I have confessed that I suck at following video tutorials. So, when the bento baon became a trend, my mama heart got a little broken because I could not prepare one for my children. At that time, buti na lang bata pa sila and they do not care about their classmates’ baon. Well, until now naman they do not care about their classmates’ baon but my six-year old son has become more aware of his surroundings. Sometimes, in our conversations, he would ask me if I could make him a baon like this and that. When I ask him where’d he get the idea, he’d say he saw them in school. Another reason why I decided to change the way I prepare their baon is to make them eat more or all of their baon. And, it works! Ever since I put more thought and effort into making their baon, it’s almost always zero-waste.
If you’re not a talented bento mama like me, perhaps you’ll learn a thing or two from these super simple tips, from one un-bento mom to another!
1. Make it colorful. Children’s attention is enticed by the colors on their plate or lunchbox. A study says that the color red increases appetite. I make sure to put colors in their baon by adding one or two pieces of marshmallow or jelly ace or a handful of colorful coated biscuits.
2. Play with texture. I make sure to put snacks with a different texture. If there’s already a cookie, then I’ll add a soft one for dessert. If the snacks are a sandwich or mamon then I’ll put a few crackers. It is more likely for them to finish everything in their baon if they vary in texture.
3. Nutrition. Don’t compromise the nutritional value of your kids’ baon. Personally, I still avoid giving them packed or powdered juices or any other sweetened drinks. Once a week, I sneak in a candy or a chocolate but not daily. But, every day I put their vitamins (in gummy and candy forms – FerroKids and Scott’s) inside their baon. If we have fruits, then I also put some. Vegetable, I must admit, hindi pa masyado.
4. Taste. Of course, no matter how cute the appearance or arrangement is if the kids don’t like its taste, they still won’t eat it. It is important that you create a list of your children’s favorites. Preferably, you stick with that list unless you want to risk them not eating in school. Introducing new food items should be done in the comfort of your home, say, during weekends.
5. Moderation. Be familiar with how much your kids can actually eat. Small portions of many options are the best way to prepare their baon. They get intimidated kasi with large servings, feeling nila hindi nila mauubos or ang dami masyado kaya nawawalan sila ng gana.
6. Use tools. I’m not a bento mama but I bought a few rice molders para kahit duon man lang magka design ang food nila, kahit sa rice lang. haha. Also, I bought sandwich cutters to help me shape their mamons and breads making them more interesting to eat. In fairness, nakakatulong naman, my kids are always looking forward sa lunch break in school.
Before these changes, I used to pack them only with either a sandwich or rice and ulam. Barely, they finish them. I got worried especially for my six-year-old son, baka nagugutom sya sa school. He spends six to seven hours in school pa naman! Ever since I changed the way I prepare their baon, lagi nang ubos! And, I’m not joking nor exaggerating. I also like to think that it’s their own little way of thanking me and showing me their appreciation for the thought and effort I put in their baon. They want to return to me the favor by eating all of their baon. Sweet boy! Sweet kids!
You know what, mamas? Every baon na ubos simply melts my mommy heart! Leaving you now with these super simple tips, especially para sa mga un-bento mamas katulad ko! 😊