Welcome to Week 4 of the 5 week Getting Started Bento Challenge!
A reminder of the outline of this and upcoming Challenge weeks.
So far, we’ve mainly concentrated on bentos for you. But many people make bentos for their family members, in addition to or instead of for themselves. This week’s focus is on how to get your spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, or kids to love their bento, and how you can keep up with bento making without going crazy. Fortunately, you can use all the skills and tactics discussed so far to make your loving bento efforts go smoothly.
We started out this challenge by working on mise en place, getting organized and planning ahead. If you are making more than one bento at a time, organization is even more important. I make two bentos, one for myself and one for The Guy. Usually I just make the same thing for both of us, and pack more food in his box. Still, I estimate that making one more bento with the same ingredients adds about 5 minutes of extra time. And more often than not I make something extra for his bento, like a meat item or something. So having everything in order and knowing what to make is critical.
In connection with being organized: If you have been following along with the recommendations both during the Challenge and on Just Bento in general, you know the critical role of bento ‘johbisai’ or stash foods in speeding up your bento making, as well as adding variety. One problem I used ot run into a lot was someone other than me diving into the fridge or, much less frequently the freezer, and eating up my bento stash, wreaking havoc on my plans!
To prevent this, I freeze as many things as possible (in a drawer of my freezer that is dedicated as the ‘bento stuff drawer’, see Week 3), or put it away in a plastic container way in the back of the refrigerator. You may need to take stronger measures if your house has more than one Fridge Marauder, and/or teenagers.
Note that I am not that qualified to talk about bentos for kids, since I don’t have kids of my own. My sister has two kids, and I’ve talked to her about making her son, who is a bit picky, eat his lunch (the younger one, my niece, eats everything). Some of her ideas are incorporated here. And there are many other bento blogs that are specifically about bentos for children (see favorite bento blogs.) Of course, picky and demanding eaters come in all sizes and ages!
So, you are all gung-ho about bentos - healthier lunches! more variety! cut down the family food budget! But your picky family members are resistant. What to do? I have been lucky in that The Guy is not that picky about food, but I did have to start him off slowly. Here are some ideas:
If you are making bentos for your spouse/SO or kids, you might consider packing a bento for yourself as well. This way, not only do you not have to bother about your own lunch, you also get to taste how the bento is after several hours, and make adjustments as necessary.
So, on to this week’s tasks!
Whatever level you decide to tackle, you should do the following:
Just one more week to go in the Challenge! The most important thing is to just Do It - make bento at least a couple of times a week. If at the end of the Challenge, bento making has become part of your routine, you’ve passed with flying colors!
Your Weight Loss Challenge tasks are a continuation of the things discussed in previous week, especially Week 2">Week 2. How is the weight loss going? Have you lost a few pounds / kilos / stones?! If not, why do you think it is? You may want to review your bentos, and see if they are packing more calories than you thought. Or maybe you need to step up the exercise? (I know I do!)
Basic: Your main goal is to make bentos part of your daily routine, so keep putting together those bentos, even if they are very basic ones!
Going Deeper: Figure out how to make your family members and others love bento (or love bento even more).
Weight Loss: Review your weight loss and your past bentos. Are you losing weight? Do you feel healthy and fitter?
Just one more week to go in the Challenge after this. It’s all smooth sailing from here…right? Right!
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.