By now, parents whose kids have been been in school for a month are probably beginning to stress over an essential part of their child’s school life -- BAON! Here are tips and solutions from real parents that can inspire and help you solve your common baon dilemmas. Baon dilemma 1: How do I make my child’s baon healthier?
Hide the veggies Mom of three Paulette Manacio grates carrots and squash and puts them in spaghetti sauce, meatballs. She even bakes bread with grated vegetables.
Puree the fruit and veggies Mia Santos-Sison, who also has three kids, makes her own fruit and vegetable juice instead of giving them store-bought packed drinks. It does take some experimenting because you need to adjust the taste to meet your kids’ preference. Dennis Ivan Anguluan adds different fruits (even raisins!) to his kid's baon.
Baon Dilemma 2: My kid doesn’t eat what is in her lunch bag!
Get creative SweetSheryl Valencerina has a daughter who is a bit of a picky eater. What has worked for them is bento-style meals. While it is time-consuming, it’s an excellent way to make the food look appetizing. (If you're not into bento, you can try baunan like Yum Box that lets you "play" with your child's food thanks to a tray of six compartments. Check out our story here.)
Involve her in the process Nikki Abalos, a mom of four kids, lets her kids "plan and prepare" their meals. It can be simple as putting together a sandwich or cutting fruits. Nothing will beat that sense of accomplishment your child will feel as he eats something he knows he took part in making.
Think out of the box While her daughter came home with an empty lunchbox, Roni Baterna, who has six kids, found out that her daughter loved swapping food with her classmates. So Roni began making baon that she was sure her daughter’s classmates would also like.
Baon Dilemma 3: The food I sent spilled or gets too messy for my child.
Mix the sauce with rice, which Jocelyn Olviga does for her son to avoid spillage. Put pasta like mac & cheese in a muffin baking pan and bake, suggests Charisse Magdame, a mom of three. Baked food usually makes less of a mess.
Invest in various sizes of airtight containers, says Rika Roman whose two boys enjoy food with sauce or soups. This way, you can separate the soup/sauce from the meat/pasta. She says it can be a bit tedious, but this way she has peace of mind.
Baon Dilemma 4: How can I provide a good variety of food for my kids?
Make a weekly meal plan There are no shortcuts for this one. Cyl Peña does it to make sure her four kids don’t have the same thing within a week. Remember many kids can eat and will want the same thing over and over.
Baon Dilemma 5: I have very little time to prepare food!
Make it ahead Manel Fausto prepares her son's school lunch at night. In the morning, she just pops it in the oven as she gets her little boy ready for school. By the time they are done, the meal is ready as well.
Do meals in big batches Vip Atienza, a dad of four, prepares dishes that can be used more than once. He will cook a big batch of basic tomato sauce on the weekend and store it in individual portions. The sauce can be used as a base for either spaghetti sauce (saute bacon, ground beef or whatever your child likes and then add it to the tomato sauce) or as pizza sauce (let your child choose his own toppings!). It can help cut down on meal prep time and help provide your kids with variety.
Ask the school about meal services You don't have to worry about meal planning (and the time you use to prepare for baon can be your me-time!) Tricia MacDonald says she can choose the food the cafeteria will serve at her son's school on a monthly basis. Her only worry in this set-up is if the food is prepared according to the how it is described on the menu.
Nina P. Atienza is a wife and a mom to four kids who works full-time for a local pharmaceutical company. She also founded South PiNanays, a parenting support group to help moms in their motherhood journey. Nina is also a trained breastfeeding peer counselor.