Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Preschooler's Baon - A Daily Labor of Love

When I was still a student, I remember how my Mom is not the type who would wake up early to prepare our baon. She is a true-blue workahalic though, and she does put together other stuff we need for the school day - except for our baon. In short, she's not really into cooking or food matters - kahit kumain konti lang din. Hehe.

We had a cousin who helped us around the house, and she is a magnificent cook. Most times, she's the one who prepared our food for school. But when we were already of age (mga Grade VI onwards) to prepare our own baon, we were expected to wake up a wee bit early to prepare our food. So more often than not, our baon was 'pri-kanin' combo. Pritong hotdog, pritong nuggets, pritong porkchop - everything prito. Which come lunchtime became cold, wrinkled hotdog, cold, hard nuggets, and cold, leathery porkchop paired with our cold rice in our nagpapawis na baunan. *cringe*

But we survived! We're still alive! I have to say though, that I will forever remember how insanely envious I was of this classmate of ours whose yayas always brought their hot meals to school during lunchbreak. They enjoyed sinigang, nilaga, etc. while I wrestled with my porkchop. I stayed model-level slim throughout my elementary and highschool life though - I guess that was the only advantage the cold lunch brought me. :)

Now that I am a mom (and faaaaar from being model-level slim) to a preschooler, I see just how NOT easy it is to prepare baon for an estudyante every single school day. My nursery pupil goes to school at noon, so I'm spared from the 'have-to-wake-up-at-the-break-of-dawn' thing, but I do have to wake up extra early to prepare her for school.

Unfortunately for me though, my K is a picky eater. She's not into stuff like spaghetti (for a kid? Seriously? Oh yes, seriously), as well as pre-processed, pre-packaged food. If most kids can live on hotdog, ham, and nuggets, my kiddo would enjoy hotdogs if she gets to eat them, say, twice or thrice a month only. Hindi din nya bet ang packaged food like cookies, biscuits, mamon, etc., lalo na kung uulitin more than twice in two weeks.

First thought in mind when I was brainstorming (by myself. Saya!) before school started on what to prepare for her baon: ANONG IBABAON NG ANAK KO?

Do not fret though, I did find a way, so my little K did not go hungry for the past (almost) three months that she's been going to school. :) Her daily menu always consist of something with carbs (bread, rice, cupcake, or pancakes), a serving of fruit, and a food item she really likes.

For example:

 These are fun-shaped egg sandwiches with a serving of mangoes. The palaman (filling) is scrambled eggs, since she loves them so much. I make it a point to also put an interesting twist to her baon, like shaping the sandwiches and using cute food picks.

Bento food packs are my inspiration, but my artistic abilities (and tools) are limited, so I make do with what my 'powers' can offer. Hihi. My daughter enjoys her baon so much that her lunch box always comes home simot (in the first two days, it was so simot that some of the food picks didn't come back. :( Sad face moment. Galing pa naman Japan yon from a friend.)

Here are other baon stuff I made for my little girl:

Hotdog waffle and pancake circles with strawberry jam filling paired with sliced apples for dessert.
Hello kitty bread which I made out of pancake mix, then I sliced these in half and filled with strawberry jam. Paired with strawberry hearts (she loves strawberries)
But of course, there are also days that I simply run out of ideas (or time) to prepare her baon from scratch, so I resort to her few favorite pre-packed foods like puto seko, Lemon Square's cheese cupcake, Koko Krunch, and Ube Buttercream.  I make sure to still include a serving of fruit, and sometimes when she doesn't want any of these pre-packed goodies, I just double her fruit servings. :)

As for beverage, I rarely include juice in her lunch pack. On rare occasions, I let her take a yogurt drink (her favorite), or some fruit juice. But more often than not, water lang talaga. As with other pre-packed food, when she drinks something often, even if it's one of her faves, she gets tired of them easily.

So there, this makes up my weekday mornings - racking my brain for a baon idea. I'm actually quite happy that my little one prefers food with less preservatives. So that even though preparing healthy baon pack daily takes much effort, I'd gladly do it to ensure she gets her fill of yummy but  healthy stuff.

How about you? How do you deal with the baon dilemma?


  1. Hello Kitty! You are so cute! It's hard to eat you like that

    1. I agree Donna! :) We love Hello Kittty too.

      Thanks for the comment!