Baon Basics

Baon Basics

Manila : Philippines | Nov 09, 2010 at 7:34 PM PST
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Secrets to ‘no return, no exchange’ baon

One of the problems that moms encounter during schooldays is enforcing the lunchbox's version of "no return, no exchange policy." No matter how much they tell kids otherwise, moms cannot stop the barrage of untouched sandwiches and still-filled jugs; or monitor those "I-will-exchange-this-juice-for-a-sip-of-your-soda" tactics. But can kids be blamed? By the time the school bell rings, the sandwich is already soggy, the rice meal is greasy and the already lukewarm juice tastes like its plastic container.

But as much as moms believe in the nutritional and hygienic benefits of a home-prepared baon, their egos and pockets just couldn't bear the sight of another uneaten meal. Most kids now have traded their lunchboxes for allowances. The problem is: are they using their money to eat safe and substantial meals?

"I'm all for giving them allowances. I'm a working mom so the set-up saves me from having to wake up early in the morning to prepare their baon, which by the way often end up as a doggie meal. But that was before I found out recently that my kids buy palamig (juice sold on the streets) and street food after class instead of eating during recess time. The thought of them getting hepatitis or amoebiasis from dirty drinking water made me want to wake up in the morning. Getting them to eat their baon is still a problem though," says Abigail Perez, mother of two elementary kids.

1. Buy a good lunchbox

Besides the Hepa scare tactics, one technique that most moms subscribe to is to find food containers that keep food at their temperature. There are many being sold in department stores. These are, however, just for rice meals and not for breads, which get soggy anyway because of the moisture. These special containers can be pretty expensive too so not everyone can afford to buy.

2. Reheat in school

Kids also have the option to reheat their baons in school, provided that their school canteens have microwave ovens. Some canteens charge a small fee while others consider the service part of their job. For convenience, kids' food containers should be microwave-ready. To know this, check the box or even the bottom of the container.

3. Choose easy-to-eat snacks

Cyrene Ong, mother of a 6-year-old girl, chooses snacks that are fortified with vitamins but once a week, she would indulge her craving for chips. It's her daughter's reward for waking up so early for breakfast. She also makes sure that her daughter's baon are easy to eat, with not much fuss.

"Juices are tricky. Kids like them cold so I don't put juices in her lunchbox anymore. Maybe with Tang Pick and Go, I won't have to do that. Now, she can just buy bottled water in school and make her own juice. At least, she will get to enjoy her favorite juice even when in school," says Cyrene.

4. Breakfast + Nutritious baon

Other moms just try to compromise. They make sure that their kids eat a healthy breakfast and then just put snacks and drinks in their lunchbox that are not hard to keep fresh. Some examples are cupcakes, ensaymada and biscuits. Choose snacks that are fortified. There are a lot in the market: biscuits like Tiger Enermaxx and some potato chips. It would take some time before kids could wake up early but with patience, they would get used to the breakfast routine. Kids are, after all, creatures of habit.

5. Give them their usual favorites but with a twist

Give them their favorites but make them as nutritious as possible. For instance, if your kids love pizza, bake them one but put veggies alongside their favorite salami and pepperoni. If they are potato-chip-addicts, fry them homemade chips but add a tomato-based dip. There are a lot of ways to tweak a dish and make them nutritious, all you need is resourcefulness.

6. It's all about the appearance

Changing the appearance of dishes make them more appealing to kids, especially the young ones. If your son doesn't always eat the sandwich you prepare, try making them round-shaped like a ball. Or you can cut them into triangles and re-imagine into a sailboat. There are numerous ways to make ordinary baon extraordinary. You just need some imagination.


cdtalactac is based in Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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  • Baon Basics
    One of the problems that moms encounter during schooldays is enforcing the lunchbox's version of “no return, no exchange policy.” No matter how much they tell kids otherwise, moms cannot stop the barrage of untouched sandwiches and ...

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