When we think about “baon”, our day gets complicated.
As moms, we want our kids to be healthy, though most of us are busy. There are the working moms, as well as those who have to juggle house chores. But despite the hectic schedule, there is no excuse for making the best baon for our little angels.
What Baon Should You Prepare?
This is the mind-boggling question mothers face each school day. As a rule of thumb, a packed lunch should be healthy, easy to prepare, and budget friendly. To have a better picture of this, you might want to check out the latest Food Pyramid as suggested by Safefood. This site has been set up under the British-Irish Agreement to share the latest knowledge on food safety and nutrition issues.
Believe me when I tell you that the food pyramid has changed a lot from the one you used to know.
Shelf 1: Think GLOW Foods
Vegetables, salad, and fruits must be in at least 5 to 7 servings a day. This means that you’ll need to include more veggies and fruits in your kid’s snack or lunch. And the best fruit and vegetables to feed their small tummies can come from your backyard. Start with a small patch in your garden just like what Neri Naig-Miranda did in hers.
- Tortang talong
- Corned beef guisado with cabbage
- Beef patties with ground squash
Shelf 2: Here Comes the GO Foods
Kids must have 3 – 5 servings of wholemeal cereals and breads, potatoes, pasta, and rice per day. These are the basic sources of energy for children’s growth and development.
It’s common for us Filipinos to have rice in our meal since we’re an Asian country. But as an alternative for carbohydrates, your kids can have sandwiches, fried potatoes, or spaghetti.
Is your kid tired of the usual look of his or her sandwich? Denise Rayala of Royal Domesticity suggests that you use cute cookie cutters to make sandwiches into cute shapes.
Shelf 3: Time for GROW Foods
The school children need three (3) servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese. Their daily serving of dairy could come in milk or yogurt drinks in tetra packs. You can also include cheese in some meals such as in corned beef or shanghai rolls.
Shelf 4: More GROW Foods
Kids should only have two (2) servings of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, and nuts per day.
It’s best to give them protein-rich meals such as fried chicken or chicken fillet if they eat lunch at school. If you’re giving them fish, like fried galunggong, make sure to debone it. As for fried eggs, you can use egg shapers to make it whimsical.
Smart Parenting recommends making kids’ packed lunch into bite-sized so it’s easy to eat.
Shelf 5: Fats, Spreads, and Oils
Anything fat and oily should be served in very small amounts. This means that you need to limit mayonnaise and other salad dressings on your kids’ baon.
Shelf 6: Foods and Drinks High in Fat, Sugar, and Salt
Limit serving food and drinks that are high in fat, sugar, and salt to once a week. This includes cupcakes, biscuits, and chocolates. It is also best to limit sugary drinks like sodas to avoid the sugar rush.
Of course, do not forget to give your children their own reusable water bottles to make sure that they stay well hydrated and has safe water to drink.
Your One-Week Baon Plan Sample
Aside from being part of having a healthy diet, meal planning comes with various benefits. These includes saving money and making sure that no food is wasted.
If you're not sure how to get started with planning your kids' baon, this list of recipes could come in handy.
Monday: Special Tortang Talong
- Grill eggplant on top of your stove. If you have a stove which uses charcoal, you can use it to grill the eggplant.
- Peel the skin after it has cooled. Then set aside.
- Beat the white egg until frothy. Then add the egg yolk and a pinch of salt.
- Heat the pan. Sauté garlic cloves and onion. Add tomatoes if desired.
- Add ground meat and let it simmer for a while on medium heat. Do not forget to stir. Set aside.
- Pour in the beaten egg on the pan. Flatten the eggplant on top of the egg.
- Add the ground beef. Flatten it on top of the eggplant.
- Flip the eggplant and wait for at least 2 minutes.
Tuesday: Chicken with Oyster Sauce Stir-Fry
- Mix 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt in a bowl.
- Marinate the thinly sliced chicken for 10 minutes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon cooking oil in your pan.
- Stir-fry the bell peppers in one minute. Then set aside.
- Use the same pan and the remaining oil. Put in the chicken and the marinade. Stir fry until the chicken turns light to medium brown. This usually takes 5 minutes.
- Add the bell peppers and stir-fry.
- If you have chicken stock, mix ½ cup chicken stock with ½ teaspoon cornstarch. Add to the pan. Stir until the sauce thickens.
Wednesday: Cheesy Ginisang Corned Beef
- Heat the oil in your pan.
- Sauté crushed garlic and sliced yellow onions.
- Add corned beef.
- Add diced potato, ½ cup of broth or water. Stir before letting it boil. Cover for 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper as desired.
- Add grated cheese on top.
Thursday: Tortang Giniling
- Heat a pan with 2 tablespoons of cooking oil.
- Sauté the onion, garlic, and tomatoes.
- Add ground meat (pork or beef) and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add green peas and bell peppers. Stir and cook for around 3 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper. Stir and let cool in a bowl.
- Beat eggs and pour it on the cooked ground meat.
- Heat a pan with cooking oil.
- Scoop some of the meat mixture and flatten it on the pan. Cook for 3 minutes.
Friday: Dusty Fried Chicken
- Mix 3 tablespoons soy sauce, calamansi/lemon juice, sugar and ground black pepper.
- Marinade the chicken overnight.
- Heat a pan with cooking oil.
- Dust the chicken with four.
- Pan-fry the chicken in low to medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes.
Each of these recipes only takes 30 minutes to prepare. Want more recipes? Panlasang Pinoy has some recipes that you can do for at least half an hour.
The Complete Baon
Are your kids not used to eating healthy snacks? Mom on Duty advises that you eliminate junk and processed food on your grocery list to train your kids toward healthy eating.
You can add a seasonal fruit cut up into bite-size in your children's packed lunch. If you are preparing an apple, squeeze lemon juice in water and soak the apple slices in it for at least 10 minutes. This will prevent the fruit from turning brown.
You can even add some sweet notes to give them a boost of confidence.
Be creative when putting the meals in the lunch box. Nori (seaweed) is useful when it comes to decorating molded rice. It is also affordable and only costs PHP 12 - 15 per small pack. You can easily cut it in any shape you want.
Squeeze out your creative juices and you will surely enjoy making meals for your kids.
The Baon Checklist
Food and Nutrition Research Institute under DOST shared some tips on how to prepare nutritious meals for the school kids.
- Let your kiddos choose their lunchbox. If the lunchbox is something they want, then the lunch and snacks will be more enticing for them.
- Ask your kids what they want. You may prepare the healthiest lunch. Yet, if they don’t like it expect that they won’t eat it.
- Make sure not to give huge servings. They may get lazy finishing the meal. Moreover, leftover food will go to waste.
- Create an everyday baon plan with your kids. Provide a variety of meals so kids won’t get fed up. If you plan ahead, you can think of other menus and creative ways to present them.
- Make a complete meal. Include fruits, vegetables, and fruit juices or milk.
The meals are quick to prepare and quite simple. Make them extra special with cute food picks, rice molders, bento lunch boxes, cookie cutters, and egg shapers. You can get these supplies and other bento kits from Gourdo's Stores, Little Things PH, and Party O Bento.
Every mom wants the best for her children. Busyness is not a hindrance to show your love through hearty meals. Kids grow fast. With the creative and nutritious baon each day, you do not only make them healthy. You also create warm childhood memories with them.