The first month of the school year is almost over. June is just a preview of the school season. Brace yourself for more hectic mornings as the kids take on their regular routine for school. What’s for baon? It’s a constant question that looms in the air and pops up like a persistent thought bubble. For parents and guardians, thinking of the kids’ daily baon is an important and challenging task.
There’s nothing trivial in preparing children’s snacks and lunches for school. It involves a lot of careful planning, brainstorming, budgeting, and don’t forget parent-child negotiating. Parents and kids don’t always agree on ideal baon ideas but there’s always room for compromises. When discussing baon issues, the two parties find ways to meet in the middle.
Prices of basic commodities rise each year and it’s not easy for a lot of parents to keep up. Moms and dads are always looking for ways to stretch their monthly food budget without sacrificing their children’s nutrition. Here are some baon tipid tips that may help parents make their budget last longer.
Find out what your child likes - As a parent, I feel a sense of joy and satisfaction whenever my son comes home with empty food containers because I know that he enjoyed his meal.
Talk to your child about snacks and other dishes that he likes. Make a list and determine what items are and not. Explain why some items are not ideal for baon. For example, tell your child if some meals are not advisable because the components easily melt or spoil, ingredients are too expensive or hard to find, or if the requested dishes are not healthy. Another way of involving your child in choosing his baon is by bringing your kid with you to the supermarket. Allow him to assist you in selecting snack items and picking ingredients for school meals. It’s also nice to let your child help you in packing his food.
Buy in bulk – You can save more money by buying certain grocery items in bulk. For example, instead of buying individually wrapped biscuits or crackers, you can buy a big container and divide it at home it into several proportions. You can purchase full-size bags of snacks and create your individual snack bags. Better yet, put them in reusable food containers. When you open big bags, make sure that you put the rest in tightly sealed containers to maintain freshness. Some bulk items feature additional items for free. For instance, when you buy a dozen fruit cups, you are entitled to one fruit cup. Buying bulk food items can be quite economical especially for people who are tight on the budget. If some items are too many, you can ask interested relatives or friends to share the cost and divide the items fairly among yourselves. Purchasing certain food items in bulk is cost-efficient but it is only advisable for things that you always use and have no difficulty consuming. There’s no point in buying a lot of food items that your kids don’t like eating.
Save packets of condiments – Keep those small packets of condiments (e.g. catsup, mayonnaise, soy sauce) that you usually get from fast food stores. You can put them inside your child’s lunchboxes instead of packing condiments in small containers. Your child can conveniently throw the empty sachets after using them.
Prepare large portions of food – You can prepare big batch of food during weekends which you can divide into several individual servings for your child. Choose food items that are not easily spoiled such as cookies, brownies, puddings, muffins, granola bars, etc.
Lessen lunchbox leftovers – Keep in mind that whenever you throw away food, you also throw away hard earned money. When your kids do not finish the food inside their lunchboxes, the leftovers often end up in the trash bin. Pack appetizing snacks and lunches for your kids so that nothing gets wasted.
Another way to avoid leftovers is by packing the right proportions. You can determine the proper proportions based on what your child normally finishes. Make sure that your child is capable of finishing his snacks and lunch. It’s pointless to pack too much food that might just end up in the trash can at the end of the day.
Kids have a tendency to lose their appetite when the ingredients or components of the meal are too big, hard to bite or tough to chew. If possible, prepare bite sized portions of food. Make it a point to taste the food that you cooked especially meat dishes before putting it in your child’s lunchbox to ensure that the food tastes just right and not hard to chew.
Provide variety – Kids can easily get tired of the same menu. Make school baon something to look forward to. Avoid preparing the same kind of meals for your child. Provide variety to stimulate your kid’s appetite. Surprise your child with something new from time to time. Look for fresh and interesting recipes from cookbooks, magazines, TV cooking programs, parenting sites, forums, and online cooking sites. You can also exchange recipes with relatives and friends. Give your child an opportunity to try different types of food especially fruits and vegetables to ensure that your kid receives healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.
Buy sturdy and reusable items – Invest on quality and reusable food containers, drinking bottles and utensils. You can save money on the long run when you buy reusable items instead of constantly throwing away and buying new disposable plastic containers and paper bags. It’s also more environmental friendly. You can also buy insulated bags, food warmers and thermos to maintain the temperature of your child’s food and drinks.
Prepare home-cooked dishes and home-made drinks – Prepare home-cooked meals for your child instead of buying instant, microwavable, or fast food meals. You can save money and at the same time be assured of the nutritional value of the food that you’re serving to your child. Make homemade snacks like cookies, cupcakes, and muffins instead of buying them from the store. Bring water or mix your own fruit juices and pour it in reusable bottles instead of buying tetra pack or canned juices.
Photo c/o Pixabay. Public domain.
Rachel Yapchiongco, also known as Rach to her friends, is a Psychology and Marketing Management graduate of De La Salle University. Rachel is a full-time mom to a charming young boy and married to an entrepreneur who has a passion for cooking. She shares parenting experiences and slices of everyday life on her personal blog called Heart of Rachel.