'Galing ni Mommy!' These Moms Share How They Make Healthy Baon for PreschoolersHere's how they ensure their kids eat well even when they’re away from home.CREATED WITH NIDO 3+
Food is the love language of most mothers. Preparing healthy, yummy meals has become one of the highest forms of expressing affection.
Just ask any mom, and she will tell you how the food she makes for her child is an extension of her love and care, especially when she isn’t physically with her kid to join or help him or her to eat.
Take, for example, Reggie Batungbacal, Jana Tai, and Jasmine Zialcita. These three hands-on moms take meticulous care in preparing the meals their preschoolers eat in school. Here, they also share some of their tried-and-tested tips other parents can follow so their kids, too, can enjoy their baon all the more.
Stick to what’s healthy but familiar
Reggie Batungbacal confesses to always worrying if her daughter, Summer, is eating when she’s not at home. "I’m always so paranoid about her actually eating her food. Is it too much? Enough? Does she like it?"
"With my first son, I think I was too strict when it came to my standards of a healthy meal," Reggie says. Her actions, she believes, turned her preschooler into a picky eater.
This mom’s tip when preparing food her kids would eat even when not at home: Stick to what’s familiar. If you want to add variety, choose different flavors for juice boxes and an assortment of sweet snacks.
When it came to her preschooler, Reggie made sure to consider Summer’s food preferences when coming up with healthy food options. "Summer—like most girls, I guess—is addicted to carbs!" Reggie says, "so, my main nutritional consideration is adding [food] high in protein."
Fortunately, her daughter likes to eat fish, chicken, eggs, and tofu with her rice.
Eating should also be fun, Reggie says. "I’ve come to accept that toddlers intuitively know when they’re full and will be comfortable with eating without pressure. Don’t stress over them eating, and they won’t!"
Prepare food that won’t spoil quickly
Having worked in the hospitality industry made Jana Tai prioritize food safety when preparing meals for her preschooler, Jessie. "I make sure that I only prepare food for her lunchbox that can last for at least four hours maximum to make sure there are no food-poisoning scenarios."
Because of her family’s hectic morning schedule, this full-time mom does some of her food prep the night before.
"Preparing the ingredients or even the simple slicing or peeling of fruits takes time, so I really have to do this the night before," Jana explains. "When I do this, I do not feel overly stressed or harassed the next morning."
To make sure her preschooler is eating a well-balanced meal in school, Jana goes for a variety of nutritious food. "[Have] at least three types of food with different sources of nutrients per meal. Basically, too much of one thing is never healthy."
Jana, who documents how she packs her 4-year-old daughter’s baon on Instagram, says kids do appreciate the thought and effort you spend in making their food.
"As long as you prepare whatever kind of meal out of love, believe it or not, any mom can be a master chef in the eyes of their kids!" she adds.
Serve nutritious food that you also eat
For Jasmine Zialcita, the food you pack for your preschooler's baon shouldn’t differ too much with the meals you prepare at home. "To be honest, I don’t make [my daughter’s baon] bento-style, because it makes [everyday] food at home appear boring."
When preparing baon for her daughter, Lily, Jasmine follows this simple tip: "Make sure it’s something you would also enjoy and something that they see you eat."
"Children mimic [adults] a lot," the mom explains. "Sometimes, veggies are a challenge, but are a must for a balanced diet."
To give veggies a little variety, Jasmine alters the way she cooks them. "I always add veggies to every meal—either raw, steamed, or fried. I steam veggies when I cook the rice, it lessens cooking time."
Her other healthy-cooking hacks include frying food in "healthy oil" and baking when time permits.
The mom also makes an extra effort to introduce different kinds of food to her preschooler. She tries new recipes for lunch or dinner when they eat together, so she can pay close attention to the food on Lily’s plate that goes untouched.
No matter the difference in their baon-preparing style, what these moms’ stories reveal is making food for your preschooler is one definite way mothers express their love.
From the rice-and-ulam combo for breakfast to the glass of nutritious milk before bed, it's essential that every mom makes an effort to choose and prepare the food and drink that will help her preschooler grow up happy, healthy, and strong.
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ASC REFERENCE CODE: N133P091819N