Kitchen 143

[Kitchen 143] Back-to-school lunches and tips for mommas

Michelle Aventajado
[Kitchen 143] Back-to-school lunches and tips for mommas

BACK-TO-SCHOOL. With classes set to return soon, parents are prepping along with their kids. Courtesy of Iam Serrano

As parents and kids prep for a new school year, mommy bloggers and foodie influencers share their tips and tricks

Rounding up the summer, relishing in the last few weekends, and scheduling that last beach trip are all signs that the newest school year is fast approaching.

Picking up uniforms, textbooks, and dusting off the backpacks and lunch boxes are just some of the things that parents are doing to prepare for a hybrid and face-to-face school year. Preparing for another school year means dotting our i’s, crossing our t’s, and remembering that the baon we pack for our children can strengthen their immune system, keep them happy during the day, and of course provide sustenance and support for the learning that needs to take place.

Here are some tips and tricks from mommy bloggers and foodie influencers that work for kids of all ages:

Hygiene reminders

Ginger Arboleda may be homeschooling her daughter Zeeka who is nine years old this year, but her practical advice reminds us what to include in a lunch box in order to get ready for meals and snacks. Including a list of hygiene reminders on a Post-it or a lunch note sets the tone for cleanliness while noshing.

SET THE TONE. Even if your child is not going face to face for school this year, reminders about hygiene and safety will keep everyone safe from the hazards of the virus. Courtesy of Mommy Ginger

Create a hygiene kit that includes extra child-sized masks, wet wipes, and alcohol to encourage your school-age kids to wash up and sanitize before handling their own food.

Prepare the night before

Printing out their color-coded schedule and taping it next to their closet door encourages your big kids to get dressed on their own. “Discerning if it is time to wear their regular uniform or PE uniform is one less thing I need to worry about for my children,” shares entrepreneur and mom of two Cheryl Sy.

ALL GONE. Clean Plate Club is more likely to happen when kids are involved in choosing what is packed. Courtesy of Cheryl Sy

Students who lay out their uniforms or pack their backpacks the night before, leave for a more relaxed morning instead of a mad dash to the car or bus. And when packing their lunch boxes and snacks, it’s even more important to get kids involved. Heeding food requests and snacks ensures that kids will be more likely to finish what is packed in their Yumbox. These requests can even be incorporated into the meal plan for the week and added to the weekly grocery delivery to make things more streamlined.

Teacher tricks 
HAPPY FOOD. Making lunch nutritious can be fun and easy when planned ahead. Iam Serrano

One of the first things that educators learn is to provide options for students that are all within goal-setting objectives. So if you would like your child to eat more fruit, the options that you provide for your child to make a choice can include three different fruits. It doesn’t matter which one they choose, because the objective will already be met by offering the fruit!

And of course, if you would like to create a graphic like Teacher Iam has, it is even easier to pin up on the fridge, so everyone knows what her eight-year-old daughter Himig would like to include in her snack box daily.

CHOICES. Offering a worksheet of all of the components that Iam would like to include in Himig’s baon means asking her to choose her own ulam, veggie, fruit, and dessert each day. Courtesy of Iam Serrano
Toddler tips

Starting little ones early in their baon adventures is an important aspect of their educational experience. Sabrina Go has both a teen and a toddler to pack snacks for, and she believes that preparing her son Savi for playgroup can be done through a series of conversations about listening well to the teacher, exhibiting how sharing is caring, and building up excitement for each session they will attend together. 

SNACK BOX. Balanced boxes can include fruit, french toast, and fruit crackers. Courtesy of Sabrina Go

Sharing what she packed for Savi in his snack box also prompts the anticipation of snack time!

Boxes, canisters, and more

Packing lunch in proper containers is a must. Utilizing tubs, boxes, and insulated food jars for soups and ulam that are messy is the key to keeping things hot and neat. Having different containers for sandwiches and cold lunches can also keep snack items separate while making sure flavors don’t mix for picky eaters. 

PACKED LUNCH. Keeping food separate so flavors don’t meld is something that kids of all ages can appreciate. When packing rice meals, insulated food jars provide the most practical options in keeping food warm. Courtesy of Sabrina Go

Check out: Brightbrands.ph for Yumboxes, Montiico drink canisters and other tools to help pack food items. Look for 

Stocking fruit and healthy snacks

With the ease of ordering groceries online and the proliferation of healthy local snacks from mommas who want to provide variety for mindful families to enjoy, stocking fruit and crackers that are hand-held and easy to eat are perfect for the lunchboxes.

HEALTHY SNACKS. Affordable healthy snacks that have been tested by kids and approved by mindful mommas are available at RealFoodPH. Courtesy of Honest Junk

Check out: Australian grapes from Landers and S&R. Also look for Cheese Bark and Super Cookies from Honest Junk.

Fun food that builds immunity

When packing snacks and lunches for days away from home, making them fun is only second to making sure your child’s nutritional needs are being met.

Including citrus, cruciferous vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, and even Greek yogurt are all great ways for kids to get vitamins and minerals essential to brain development and health.

Limiting processed sugar and focusing on what will aid your child throughout the day will provide more opportunities for learning as we send them off to school once again. – Rappler.com

Michelle Aventajado

Michelle Aventajado is a Filipina American striving for an ever-elusive balance in everything she does. Advocating for individuals with IDD through Best Buddies Philippines, sharing her parenting journey with her daughter's extra chromosome through Momma 'N Manila, and churning out love of home and hearth through Kitchen 143 are just some of the things that fuel her passion and serve her God-given purpose.