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Seven Reasons Why Bentos are Good for You

Seven Reasons Why Bentos are Good for You

 

Bento
    Bento

    Bentos, the home-packed meals that Japanese prepare everyday for their spouses, children or themselves, have become very trendy worldwide. And, as I have confirmed since I began preparing mine, their global popularity is not unfounded. Here are six reasons why bentos could be good for you:

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    Bentos are healthy: As you prepare them regularly, you can be sure you are eating the freshest meals, without additives or chemicals.

    Bentos are balanced: Bentos consist traditionally of rice, fish or meat, and pickled, raw or cooked vegetables. Just add a fruit as dessert and you will be eating all the food groups as advised by doctors.

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    Bentos can help you lose weight: Bentos are packed in boxes with several portioned compartments that will avoid you filling them with too much food. There are a wide range of box sizes. If you need to loose some weight (like I do) just pick the bento box, using this rule of thumb: 1 cubic milliliter equals 1 calorie. If your goal is a 1,800-calorie-diet, get a bento box  of 600 milliliters, where you can eat your three daily meals.

    Bentos are nice: The variety of bento boxes is virtually endless. There are different shapes, styles, colors, materials and themes. There are boxes with flowers (kimono bento boxes) for women, with samurai themes for men and with animal shapes for children. Some people have even bento boxes collections.

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    Bentos are zen: For some people, preparing a bento requires the level of concentration and dedication needed to shape a bonsai. Some decorate their bentos like manga or anime characters, or with seasonal designs like leaves or flowers. Preparing a bento can be a peaceful experience.

    Bentos are tasty: You can use your favorite spices when preparing your bentos. Use less salt and more pepper, chili, cinnamon, cumin or curry. Try new and exotic spices like furikake (a Japanese topping for rice), ajipon (lemon seasoned soy sauce) or teriyaki sauce.

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    Bentos are economical: Bentos are not only healthier than food in restaurants, they are cheaper. As you eat less, it costs you less.

    You can find a lot of websites dedicated to bentos: I found my favorite recipes and the addresses of Japanese supermarkets online. I also bought my bento boxes online.

    Give bentos – and your health – a chance. You won’t regret it!

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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