For us parents, we want the best for our children; that includes the best food for them to eat. But whatever we do, sometimes our kids are simply not interested with the 'baon' we so lovingly prepared for them.
HeyMom brings you the tips on how to keep your fussy eaters look forward to opening and eating their lunch. Here are wonderful ideas how to make beautiful and appetizing creations that children can't resist eating.
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1. It's All in The Looks
Kids are visual when it comes to food, anything that looks unappetizing will be ignored. So you guessed it: the nutritional broccoli will be left untouched. A tip will be to make their baon visually appealing by letting out your creative side and decorating their lunch boxes with cute cartoon characters, colorful mixed vegetables, even making barn animals or under the sea themes from the food.
a. Bento Making
The craze is from no other than Japan where 'kawaii' things come from. Bento or lunchbox is the creative way of making food into something more special, where hotdogs becomes octopus, scrambled eggs made to little chicks, salamis with nori end up being Mini Mouse, or ham and cheese made into Superman's iconic sign!
b. Things Needed to Start Bento-ing!
It is quite easy to start your journey to becoming a Bento-making mom especially if your goal is to increase your child’s appetite by giving him a well balanced diet. To begin, the simplest tools needed are a spill proof container (it can be designed with your child's favorite character or simple boxes bought at the local grocery store); a few colorful food organizers like small silicone cups or food separators; some basic cutters; rice molds; and cute garnishing picks.
These items can be bought at baking stores or Japanese sections in supermarkets, Japanese Specialty Stores, or just a click away through online stores like Bento Mommas where they offer bento-making kits from here and abroad.
All you need is creativity, a lot of imagination and a trickle of humor to make the best bento for your child. By using your bento tools, turn a ham, a small carrot, and egg white into Elmo's face. Use rice molds to make different designs like hello kitty, angry birds, or even as complicated as Disney princesses and superheroes.
Also a good tip to mask vegetables is by cutting them thinly and hiding them by rolling them inside meat or use them as one of the designs. Separate food using silicone cups or washable plastic grass (those that you see in takeout sushi) and ensure that the food in the box is packed tightly so the food doesn't mix together.
Photo from Bento Mommas (www.facebook.com/bentomommas)
The goal is to create a meal that is nutritious and satisfying at the same time. It is important to know the portions and plan ahead. One rule that can be followed is the tried and tested 'Go, Grow, and Glow foods.'
Start with one portion of Go foods, which is usually made of carbohydrates like rice, potato, pasta, and bread; then a slightly equal portion of Grow foods, which is mainly protein such as pork, chicken, beef, eggs, beans, and cheese to name a few; and lastly, the Glow foods – usually fruits and vegetables that contain natural vitamins and nutrients to make your child healthy. Just remember to be creative in including all these in a meal by incorporating or hiding veggies in meats and highlighting yummy ingredients, making sure it’s delectable to your child.
A little treat when you see an empty lunchbox at the end of the day can be used as incentive as well. Something like chocolates, cereals, soft gummies, or chips, all in the right portions, can get those kiddies to finish their food.
3. Involve the Kids!
You may be surprised at how easily a child will devour food he prepared himself. This is a great creative and bonding activity for both of you too, so ready the kitchen mits and spatulas and get cooking. You can start with healthy treats like whole grain baked goodies with dried fruits before moving up to the hot kitchen and making healthy pasta dishes and even entrees. Go with what your kid wants to make and incorporate healthy ingredients in those dishes.
Photo by trbuckley from www.flickr.com (CC BY-NC 2.0)
4. Don't Forget Their Vitamins
Make your effort worthwhile with all the love you pour out in their food planning by giving your child their daily vitamins before they leave for school, like the all-time trusted Tiki-Tiki Star Syrup. It has effective appetite stimulating nutrients such as Lysine and B Complex that will help them continuously have appetite to finish their packed meals.