'Ayaw Ng Gulay? Bigyan Mo ng Matamis Para Ganahan,' and Other Baon Myths Parents Tell Their KidsHere's how you can prepare healthy and nutritious meals for your kids.by Don M. Gaoiran .
The school season brings to the table an essential factor that affects a child's learning and performance: healthy and nutritious baon.
Pinggang Pinoy, a visual guide that aims to help Filipino families adopt healthy eating habits, was launched in 2014 by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) under the Department of Science and Technology.
In a nutshell, the guide focuses on three main food groups that should be part of each meal for kids and adults: Go, Grow, and Glow. Go foods include rice and other alternatives high in carbohydrates for energy, Grow foods are fish and lean meat that contain protein for bone and muscle development, and Glow foods are vegetables and fruits for much-needed vitamins and minerals.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Almost a decade since the FNRI launched its initiative, vitamin deficiencies and undernourishment remain high in the country. The World Bank, an international institution that provides loans and grants to governments, conducted research that has revealed almost no improvement in the eating habits of Filipino children.
The impact of undernutrition leaves a gap in a child's cognitive development, bringing down the chance to excel at school. Still, many parents stubbornly hold onto their beliefs, which leads to inadequate nutrition.
Debunking myths about food and baon
Here are some of these myths that need to be debunked along with improvement tips to consider in preparing a child’s lunchbox early in the school season.CONTINUE READING BELOWwatch now
MYTH: My children aren't picky eaters and eat almost anything I serve, so their baon can come from our fridge or fast food restaurants.
A child's strong appetite doesn't quickly tell about good nutrition. Rather, it's the nutritional value of the food they eat. Since parents decide what to pack for school, Pinggang Pinoy serves as the best guide in meal planning. Go foods (rice, bread, or noodles) and Glow foods (fruits and vegetables) are suggested to have larger servings compared to Grow foods (meat, fish, and eggs).
MYTH: Carbohydrates from rice are bad because they cause weight gain, so I’ll cut down my child's intake.
Rice is a nutritional source of energy that's rich in fiber. It has been turned into an enemy of many health-conscious people due to excessive intake, particularly from “unli rice” ploy in various food establishments.
For children, rice is a Go food along with other alternatives like pandesal and root crops. The ideal serving of rice for ages 10 to 12 is one cup and is less for ages 9 and below.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
MYTH: If your child dislikes a meal once, don't serve it again.
It's normal for children to say no the first time they see unfamiliar food in their lunchbox. It takes time for them to enjoy eating, so parents should show patience in reintroducing food together with what they already like. Daily varieties for baon plans can also be enjoyable for young palates of kids who easily frown on food monotony.
For example, a Go food at the start of the week can be rice accompanied by adequate portions of Glow and Grow foods. Towards the weekend, bread or noodles can be a good substitute for rice. While pediatricians and nutritionists see more of the nutritional value, parents can add a personal touch by putting together colorful, visually pleasing meals and utensils to encourage children to enjoy food.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
MYTH: Children will eat vegetables as long as you offer sweets or desserts after a meal.
The food portions based on Pinggang Pinoy suggest the right balance. Bribing children with desserts will only make vegetables less attractive. This right balance of food, following the recommended servings, is what the program strives to promote. They ensure each meal contains the right amounts of protein, healthy fats, and fiber to keep children full for longer periods, reducing the craving for sugary snacks.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
MYTH: Fruit yogurts and fruit juices are good alternatives to real fruits.
While fruit yogurts and fruit juices are fortified with different nutrients, most of these commercial products are high in sugar and don't contain natural fiber. Fresh whole fruits like apples and bananas are better alternatives without risking high sugar intake for kids. Topping off a baon with slices of mango, pineapple, or papaya can also make children appreciate natural food sources.
As school children continue to require healthy meals every day, parents should lead by example become role models at home and cut back on unhealthy snacks and sweets while encouraging habits like drinking plenty of water. They can invite the kids to learn more about their food on weekends or to check different fruits, vegetables, and other items at the supermarket. It also presents an opportunity for the children to appreciate their baon and feel excited about opening their lunchboxes at school.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Read these 12 tips on baon planning for busy parents here.
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