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  • Ariel and Mia ManuelChefs Ariel and Mia Manuel

    Parents of Justin, 10; Owners, Lolo Dad’s Café, Malate; Mia is also a baking and pastry arts instructor at the Magsaysay Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Arts (MIHCA)

    “Justin’s merienda is usually a sandwich. That’s fast. We can make a grilled cheese sandwich or a panini. It’s filling and delicious.”

    Our son’s favorite food is: chicken! He likes the skin. Normally, we try to veer away from fried food, so it’s adobo, nilaga, asado... We try to make it as healthy as possible. It also helps that we have a restaurant because he is exposed to different dishes. We tell him to order something we cannot have in the house.

    “Don’t say no until you’ve tasted it. For all you know, you’ll like it.” That’s always been our rule with him. 

    If my kid wants to eat the same thing over and over again, we’d: give him more choices. Our rule is: If you don’t like the food, then sorry, don’t eat. But once he gets hungry, whatever is there, he will eat. He cannot have special food made or cooked for him. Just vary the way you prepare the dishes. 


    ‘Healthy’ junk food we can give our son includes: popcorn. He also likes banana chips. It’s only on weekends or when we go see a movie that we buy junk food such as potato chips. No sodas. We give him fresh fruit juices, such as calamansi and melon.

    When we’re pressed for time, the easiest thing to whip up is: boneless, crispy dilis. We use a Teflon pan so there’s not much oil needed. Sometimes, he eats it with fried or scrambled eggs. We always have adobo in the freezer. But when it’s really rushed, sige, fry na lang. That’s the last option. 


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