Tired of giving your kids the usual processed ulam and sugary snacks? Or worried about his having to lug around a huge lunchbox in addition to his already-hefty school bag? We give you tips for preparing the best baon your child’s schooltime snacks.
When preparing packed meals and snacks, take these cures from Cielo Vilchez, mom of two:
• When using salad greens like lettuce, choose those with no dark spots. Wash well under running water.
• Use insulated food containers to keep meals fresh and warm.
• Soupy viands have a tendency to spill; also, they may not taste as good when cold.
• Avoid packing dishes like tinolang manok as they spoil easily.
• Egg-based spreads must be served and eaten immediately.
• Train your child to observe the color of bread to ensure it’s not greenish or moldy and to smell the food before eating it.
• Remind him not to buy fish balls in stalls; the sauces may be contaminated, especially when people double-dip. “Better to be safe than sorry,” she says.
Part of staying healthy and wise is drinking clean, safe water. Teach your child to drink from his own jug and avoid drinking from his classmate’s supply. “A water jug is a personal thing, it shouldn’t be shared with anyone,” says Pedro Bañas, M.D., general practitioner.
When looking for nifty bags and packs to store your child’s baon, take the following into consideration:
• For a child below 10, “It’s best to go with a bag that has a built-in trolley, especially if he has to bring all his books and notebooks to school everyday. If he keeps his books and things in a locker, it’s okay to get a backpack. Look for quality; check for sturdy seams and straps, and zippers and closures that cooperate well,” says Rose Galvez, mom of two boys.
• Mom of two Ivy Camangon agrees: “When buying school bags for my kids, I bring my children with me, because I always consider their opinions. Take into consideration quality and durability as kids just drag and drop their bags anywhere after class. It should also be ‘back safe’ for your child. I look for wide-padded straps. Consider your child’s size and choose a bag that accommodates him as well as the books and school supplies that he will be carrying around.”
• Galvez says, “There are lunch boxes available today that are free from lead, phthalates, PVC, BPA, and all those other toxins. However, these are usually found in high-end stores or online. But personally, those airtight food-grade plastic containers that have a secure locking system are fine with me.”
• Camangon shares, “I buy food containers made of food-grade, lead-free plastic for my children’s drinks and baons. They do not warp like some of the cheaper alternatives. They are a bit expensive but safer to use with good quality!”
(First published in Good Housekeeping, June 2009; adapted for posting on Female Network; photo source: sxc.hu)