more.
themadhiker
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

Whoops! Wrong picture for the donburi!

scwkitty
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

I've been sick! Not sick enough to stay home, but certainly ill enough to feel awful while at school and work. I did make bento all week, but only remembered to photograph on two days.


This was okay, but I should have switched the contents of each container so heathier items were in the bigger container and treats were in the smaller one. The top part was sealed, that was thew initial reason for ths setup. The top has shelled edamame and scrambled eggs with chicken salad that's been decorated with a dried cherry. Bottom contents include crackers, dried fruit, and orange jello.


This definitely had some better options included. The tiny container has a miso/dashi/nori ball that was dissolved in hot water to make soup at work in the biggest container. the smaller ones have carrots, assorted baby tomatos, laughing cowlight cheese spread, crab shumai, and edamame. Not shown is a banana, crackers, and a soyjoy bar that were packed in the top of the lunchbag after the containers went in. Very filling, in fact I couldn't finish!

BarbJ
Bento-ing from: Cupertino › California › USA
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

My report is on my blog. Way to go everyone!!

____________________________________

BarbJ
http://barbsblab.blogspot.com/

jamie
Bento-ing from: Washington › Washington D.C. › USA
Joined: 16 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

Hi everyone,

It's been very inspiring and interesting to see what everyone has been posting to the Flickr pool! I was only able to post two photos of my bento lunches for this week but did bring lunch every single day. You can read my Week 1 report at my blog: http://culinarylinguist.blogspot.com/2009/01/just-bento-challenge-week-1....

That's about it for now! Good luck to everyone.

____________________________________

~jamie
http://culinarylinguist.blogspot.com

jamie
Bento-ing from: Washington › Washington D.C. › USA
Joined: 16 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

...somehow my post was posted twice, so I deleted this one. I also moved part of my initial post to the goals page because it seemed more appropriate.

UnicornChow
Bento-ing from: St. Louis › Missouri › USA
Joined: 7 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

Well, I'm just happy to say that I managed to make more than one bento this week. I'm notoriously bad about putting stuff off until it's too late, so that alone was a great start for me. Granted, two of bento were super duper fast, zero prep lunches, but the fact that I didn't just shove it all in a baggie is a great step for me.

Monday I just had leftover Mexican food. No preparation involved except for making sure it was right in front of the fridge and then dumping it all in my box.
Thursday I had a turkey sandwich bento, which only took me about 10 minutes to make. I had all my ingredients ready to go so I didn't have to do any hunting in the morning-I never realized how much help such a little organizing could be.
Friday I slept in, so I didn't have time to actually make anything like I had wanted, so I just shoved a cut in half hot dog and some spice mustard in a box.

I hope that next week I can be a little more creative in my meals. It's hard because I only get 15 minutes for a break at my current job, so I don't have a lot of time to eat a nice meal. That is making this a little more challenging for me, but I'm having so much fun.

Shevvi
Joined: 10 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

I took Bentos 4 times this week exceeding my goal by one day. I did pretty well with the portion control except on Thursday. I blame this on poor snack planning.

This week I have a second Mr Bento so I should be able to pack enough snacks also.

eilismaura
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

I am doing the 7 day week thing - so I will have a wrap up on Sunday

Eilish

____________________________________

~ Begin by knowing you have already arrived ~
my blog - http://honeysheistwisted.blogspot.com/

shy_hinata
Joined: 13 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

I got my one bento in right under the wire -- made it today. I shared the photo on the flickr group, and compared to all the photos other people are putting up, mine is pretty pathetic. One layer of rice, some baby carrots, and some store-bought frozen shu mai that I steamed in the morning.

Oh well. Gotta start somewhere, I suppose.

Veriest
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

@angelbaby: the sticky note idea is genius!

Overall
It seemed to go fine, until I switched from spending 20-30min on bento in the morning to 20-30 minutes at night, and then another 15-20 minutes in the morning to make things prettier. I also noticed I was packing two boxes a day, four days a week, so actually came out to eight different bento boxes a week not counting snacks.

I might stop packing bagels at home, but my frugal student side tells me that each bagel with cream cheese I buy at school means a pound less of tasty fresh vegetables.

Mise en place
Helped a lot with not forgetting things - many thumbs up! One thing I noticed while I prepped the nights before was that my snacks seemed all over the place, so I consolidated all my crackers/granola bars/candies/etc. into one giant box in a cabinet, and huddled up the olives/cheeses/nuts in my fridge.

"Pearls of wisdom
I learnt that if you have a freezer stash, it speeds things up - especially if you measure out the portions directly in your bento box so you won't have to do the guesswork in the morning. Also helps cool down foods faster, having a frozen bento box.

Soy-blended "milk tea" keeps a lot longer than milk-based ones.

Final notes
It went well, and Maki's mini-peaburgers were absolutely fantastic despite my misgivings against peas in general. (Sweet and mushy, ugh.) The toasted poppyseeds and olives make it very tasty! They were gone in three days! Two cups of peas! Three days! ...anyway.

Next week I will do more homework instead of prepping so much at night and less bento-fun. However, since I can't eat most of the food prepared at school, I will continue to pack my low-oil-no-red-meat-low-dairy-stomach-upset-proof! bento four days a week. I will stop making apple bunnies though, even if they are more delicious than normal apples.

And that's it! Can't wait for the next week.

Alice
Bento-ing from: Leicester › UK
Joined: 9 Jun 2008
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

I planned the bento's for the week but didn't stick to it too well past day 2. Although I had the planned thing on Friday. I ended up making this:
Monday: Prawn nigiri with avacado, peppers and carrots. Shown here . I also took a picture of the preperations .
Tuesday: Roasted vegetables, manderin peices, tomatoes and figs. Shown here .
Wednesday: seasame chicken, roasted vegetables, and parmasan and rocket salad. Shown here .
Thursday: No bento, I tend to make bento's the night before, and wendnesdays are hectic.
Friday: Sweet bacon filled onigiri, carrots and manderin peices. here .

auxetoiles
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

I've put my report on my main blog (don't ask how many I have - it's obscene), so that I can keep a record of it after we're done.

It's over here: http://auxetoiles23.livejournal.com/50219.html.

Good week on Week 1 guys! \o/

Kath52
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

The Challenge encouraged me to balance my lunch. I would eye my box and say, "Hmmm, this needs more Green." Even when I had greens already in my pasta salad, I would add some spinach or microgreens. The raw greens turned out to be a fresh addition to my lunch. Making it colorful enough for the photograph was an added pressure. So the Challenge challenged me in a good way!

beauplr
Bento-ing from: › Michigan › USA
Joined: 5 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 1 week ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

My week did not go as planned, but was not a major failure either. This was my first week back to work after a month of vacation. I'm an adjuct at the local community college and this semester I'm on campus half the time I was in the fall. I only need lunch for myself a couple days a week, but pack for son #2 Monday - Thursday. With my freezer stash depleated I relied on leftovers a lot this week.

Bento 1.12.09

Monday's bento was the only one I photographed. This bento was prepared the night before. I leave so early in the morning I can not function making lunch then. I usually start after dinner, while clearing up the kitchen. This bento contains a leftover Moroccan pocket made with ground turkey, apricots, almonds, and onions baked in phyllo dough; broccoli and carrots; brown rice with sesame and sea salt furikake; swiss cheese cubes; and kalamata olives. Total calories are a bit high at around 700, but I have a long day on Monday and usually split the lunch and save some for an afternoon snack. Dinners on Monday are late and light!

This challenge is a great idea, I really needed something to get me back on track. Plus, my new diet requires that I measure, weigh, and write down everything... that makes bento planning perfect for me. I am planning on following the basic challenge for now but may take it up a notch if things work out.

Maki, thanks for the new charts... I am finding them very helpul.

____________________________________

Glenda
Bento-ing from: New York › New York › USA
Joined: 7 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

This week I made 3 bentos - Tuesday's "bento" was made for me by the kindly people on the British Airways flight I had to take! :)

Day one (Wednesday) was really basic:
Jan 14
Top: Basmati rice with soy sauce, with some carrots and beans that I cooked in sesame oil. Bottom: 1.5 pieces of multi-grain bread and 2 boiled eggs, with a wee bit of kewpie mayo in the monkey case for spreading on the bread.

I was still hungry after eating all this, so I went in search of some additions at the grocery store on the way home.

Day two:
Jan 15
same rice and veg as day 1, but with prawns and some sweet orange pepper thrown in. I think I eat too many eggs, so I left those out this time. I also had 2 extra oranges, and some yogurt (not shown), and I ate the previous day's Go! bars (low-fat apple and sultana bars). The babybel cheese was a touch of extra protein, to try and make me more full. (didn't work well).

Day three: (these are my favourite bento boxes!)
Jan 16
In the Shinzi Katoh box, the same rice and veg as day 2; Anpanman held a chopped (too soft-)boiled egg (which leaked a little!! must remember to boil them for the full 10 minutes!) and 2 pre-peeled oranges and a babybel light. Yogurt and melba toasts for the egg rounded it out.

As for the challenges:
1) mise en place is hard for me because I share a very small kitchen with too roommates, both of whom leave for work just as I get up (I'm not a morning person) - so I can't leave stuff out in their way. Instead, the night before I make sure everything is easily accessible in its relevant cupboard/fridge shelf/freezer drawer.
2) weight loss - I don't want to do detailed calorie counts because it makes me obsess over my food, but each of these box combinations is about 500mL, so I think I'm ok (maki's counter thing said I need about 1250 per day). Except these bentos weren't filling enough - I have a fast metabolism, and I get hungry every 2 hours or so. My mother says I need more protein, which I'm trying to do - How many eggs per week is too many? :) I compensated for being hungry by drinking too many instant cappuccinos. I think I need a better solution!
3)Planning - this needs more work. I quite liked my lunches, but a few more pre-made ingredients would be nice to help speed things up. Tomorrow I'm going to make onigri with umeboshi puree (couldn't find whole ones here) and maybe some kind of mini non-meatballs or burgers or something. I will have to have a look through the flickr group and see if I can get some inspiration from everyone's photos!

This was a fun lunch week - thanks for making all this possible Maki! :)

maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

I have posted my Week 1 wrapup here. In a nutshell, I did pretty well with the bento part, but the exercise part - FAIL. Definitely to work on (or..work out on?) next week!

I'm really enjoying reading your reports! Don't be discouraged if you didn't meet your initial goals - if you feel you did a bit better bento-wise than you did prior to the challenge, even if it's just making 1 bento or making some plans or getting your bento gear in place - that's good!

maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports
Glenda wrote:

This week I made 3 bentos - Tuesday's "bento" was made for me by the kindly people on the British Airways flight I had to take! :)

Airline meals are sort of related to bentos I think - you have a very compact set of containers to work with, and have to have a more or less balanced meal within that. (OK many airline meals taste terrible, but still...)

VegetusMaximus
Bento-ing from: St. Louis › Missouri › USA
Joined: 7 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

My week one report can be found here: http://vegetusmaximus.blogspot.com/2009/01/week-in-bentos.html

While I did plan, I wasn't so good at the follow through. I did manage to prepare and photograph three lunches, but they were less inspiring then I had hoped. More room to improve, I guess :)

____________________________________

The Blog: http://vegetusmaximus.blogspot.com/

Clobbles
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

I made bentos all week, the only problem was it was the same every day! I think planning is going to be a must for me to help me vary my bentos, this week I just made a batch of stuff on the Sunday night and kept using it through the week.

ClaudiaThorn
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

So... I managed to make just ONE bento. but it was good, and I had too much, so I shared! Everyone thought it was so cute...

I'm just learning how to do HTML, so the full post is in my blog here: http://claudiathorn.livejournal.com/10236.html

Look forward to next week!

arkonitebabe
Joined: 14 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

I was great I made a bento for every day at work this week. Did I photograph them? Nope. Did I eat them? Nope.
Useless. That's what happens when I am not feeling very well. This week I aim to do better. I WILL take pictures and I WILL eat my lunch!!!

*sorry maki, it won't happen again*

____________________________________

www.arkonite.net
www.arkonitebento.net

Natorei
Joined: 9 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

I did well enough. My goal was to make at least three bentos, attempt to balance them, and then eat them.

My goals were all met-- I brought three bentos to school, where I ate them; and I actually put a bit of effort into balance. As one of the people blessed with natural skinniness, I had never attempted to select a specifically healthy lunch before-- I usually left that for dinner. However, it's nice to be able to take a little more control over my eating habits.

I couldn't take any pictures; I don't have a camera that's available at the proper time of day. I am only fourteen years old, after all. I don't have many fun gadgets like that.

For next week, I want to try and work on better proportions. I almost always had too many leftovers this week.

Eyebrows McGee
Joined: 11 Jan 2009
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Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

Well, my bento-ing went very poorly, since my husband had to keep driving all over the state and going to court in crazy places and lunching with clients. :) (I'm doing bentos for him right now, as I a) am pregnant and b) don't start back to work until next week; I teach college.)

But I did manage to exercise a couple times -- just walking -- and I did get lots more veggies into ME by being more aware of what I was cooking.

Next week, I will improve:
*remember to thaw things a little farther in advance
*don't let husband shop; he only buys food, not ingredients
*I may try a bento or even just a "snack bento" for me, since I'm eating 5 or 6 smaller meals a day now that my stomach is smaller but I am constantly RAVENOUS. I only teach mornings at the beginning of the semester, but I expect even just mornings I'll need a large snack/small meal/second breakfast. (Yes, I have become a hobbit.) I need to find an appropriately-sized container for this.

Eleven Clovers
Bento-ing from: Warsaw › Poland
Joined: 7 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 24 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

Week 1 went ok for me, I could've done better but I could also have done worse.

Basic: I made 3 'proper' bentos, so yay for me! Mise en place helped a lot, and also it's better for me to tinker around in the kitchen at night rather than in the morning, since my mother is awake in the morning and can hear me and then she gets all annoyed when I 'overdo' my lunch preparations.

Weight Loss: Uhh... better not speak about that ^^' Unless running around the attic and lifting 'heavy weights' (i.e. stacks upon stacks of books) counts, I totally failed here. My mother has decided to pull the financing for my kickboxing classes, so one opportunity for exercise has been knocked down. As to walking, I've been confined to the house because of 'the freezing cold outside!' (it's only -5C for crying out loud!) and who wants to do their walking INSIDE? So hmm, must try harder next week. Strangely enough, despite having not exercised at all, I seem to have lost a kilo. I also feel like I've been eating more; at least I felt full more often over the course of the day than I used to, back when I would stuff myself with cheese and ham toast during every free period I could get my hands on. So I guess stuffing myself with tangerines is better ^_^

In terms of my own aims, those I managed. Or so it seems to me, I mean my lunches are a less carb heavy and more balanced now than they used to be, with emphasis on fruit and veg. I got at least two types of veg into each bento this week, and I found snacking on fruits is very satisfying. Hee. (I'm pointedly ignoring the cookies :P )

Anyway, my week:

Monday:

White rice with tarako furikake, pork stir fry, tofu cubes in a tomato-garlicky sauce, cucumber and blanched chinese cabbage. For snack I had some tangerines and jammy cookies, and a ham and lettuce sandwich ; quite a lot, because I had to stay behind late for rehearsals.

Tuesday:

Rice with furikake, pork stewed with 'cha com' in oyster sauce, red pepper pieces, and a kohlrabi/celery stir fry. Some more tangerines to go with that. I didn't end up eating the kohlrabi though, I'm starting to get really sick of the taste.

Wednesday:

Rice with furikake, beef and mushroom stir fry, lettuce, cucumber, and celery (hiding under the lettuce under the beef). For snacking some peach jam cookies, more tangerines, and banana slices (I forgot to peel them, d'oh!)

Thursday:
Well, I had planned some roasted duck, some form of spinach, and Maki's maple syrup peppers... but I OVERSLEPT! Eeep. I woke up 5 minutes before I was to leave the house ^^' And then my mother ate what I had hoped to bring to school (apart from the peppers, she called them a mushy mess *gasp!*. Well do excuse me if my cooking skills aren't superbly fantastic and that the fridge did funny things to the peppers).

Friday:
Woke up early for a change, but I hadn't been planning to bring anything. So I tossed together some ramen and a load of leftovers which included beef, roast duck strips, more celery, daikon, red peppers, scallions (is that what they're called?), and some coriander, yummmm coriander. Photo might come when my friend decides to send it over (I don't have a functioning camera of my own <_<)

Would've made another one for Saturday because I have a Japanese class, but they cancelled it AGAIN for the third time, so instead I slept in and had breakfast for lunch ;)

Looking forward to next week!

____________________________________

"A common way to tell if it is well cooked is to throw the sausage onto a hard surface; if it bounces, the sausage is good."

My bento photos w/ detail and my blog.

Soul
Bento-ing from: › UK
Joined: 17 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 22 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

I brought lunch into uni three out of the four days I'm there over lunch. Monday and Thursday I had a beef sandwich with very little butter on brown bread, a large carrot in sticks and grapes and cherries. On Tuesday I had tomato and basil soup, with grapes and an eccles cake. The past week has been hectic with early starts and late finishes, and as on Tuesday a friend came over for dinner I was too tired the next morning to even think about bringing anything other than an orange and some money with me!

I know that they weren't proper bentos, but they were healthier than my usual lunches, and doing them and using the planner has helped to increase the number of servings of fruit and veg I'm getting.


This is a photo of one of the 'bento's I made this week.

moonshae
Bento-ing from: Melbourne › Australia
Joined: 9 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 18 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

Week 1 went pretty well I think! I made a bento 5 out of 5 days and this gave me an unexpected side benefit - the dishes are mostly done most of the time. You see, my boy generally cooks and deals with the kitchen as he works mostly from home. Lately he's slacked off and then I end up washing mountains of dishes. But now I come home, go to kitchen, wash bento and while I'm there wash a few more things and voila! A cleaner kitchen! Usually straight from being washed my bento were then filled again as it's very unlikely I'm ever going to be in the mood to cook first thing in the morning.

This week I exercised twice (day three of gym I felt too ill and spend the evening in bed) and even better - snacked less! I'm finding that I'm quite full from my bento (which includes snacks) so I don't come home starving and just graze. *happy dance* I didn't count calories very well as I use calorieking and they don't have many of the things I ate on their database (like mochi) but just in terms of portion control and limited snacking I'm really pleased.

Shellygirl
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 11 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

Well, I made one bento (Thursday lunch was tasty!).

It was negative degree Farenheit windchills around here, so no exercise done. :(

I did post about my lunch and challenges, and add my photo to the Flickr stream.

____________________________________

Shellygirl's blog

imochan
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 27 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

Hey everybody, there are some good looking bento in this thread and on flickr!

Week 1 went pretty well. I completely fell down on the exercise bit and I forgot to calculate my calories. On the up side, I did plan out the week's meals using the planner. That was difficult to do, but it sure made the rest of the week a breeze. I always knew what to do and didn't have to waste time pondering what to make for dinner/lunch.

I planned five bento, but forgot about a lunch meeting on Thurs. So I made four bento that seemed pretty balanced. Photos on flickr...well, except for that one I forgot to photograph before I ate it. I employed the mise en place for both the bento and dinner, and that helped a lot as well.

Well, off to see what's up for Week 2 and start planning!

Kai
Joined: 10 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 7 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

Congratulations to everyone for finishing Week#1!

My progress report is here: http://bentokat.blogspot.com/2009/01/week-1-summary-report.html

____________________________________

Photobucket

witchbaby825
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 28 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

I think I did really well this week! I lost weight, I planned for a weeks worth of food (thanks for the form it works wonders!!!), I exercised almost every day, I journaled all my food, and my water intake is back up to almost normal. I don't know if this will work & put the pictures here - if not here's the link to the blog - http://witchbabys-journey.blogspot.com/2009/01/weekly-recap_18.html.

Monday - I was off work - didn't pack a Bento, but boy did I cook for one. I pre prepped rice & noodles & onigiri to put up for the week. Had a dentist appointment this morning & really didn't feel well - However I did get in 45mins of workout anyway.

Tuesday - Went to work at midnight as normal - and brought in a store bought Chicken Pad Thai (and it was super yummy)I really need to learn to cook it myself. Got all the house cleaned and started reorganizing the kitchen. Got in about 30mins on the Wii.

Wednesday - Had a wonderful day - started off by using leftover chicken lo mein for bento and it was quiet tasty - just next time note to self - don't use Jim's left overs (too much soy) and I got exercise in! Yay Me!

9.5pts

Thursday - I loved making this box.

13pts

Friday - I think this is the cutest box I've done so far.

12pts

Saturday - I went and weighed in for the week - down another 1.8lbs!!!! Wow it is so cold here and the phone lines are jamming. Tonight's dinner - Chili 15 points

____________________________________

I'm on a get healthy kick - since I quit smoking - next stop weight loss - let the journey begin.

MizLit
Joined: 7 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 29 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

We started?
Oh jeez!

I brought bento twice last week and bought school lunch twice (we had a four day week for the end of the quarter). Things were very hectic this last week because of grades coming due an an unseasonably warm shift in weather (translation: the kids turned into monkeys).

Planning ahead is the most important Bento factor for me. I cannot afford a 20-30 minute morning bento assembly as I am not a morning person and already wake up at 5:30 to ensure leaving by 6:45 (earlier wake time if I have supervision that morning). I usually pack my bento the night before unless I have soup going in a metal thermos container. If that's the case, this is heated in the morning in a Pyrex measuring cup.

On the note of mise en place, I did prep some rice for next week/future. I made extra rice for Friday night's jambalaya and made onigiri. I did two kinds: portions wrapped plane and frozen and portions first pan-fried in a non-stick pan brushed with soy sauce. I wrapped those as well, but they went into the fridge. I hate microwaving food in plastic, so the onigiri will get zapped sans their wrapper in a small glass dish I keep at school for this purpose. I posted pictures of them to our Flickr group.

Goals for next week: Pictures! Balance!

Awfulknitter
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 17 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

Inspiring to read everybody's reports! I met my goal of doing a bento every day - putting photos on flickr is a good motivation for me, as it turns out!

I also had a personal goal of trying a new recipe - my bento-making gets into a rut really easily. I actually tried two new recipes, one for veggies with miso sauce, and one for a sesame-honey noodle sauce, which I used on shirataki. I was really pleased with both, although I need to consider how to avoid aubergine going soggy when it's been sat in miso sauce for a couple of days. Next week I hope to be trying at least one other new veggie recipe - it will probably be something involving either carrots or broccoli, as those are the veg that I nearly always have in.

What I failed on: portion control (I always always always make too much rice!), and planning - I did no planning last week, apart from a few vague thoughts when I was doing the shopping. This resulted in bentos that were all quite similar in their veg content.

maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 2 weeks 4 hours ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports
Eyebrows McGee wrote:

*don't let husband shop; he only buys food, not ingredients

hahaha, I totally get that statement! ^_^

Rheanna
Joined: 11 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 31 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

Week one's report:

All food was planned in advance, calories were kept to around 400 for me and around 500-600 for hubby.

Monday didn't start too great as I had a migraine and spent most of the day in a dark room. I did eat the bento my husband let for me at some point that afternoon, but I don't even remember what was in it. Needless to say, I wasn't in shape or mood to take photos.

Tuesday we had wraps filled with mozzarella and salad for lunch, plus an apple and a satsuma. It was really nice, but I forgot to take the photo :( What we could have done better is to have wholemeal wraps instead of white, but we still can't find a good make of those. The wholemeal ones dry out so much faster and also often stick.

Wednesday it was egg fried rice with peas, plus steamed broccoli and cauliflower. And an apple and satsuma (this week's permanent feature). Food groups are all there (protein is the egg in the rice) and I finally remembered to take the photo:

Thursday was plain rice, steamed mixed vegetables and some mozzarella. All food groups (plus my apple and satsuma) I need to have and none that I shouldn't (ie chocolate). And here is what it looked like:

Friday was plain rice, soy loaf (as per Maki's recipe) and some tomato and cucumber, and again apple and satsuma which I always forget to add to the photo. I think this was my favourite lunch this week:

Exercise wise, I have achieved my goal of cycling to work twice and also going swimming twice. The swimming would have actually been three times, but Monday is my swimming day and I had that stupid migraine. I have lost a little over 1kg in weight, so I'm happy with that. As hubby didn't initially weigh himself, noone knows if he lost weight. Some excuse, if you ask me!

So, that was a good start, we're both looking forward to week 2 now! Thanks again Maki for starting this.

mosaica
Bento-ing from: › Vermont › USA
Joined: 11 Mar 2008
User offline. Last seen 3 years 32 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

So interesting to read all these reports!

My first week was Very Educational.. I feel that I achieved the goals I set for myself: made & posted photos of lunch each day. I also kept a food diary for each day which included all the food I ate in addition to the bento lunches. I checked a few places online to see what my caloric intake should be for maintenance & weight loss, and they were all pretty much the same. Because I have a lot of weight to lose, the numbers were a bit large and daunting, so I made a call to my doctor and got a phone date with a nutritionist to go over my numbers and get some clueful feedback.

Here are some thoughts from the first week:

• I made too much food for the first 3 days or so. One bento I ate and felt pretty stuffed & sleepy afterward, and that was a good indication that it was too much food. This got better as the week progressed, in fact, the calories for the bentos went down by around a hundred each of the first 4 days and settled at a more reasonable amount.

• Around 5-6 years ago, when I was first diagnosed with type II diabetes, I kept a very thorough food diary. I started by just observing the numbers, trying to see patterns, etc., for the first few weeks. As time passed, this close observation and mindfulness led organically to a shift in how I ate, and I became the apple of my doctor's eye as I was able, with shifts in diet and an increase in exercise, to become essentially non-diabetic --to the point where I didn't need any diabetes meds. The food diary in particular was such a good tool that I decided that I would do a 2-week intense food diary every 6 months or so to keep an eye on how I was eating.

How things change! I had a few bad winters and ceased exercising in any organized fashion, never did another food diary, and my diabetes became a problem again.

I've been wanting to start a food diary again for the last few years, and it was finally this challenge from Maki which got me going!

Keeping the diary is time consuming, but I find it almost magically helpful, and it sure does help that there are some good online tools. Some wonderful person here on the forum recommended a nutrition tool which I've found really useful: http://www.nutritiondata.com/ --I had been using the bare-bones USDA nutritional database, but what I like about the http://www.nutritiondata.com/ website is that after registering I can create recipes and get the numbers I need for a whole dish. I create my recipes once, and many of these are dishes I'll eat again and again, and now it's an easy matter to just pop over and get the numbers I need.

Btw, I keep track of the following: calories, carbs, fat, and protein. These are the numbers which matter for me personally.

• While I really love forms, filling out questionnaires, etc., I learned something about me and planning this week, and once again I have a forum member to thank for articulating what I'd been vaguely thinking about. Instead of planning the week ahead and making a grocery list, it works better for me to go do my shopping, looking for what's freshest and what's on sale. Then I get lots of food from my community of friends & family (a haunch of venison here, a dozen eggs there, a bushel of apples). So each week, often on Thursday as it happens, I look at what I have, and then I do some brief planning before settling down to a bunch of food prep. I get my the bulk of my veggies and fruit on Wednesdays, so I really need to do things with those foods quickly so nothing spoils and goes to waste. I really *hate* throwing food away because it spoils!

And in fact this works very well for me, the flow seems pretty natural and common-sensical :-)

• I sure do love the inspiration and many excellent recipes on Maki's JB and JH --just looking at my bentos one can tell I've learned many delicious recipes from her :-)

• There were some real highlights from this first week: I made 10 little muffin-tin-sized cherry-berry pies (super cute) which I froze. I have baked several of them over the course of the week, and each one is 188 calories of berryliciousness! If I had a whole pie, it would be MUCH too easy to eat too much, and this used up a bunch of berries from the freezer which Really Needed to be used, AND I was able to make these cute little pastry starbursts from leftover pie crust dough which I can scatter on fruit salad --works great!

The fried veggie-rice I made was a big happy: I still have 4 lunches (plus a side each for dinner) in the freezer. Also, I love love love tamagoyaki and it will play a recurring role in my bentos.

• There were also some less successful bits: I made a batch of onigiri and froze them. While they were okay, they were really only *just* okay. I made another batch recently, all of which were eaten over two days, and these non-frozen ones tasted so much better. I followed Maki's directions, but the frozen ones were dry, crumbled apart too easily, and didn't have that yummy moist rice-y happiness. So I need to work on that.

I'm really looking forward to my consultation with the nutritionist: I am not entirely confident that I'm making great choices regarding my goals; I want to make sure I'm making nutritionally sound choices.

All in all, it was a great first week! I love the inspiration I get from all of you --thanks!

____________________________________

http://mosaica.wordpress.com

nicole
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 8 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

I made six bentos this week, 3 for me and 3 for Tino.


Astrogirl Bento Recap 1/17/09

I did better on time than I have before, which was one of my goals. I took about 45 minutes (including prep times done outside of the bento making window) per day to make two bentos.

My goal of leaning more paleo in my eating? Out the window this week. I really really need to cut back on the carbs both for my health and for my weight. The carbs really put the weight on me, so if I can stick to leaner meats, veg and fruit, and a little dairy, I will be better off. I did get *some* exercise this week, but not much. I did a lot of household chores, up and down the stairs a lot, two weeks worth of laundry, so it's not like I was sitting on my butt, but I only did a formal Wii Fit workout once (split aerobics, yoga and calisthenics).

I also need to plan meals and bentos better. I planned more food this week than I usually do, probably thanks to the bentos, but I still need to do better.

____________________________________

My flickr photostream: http://flickr.com/photos/astrogirl

All my bentos appear on flickr, but not all on my blog, which is here: http://astrogirl.com

pii_bii
Bento-ing from: Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 19 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

Bit of a crummy start this week; I totally sympathise with everyone who was ill this week - it is hard to change your diet when all you want to do is hide in bed and eat big bowls of warming soup!
I was very experimental (as ever) in my cooking this week, but due to being ill on Wednesday I really let myself down and only ended up making two full bento :(

Bento Challenge 1

This is Monday's. I made a dead garlicky sweet potato and butternut squash gratin the previous night, so a big chunk of that went in, as well as some tofu I cooked on the morning. A bit of baby leaf spinach and some apple was more than enough to complement the very strong flavours.

Bento Challenge 2 - next morning

Tuesday saw me reverting back to rice for my carb (it was a bit odd having sweet potato as a carb instead of noodles or rice) and using up some carrots in the wonderful classic carrot kinpira from Just Bento. That, along with the country stewed eggplant, has to be one of my favourite recipes EVER, but sadly due to the sugar content I have had to cut the latter out of my diet of late! I fried some leafy green cabbage (not savoy, but similarly dark) in a little oil so that it was crisp and cellophane-y like chinese restaurant 'seaweed', added a quick sesame and miso tofu stir-fry, and some orange pepper for sweetness and crunch. Conference pear was my fruit for today, and it was perfectly juicy.

I shan't write such epic pieces about my bento this coming week, as I will make one EVERY DAY (honest), as I intended to this week. I am so impressed by everyone's efforts, and those who have counted calories and those who have made a bento every day have put me to shame, but also really inspired me. Good luck in the coming week, everyone!

eilismaura
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 3 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

5-Week Challenge Week 1 Round Up

The Goals and how I made out with them:

* discovering caloric level needed - calculated and generally used during the week
* measure my bento boxes for volume - done only for the two boxes used in the week
* pre-plan the bentos and other meals - very loosely planned but did make better use of materials than other weeks
* practice mise en place - need more work on this area but did make a few gains
* make at least 2 bentos - DONE and they were pictured on Bento Lunches as well as below
* take photos of them to and write a report on my adventures! - the photos can be seen at:
http://honeysheistwisted.blogspot.com/2009/01/5-week-challenge-week-1-ro...

And this finishes my report!!

Eilish

LadyMurasaki
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 24 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

The first challenge really helped me prepare for making lunches for the Spring semester. The goals for this week have helped me understand the overall need to plan my meals and streamline the preparation process.

Bentos:
Monday's lunch contained Quorn "chicken" nuggets, veggies w/vegetarian oyster sauce, and rice w/furikake.

Wednesday's lunch contained veggie chili, rice, and baby carrots.

Planning:
I did two bentos this week. I found that planning for the entire week's bentos was very helpful. Before I would spend the night before rummaging through my cupboards to figure out what's available. The planning really streamlined the process. Making the lunches the night before is more convenient for me than making them in the morning. I still use the mise en place, so when it's time to cook at night, I can start without fumbling for the right tools and ingredients.

Weight loss:
Monday's bento (the box has a capacity of 560 ml) had 360 calories according to SparkPeople, and Wednesday's bento (with a 650 ml capacity) had 330 calories. According to SparkPeople, my calorie range should be 1200-1550, and these lunches helped me stay within that range. I tried to limit the amount of rice. I used 1 cup for Monday's lunch. Wednesday's lunch had only 1/4 cup. Also, to limit fat, I did not do a true stir fry for Monday. I microwaved the veggies and mixed in the sauce. This also helped me save some time.

Exercise-wise, I did well. I have been exercising regularly for about two years now, so I feel weird about missing workouts. I lift weights three times a week, using the program outlined in The New Rules of Lifting for Women . I'm currently in stage 5, and I'm very pleased with the results. I also do cardio 6-7 times/week. For cardio, I do dvd's, jump rope, and do HIIT (high intensity interval training).

I still feel like I need more practice before I can get back into the swing of things this semester, but I at least have some strategies and goals to work towards.

ibii
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 48 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 1 Wrapup Reports

My last workday is actually Saturday, so I had to wait until after that to post my report for the week

Tuesday:
my lunch 1/13/09

Friday:
my lunch 01/16/09

Saturday:
No picture as it was basically the same as Friday's lunch but with no apples and added a bag of chips ! :S

*I did make a lunch 3x a week, but I am unhappy I ended up eating the same thing on Fri&Sat, especially since that lunch was lacking in any vegetables. Also going to make myself take a picture of ALL lunches, that way I can see when I'm being repetitive/how unhealthy I'm eating, I think the idea of not wanting to see my junk food lunch is more motivation to make a healthier one.
*I also did a great job of pre-planning, except for Saturday I suppose! I actually planned to add vegetables to Friday's lunch, but ran out of time because I woke up late that morning, sigh. The bento planner chart is *so* helpful! I've tried a bit of planning before by just scribbling it out, but I love the chart because it also helps to keep the health part in balance.
*I did make myself have everything mise en place the night before, which was a *tremendous* help and I've been applying this tip to all of my meals since then (though I usually did do it for dinner, I don't know why it didn't occur to me for bento before...)
*I did count the calories and was within my intended goal everyday, but I actually ended up counting the calories *after* I ate the lunch when my original intention was to count the calories *before* I even made it so that the calories could be adjusted if necessary, so I need to work on that. I'm also quite irritated at myself that my lunches weren't healthier (a little voice in the back of my head keeps saying, "but it's okay to eat all that junk food if you stay within your calories!" Agh!)

Looking forward to this week's challenge as it seems to focus on a lot of things I need to correct!

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