What’s inside a healthy ‘baon’

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With the new school year officially here, it is time once again to plan the contents not just of your kids’ book bags but also the items inside their lunch boxes.

As difficult as preparing the family’s daily menu, figuring out a nutritious snack and lunch baon for school children through the week can be stressful to homemakers. So, if you’ve gone ahead with the hotdog-and-rice combo this past week, try out these budget-friendly tips, which Electrolux refrigerators (electrolux.com.ph) has shared with The Manila Times to ensure your little ones eat healthy outside the home.

Grains
Did you know the Australian dietary guidelines recommend eating a wide variety of mostly whole grains and/or high fibre varieties of breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats?

This is because grains play an important role for in healthy diet, providing nutrients and energy for children’s growth and development.


One of the benefits of eating whole grains is that they provide a high amount of fiber, which has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes, constipation and unhealthy weight gain.

A quick and easy way to incorporate fiber is through sandwiches, of course. Try making a simple clubhouse sandwich, which also contains veggies, and replace your ordinary bread with whole wheat bread. You can also replace white rice with brown rice to give your kids that fiber fix.

Fruits and veggies
Incorporating fruits and vegetables in your child’s diet can be very challenging, and the only way to do it is to involve them in choosing and making their meal. This way, you know which healthy stuff they are capable of eating.

A healthy packed lunch should contain all four main food groups

A healthy packed lunch should contain all four main food groups

Why not try a homemade trail mix with dried fruit, nuts, and cereal? Bring your children with you when you do the grocery shopping and let them choose a few dried fruits and nuts of their choice. You could combine them with a whole grain cereal for an easy trail mix.

Another way to include veggies into your kid’s lunchbox is by pairing crunchy vegetables like baby carrots or peppers with a tasty dip-like hummus, tzatziki or homemade ranch dressing made with fat-free mayonnaise. These make great sides for lunch or even a yummy snack.

Protein
Found in meat products, protein is required for growth and repair of muscles, as well as iron. For a healthier baon, go with lean meat or fish like salmon and tuna as your protein source. For example, instead of frying meat, give them cold cuts or tuna in a sandwich.

Eggs are another source of protein. Try packing a hard-boiled egg with your child’s lunch as one hard-boiled egg provides six grams of protein.

Careful planning of your child’s packed snacks and lunches for school is all there is to ensuring good nutrition outside the home

Careful planning of your child’s packed snacks and lunches for school is all there is to ensuring good nutrition outside the home

Healthy snacking
There are a lot of healthy snack items that you can give your kids besides sugary biscuits or chips. Besides servings of chopped up fruit, you can include a single-serving pack of reduced fat chips, plain popcorn, apple or banana chips, a slice of fruit cake or unsalted nuts as a minor indulgence for your child at recess or after lunch.

An extra tip: Making baon for your kids everyday may take up a lot of time, especially when you are in a rush in the morning getting everyone ready for their day. One way to cut down on prep time is to prepare a large portion of food on weekends, then divide them into single portions and keep them in your refrigerator to grab and serve when needed.

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