Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

2010 was pretty event-filled for me. I went to Japan twice, after many years away, for a total of nearly 5 months, re-acquainting myself with my roots. Both my parents went through serious illnesses and operations. I moved into a new (old) house in a French village, then promptly got a serious infection and was hospitalized for weeks. And last but certainly not least, I finished a little book that so far has been way more popular than anyone anticipated.

2011 is the Year of the Hare or Rabbit (usagi) according to what’s commonly called the Chinese Zodiac in the west (in Japan, the 12 animals symbolizing the years are called eto 干支). That will make me a toshi onna, or woman who was born during the year of the bunny. (If you’ll be 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, etc. next year, you too will be a toshi onna during the Bunny Year, or a toshi otoko if you’re a guy. And of course, babies born next year will be Bunny Year Babies.) Being a toshi onna (or otoko) is not necessarily considered to be all good; you may have good luck, but you may be in danger of running into bad luck too. Either way, if I am to believe such things, it may turn out to be an even more interesting year than 2010.

I know that we can make resolutions at any time of the year, but New Years Day is really the perfect time to shake off the past and make a promise to oneself to start something new, or continue a good thing. I’d certainly like to shake off the bad things about 2010, and arm myself with some good intentions and plans for 2011.

Bento-wise, I’m interested a accomplishing number of things: exploring some traditional Japanese foods more deeply, researching the world of ekiben further, using bentos as a continuing tool towards keeping my blood sugar in check (it’s working well so far in that respect, barring some lapses such as extended mochi testing sessions) and improving my decorative food cutting skills. But above all, I want to continue spreading the word of bento around the world, and introducing people to the fun and versatility of the portable meal in a box.

So, how about you? Do you have any bento-related resolutions for 2011? Share them with the world right here!

A hidden bonus giveaway

One of the people who share their bento related resolution in the comments here will get one precious advanced copy of the 2nd printing of The Just Bento Cookbook, signed of course. The book is sold out on Amazon.com right now, and getting scarce in other places until they can receive new shipments, so if you didn’t get one in your Christmas stocking, now’s your chance. Your resolution/comment must be posted here (and it must be a comment, not an email reply if you’re reading this by email) by the end of 2010 - that is, until 11:59:59pm of December 31st CET (Central European Time). Good luck, and let’s ring out the old year with a bang!

(Comments are now closed. The winner of the book will be announced soon! Happy New Year!)

For more bento recipes, ideas and tips, subscribe to Just Bento via your newsreader or by email (more about subscriptions).

And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

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Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

make more freezer stash so I can bento to work more often and more quickly.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

make more freezer stash.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

Make prettier bentos!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

Whoo hoo! I'm so happy I pre-ordered my copy way back when. Congratulations on the second printing. It is a wonderful book. My resolution is to prepare and freeze more bento food. I'm in a rut of just taking leftovers or making a noodle miso soup at work. I've already tried the pork and shrimp meatballs -- yummy and surprisingly easy.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My bento-related resolution for the year is to use my new bento to the fullest ! I got an actual bento for Christmas by Bento&co. It's really cute, but I am always really lazy and forgetful that I never prepare my bento's or put in healthy lunches. I'm also a health freak, so it really breaks my heart when I have to wrap a slice of pizza from the night before instead of preparing a a nice balanced lunch. I would like for my bento to be pretty inside and out! (:

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

Since my general New Year's Resolution is to eat more healthy, bentoing will be a great help. I will try to avoid university cafeteria food and instead have a healthy bento each day. Additionally, I want to try to incorporate more protein in my bentos (not that easy, for I am a vegetarian and a bit of a picky eater) and make them look better.
I wish everyone a happy and successful 2011!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My new year solution is to make bento lunches instead of buying lunches for work. To save money and make healthier yummier lunches! But first I need a guide to learn from! =D

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I have had Type 1 Diabetes for the last 15 years, and after just turning 20 have been informed that I am in highly dangerous ranges of Cholesterol, Triglycerides, and beginning to show the signs of kidney damage. It is all my own fault in that until this rather physical wake-up call I had not made much effort to track my blood glucose or reliably give myself insulin injections. I have already begun making changes to the way I eat. (I will miss bacon for a long time ;_;) Now I have begun to do what I love to do, which is make my meals at home, but returning to college I will not be able to cook my lunch at home most days and so Have restarted my interest in Bento. I am hoping to use the creativity and more controlled portions of bento boxes to help me with my diet changes, as well as make it easier o adjust my medicine to compensate.

My bento resolution is to actually begin using a bento box for lunches, and to lower my HBa1c and Cholesterol with it's help.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

Well, I already posted this a while ago I think - I want to start again. I'd been pretty good at bringing a bento to work at least 3 times a week in '09, but for some reason I've been slacking in '10. With my new kitchen and (slightly) bigger freezer I shouldn't have an excuse not to make a bento anymore. Plus added reason: I promised my new boyfriend I'd make him some healthy lunches to take on the train/airport with him when he travels for work, he's sick of greasy fast food (no ekibens here!)
Happy New Year Maki!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I have one nice bento box but always end up stuffing things in Tupperware - I will use the box at least once!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution for 2011 is.... to finally start making bentos! I've been to Japan twice, I've bought all the necessary (almost...), and I think it's time to start cooking!
I'm not able to cook.... but I want to try! I want to start making bentos for me, and then.. maybe... for my boyfriend!
Wish a joyful 2011 to everybody, and a lot of love!
Laura

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to be more creativ while making bento! I´m looking forward to try new recipes (even though my carrot/root parsley kinpira is a big hit :D

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution for the new year is to plan my bento better in advance and to build up a small stash. I want to make the bento making prosess a bit quicker and simpler, but more importantly to make my bento healthier and more wholesome to aid me in losing some weight and becoming more healthy. :)

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I hope I find the energy to resume preparing bentos next year, as I relied a little bit to much on the canteen last months and didn't either find the energy to cook at home, after hectic working days. So, my resolution is to cook more, and I know that it will allow me to fill in my bento boxes with part of this food :)

I ordered your book 3 weeks ago, and it is supposed to be on its way from Amazon (but with another book along that has not yet been released, so I'm sceptical)...

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I will try to make a bento more often, in order to avoid the unhealthy cafeteria food which I eat out of pure laziness. Have a good one! Happy New Year

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to make bentos twice a week!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution for 2011 is to make at least two healthy bentos for lunch per week! I want to get back into shape and eating good bentos along with exercising with my friend will help me achieve that goal. It will also help me save money instead of going out and buying lunch each workday.

Plus bentos are just cute and fun to make! :D

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My bento-year resolution(s)!

1. Making bento atleast once a week
2. Make healthier bento (and food in general)
3. Plan my meals better/at all

Point three will be simpler with the meal plan tool from this site, so I thank you for that, Maki~

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to get back to Bento box making. Since I lost my job I've not bothered to make boxes anymore, but I've also put on some pounds because I'm eating more, and eating worse. Bento is much healthier for me!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I started working from home this past August and have been slacking on making bentos. I would like to get regular and make them all the time again, 5 days a week instead of here and there or every other month.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution will be to buy a few really nice bento things so I feel like I'm treating myself when I make them. And to find more interesting things to put in them, like weird fruits and vegetables, and blue rice and things like that.

Happy New Year, Maki-san!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

Part of my resolution is to become a full fledged vegan and not cheat (even though the occasional pizza parlor mozzarella sitck is sooo tempting). And by doing this I will start making more bentos to bring to work and on outtings with friends and family. By doing this it will force me to make healthier meals and be more creative with the things I make to eat. And hopefully I will be able to convert some people along to way to making healthier choices and the fun of bento making! :D

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I have been making Bento for my kids and hubby for almost 3 years now and the interest and passion in it just kept growing every year! Never did I think a neatly tucked meal in a box will bring so much good, happiness and joy to my family and myself! My Bento resolution is to better myself in the preparation of my bento together with maximum benefit of homecooked meals and details in presentation! Bento is really a little comfort in a box and brings the maker and recipient some fun and joy for the day. Cheers to more Bento. Thank you for all your Bento ideas and info too. happy New Year!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My bento resolution is just to start making bento. I've collected recipes and equipment and now it's time to start using them! And thanks to you for this indispensable website.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I find your 2010 recap quite eventful already! O.o Wishing you a happy and healthful Year of the Bunny, however interesting it may turn out to be :)

A little preface to my resolutions: I used to figure skate growing up, which these days has turned into watching skating on tv (or more frequently, YouTube, since this sport is less than mainstream here in the US). Mao ASADA was recently televised announcing her resolutions between her coming-of-age this past year and the Sochi 2014 Olympics. She intends to rework her jumps this year, fall in love next year, achieve stability the following, then win Olympic gold in 2014. Highly commendable, considering she is already twice the World Champion and 2010 Olympic silver medalist. She is also something of a budding foodie :)

My bento-related resolutions are admittedly underwhelming in comparison, but I agree that goals are best achieved in steps. For the first part of 2011, I would like to increase use/consumption of complex carbohydrates and fresh produce (fruits, veggies), rather than processed sugars and frozen/pre-packaged meals. In the later part of 2011, I would like to use these changes to increase the variety of the dishes I make/include in my bento. The ultimate goal would be to make the process of bento-making and healthy cooking a daily part of life, rather than the exception.

Best wishes to all in achieving your resolutions for 2011!!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I have a simple New Year's resolution...to "Bento"! I've been watching the site for months. I know it will help my ten year old daughter with her school lunch issues.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My bento resolution is to actually start making bentos. I've lurked here (and multiple other websites) for months and months and I think I'll finally take the plunge :)

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I want to get more creative with vegetables in my lunches, dinners and bentos! Looking forward to reading more about your adventures and congratulations on the book being sold out! That's awesome!! Happy New Year and Guten Rutsch from Berlin!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

Hello!
I wanted to make bento for every long day I had to spend in university since October, but I did not do it, haha ^^°
So I'll try again this year by stocking up in staples, trying lots of recipes from JustBento and other sites and being on the watchout for nice leftovers from mom's cooking ;D
Also, I want to make my bento more beautiful and not simply throw in whatever I might find in the refrigerator (as, for example, cheese and ham and rice, not pretty and not very interesting...), so that I don't have to be ashamed to post lots of photos in my blog.
Also, I want to make cute and yummy bento for my little sister, who suffers from a fructose intolerance, so that she can enjoy a nice meal on long school days.

Have a happy new year! <3

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to make a bento for my partner at least once a week. While I've only ventured into using "American-type" food left-overs, bentos seem to be fun, creative, and a good use for left-overs:) They make you make the time to appreciate what you have and express that feeling to the one you love.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to try to be more organised! The nearly-hubby's packed lunches (well, normally dinners for when he's working an evening shift) tend to be created out of whatever I can cram into a tupperwear box at the last moment. Sometimes I can take over two hours making one when I want to use japanese rice in it. Not a good use of my time! :p

Thinking ahead, including more fruit and vegetables and creating a stash in the freezer is the plan.

Bento Resolution for 2011

My bento resolution for 2011 is to actually make a full-fledged bento once a week. I have always read the recipes on the website and made some of them, and I have put together “half-bentos” but never really revved up and made a true bento. Time to stop reading and start doing! Happy New Year!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I have to start packing my lunch every day for work. I too often stop for fast food, and it's had a bad effect on my waistline. I resolve to start stocking easy to pack foods, and preparing staples on the weekend to go in my box. I'd love to have a cookbook to help show me the way!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to get back to bento. I didn't really do it much this year, and I miss it.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I take bentos filled with western food, simple leftovers from dinner. I resolve to make a japanese style bento once a month. I would love to try new recipes and begin to eat healthier.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to make a bento at least twice a week, instead of eating the cream and grease heavy, unhealthy food my college serves most days. (Also to change my meal plan so I have some money to spend on groceries.)

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I'd like to start cutting more vegetables whenever I prepare them, and store them in fridge or freezer ready to be used up as quick and healthy bento fillers.
A simple enough resolution - I hope I'll make it :)

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My 2011 bento resolution is to find bento meals that are tasty, nutritious, & can be prepared in teeny kitchen :-)-w/ingredients I can find locally. There is a special cared for feeling when we open our lunch box to find the happy creativity and thoughtfulness of preparation. We do extended RV travel and have bento style lunch boxes for our day trip lunches- & everyone is amazed we take the extra time & thought in our mid day meal. (Also is very helpful with watching our portions). And then pass those bento meal ideas to adult working son & daughter to help their workday have a little lunchtime zing.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to create healthy and vibrant bentos for dh and I several times a week. I plan to creatively include new vegetables on a regular basis.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I have been bento-ing for nearly a year (started in mid Jan 2010 after discovering this site), so now's the perfect time to think about how best to improve for the second year. For 2011, I would like to cook more often and to prepare bentos with more variety. I also want to keep up the emphasis on more veggies than starch or meat.

Maki, thanks for your site!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I am new to bento and began making younger son's lunches bento style 2-3 times per week this year. We both enjoy it a lot!

My resolution is that each time I make a bento lunch for my son, I also make one for me to have that day.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

Bento every day. It is replacing burgers every day.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution for the upcoming year is to complete a meal planner for each week to help me eat healthy, lose weight and waste less food.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to learn how to make characters, animals & be creative.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My bento resolution is to make bentos more a part of my planned meals.

This year I 'discovered' bentos, but they would happen sporadically. I already meal plan my dinners, but I think that planning bentos would benefit the whole family (and hubby will be very happy that he doesn't have to try to find a bit of bread to scrape something onto to nibble on for lunch!) ;)

Thanks for all you do, Maki-san.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I have many challenges this coming year. My husband may get layed off, I might retire and I have to reinvent myself to make me more marketable in this economy. I have great intentions but I'm terrible following through on my goals. So this new year I sincerely commit to setting a couple of goals and following through. Thank you and Happy New Year.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I have several bento resolutions!

1.) To make a bento to bring to school at least 3x a week!
2.) To convert my mother into eating bentos!
3.) To suck it up and make an artsy bento at least once!
4.) To come up with and share my own little bento recipes!

Thank you so much for all you hard work, Maki! And thank you to everyone else that shares great ideas and suggestions!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My bento resolution is to plan out my bentos with healthier options and focus on portion control!

This fall I started working at a theme park in a remote area and the only food options are the staff cafeteria (yuck!) and the park food (somewhat tasty but expensive and VERY unhealthy). Thanks to the wonderful advice from this site I already make bentos for work almost every day of the week but I still rely on a lot of salty meat and white rice (yummy! But not so good calorie-wise).

2010 has been a great bento year since the meals I bring to work are much more practical (not to mention cute!) and now even my coworkers are interested in the world of bento! Look out 2011!

-Kat >^.^<

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I just picked up a couple of really neat boxes and so I resolve to learn to properly pack my bento in 2011. I am sure it will take a lot of practice and that is the fun part.

Thanks for your site and all of the tips and hints! It's wonderful.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I, like you, had a year of health issues, hospitalizations and I even had surgery too. I say "good riddance 2010, and hello to a healthy 2011!" My resolution is to share the health benefits of bento lunches with my co-workers, now that I am able to get back to my work as a teachers-aide. We teachers are surrounded by sweet treats that parents bring in, and we need all the help we can get. Your book will provide the inspiration we all can share, as your website has for me. I can't wait to show them my lunches :)