Parents who have school-age kids probably have the same problem when it comes to preparing their kids' baon (packed lunch). "How can I make it fun for my kid?" "How can I make his/her lunchbox more interesting?"
Indeed, making baon fun for our kids can be very challenging, but with some creativity, it can be done. Here are a few tips from Lourdes Vindollo Labii, RN, homemaker, mompreneur behind Nanay's Lunches with Love, and mother of two boys aged 9 and 4:
1. Color is key. "Your child's baon should be colorful," Lourdes says. She advises parents to maximize the natural colors of food like fruits and vegetables.
Aside from being colorful, using fruits and veggies in your kids' baon also means your children eat healthier and more nutritious food in school.
Tip: To avoid fresh produce like fruits and vegetables from spoiling, you can place ice packs in your kids' lunchboxes, or thermal lunch jars to keep food hot and fresh.
As an alternative, you can also try using dried fruit instead of fresh fruit.
2. Neat is nice. Another tip for making baon fun -- "make sure your kids' lunches are neatly packed or arranged!" Lourdes recommends using "containers or lunchboxes with dividers for neat and appealing baon for kids."
Nowadays, many moms even prepare 'bento-type' baon for their kids, adding extra elements of fun and surprise to them. Actually, even we adults would probably enjoy eating such creatively-prepared meals! The great thing about 'bento-type' baon is that you can include all sorts of items in your containers -- ranging from favorites like mamon to more unique items like homemade california maki rolls and the like.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
3. Shapes are awesome. To make baon more appealing, Lourdes also adds, "Think about shapes! You can make shaped sandwiches, pancakes and fruits."
Tip: To make shaped food for your kids' baon, you can use cookie cutters for starters.
For more 'complicated' shapes, you can search for YouTube videos that can teach you to do so, or even attend workshops where you can learn how to prepare more creative lunchbox contents for your kids.
4. Surprise, surprise! Lourdes says parents can also make baon fun by "putting extra treats/surprises for your kids" in their lunch bags.
These surprises could include your child's favorite sweet treat, like a chocolate bar, or even special notes of encouragement for your kids!
Of course, it is still best that you limit sweets, chocolates and other sugary snacks when preparing your child's baon, for obvious reasons. As Lourdes says, "Make sure to prepare tasty, balanced and healthy meals!"
5. Planning makes perfect. As with anything, variety is key. "Making a menu plan for baon would be helpful so that kids will not get tired of eating the same thing every day," Lourdes shares.
You can try looking for baon plan ideas online or even modify your usual meal plans to suit your and your kids' taste.
6. The secret ingredient is LOVE. Lourdes' sixth tip is one that we should really take to heart: "Lastly, prepare lunchboxes with love!"
If preparing creative and fun baon for your kids is something you find tedious or time-consuming, remember your driving force for making baon in the first place, and that is the love you have for your child. Baon does not need to be elaborate, as long as it is prepared lovingly with your child’s well-being in mind.