Monday, January 23, 2017

How to Pack a Healthy Bento Box for Your Kids

It's the start of a new school year, which means exciting times ahead for both parents and children! One way to ensure your child is getting good nutritional food when they are at school is to take the time to prepare a bento box for him/her to take with them. As parents we know best what foods our children prefer and we can select the most nutritionally balanced of these foods to create a bento box which the child will look forward to eating. Even children eat with their eyes first, so time spent creating a fun bento box can help encourage them to look forward to mealtimes.

MILO® recently conducted an informative and engaging workshop for mums, whereby we were given a valuable insight on the consequence of the energy deprivation children experience at various intervals in school as well as educate us on the benefits of packing to school and how proper nutrition can affect your child's performance in school. Early education and reinforcement of healthy eating habits can help children make better consumption choices out of home, when their mothers are not by their side.



Senior Nutritionist of Nestle Malaysia Berhad, Pn. Nurul Iliani Ahmad shared facts from MyBreakfast Study, Malaysia's first comprehensive nationwide study on breakfast habits involving 8,705 school children. It was found that 1 in 3 children  have low physical activity levels and this was especially prevalent among breakfast skippers. "Consuming the right food with a balanced nutrition at regular intervals provides them with sufficient energy and nutrients to help improve their mental alertness so they can focus while in class, as well as keep them energised for extra-curricular activities". 

At the workshop, Yan Diana from the Kelab Bekal / Bento Malaysia showed us three creative bento box creations, which can be prepared in 10-15 minutes. Yan Diana also provided tips on how to decorate the bento box in an attractive manner - she tells us that two of the most useful ingredients to decorate a bento box are cheese slice and Japanese seaweed. 



Giraffe Tuna Sandwich - ingredients used are baguette, tuna, cheese, seaweed, fresh fruits and vegetables.



Japanese Scrambled Eggs Bento Box - ingredients include bread, eggs, baked beans, cheese, seaweed, cherry tomato, carrots, broccoli and poached chicken slices.

Rapunzel Noodle Box - ingredients used are fried meehoon, scrambled egg, cheese, seaweed, salad,  grapes, nuts. 


Bento Box recipes taught by Yan Diana from Kelab Bekal / Bento Malaysia


After that, it was Bento Box Challenge time, our turn to pack and decorate a bento box for our child. An ideal healthy bento box should contain 25% carbohydrate, 25% protein and 50% fruit and vegetables. Chloe and I teamed up to create a bento box which she would like to bring to school. Together, we made a tuna sandwich using wholemeal bread, Chloe wanted to decorate the sandwich with a teddy bear out of the cheese slice, seaweed and tomatoes, and funnily it ended up looking like Pikachu! Turned out to be a blessing in disguise afterall, as Daniel immediately wanted to eat the food in the bento box as he loves Pokemon ;) Making bento boxes for my children is definitely one New Year Resolution I would want to adhere to in 2017!

We filled up the rest of the bento box with salad leaves, steamed broccoli and carrot sticks, grapes, cherry tomatoes, nuts and a convenient pack of MILO® UHT. Children can benefit greatly from the Activ-Go™ in MILO®, a unique combination of PROTOMALT®, minerals and vitamins such as Vitamin B, specially blended to provide efficient release of energy from food to help them take on a full day's challenges. MILO® also contains calcium to maintain stronger bones and teeth and Vitamin C for increased absorption of iron from food. 



Chloe had a lot of fun making her own bento box :)



The bento boxes made by the mummies and daddies at the workshop


According to MyBreakfast Study, children who consume malted drinks (such as MILO®) reflect greater micronutrient intakes and are more likely to meet the Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI) for total energy intake, protein and other vitamin which suggests that malted drink consumption can be an effective and simple dietary strategy to improve overall diet quality. MILO® UHT comes in convenient single serve packs of 125ml and 200ml and is available in all convenient stores, mini markets, supermarkets and hypermarkets. For more upcoming initiatives of the MILO® UHT Pack in the Energy for Champions campaign, visit www.milo.com.my .




Parents can easily create bento boxes at home for their children to bring to school. The common misconception is that bento boxes are time consuming to make, however with some advanced planning and preparation (the night before), it can be a fun and fulfilling experience. Tools such as cookie cutters and cute food picks can assist you in decorating and making the bento boxes more attractive, thus making your child look forward to meal times.  


Here's a simple recipe for egg mayonnaise sandwich for you to try:


Egg mayonnaise sandwiches
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 12 - 15 minutes
Makes 4


Ingredients
2 eggs
1 1/2 - 2 tbsp mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

4 slices of bread (white or wholemeal)


1. Place the eggs in a large saucepan with cold water and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce to low heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Drain eggs and place under cold running water until the eggs are cool, this will avoid the black ring from forming around the egg yolk.

2. Peel the eggs and chop into small pieces. Place into a bowl with the mayonnaise; start with 1 1/2 tbsp first and put more if you prefer it to be more moist. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Cut off the crusts from the bread slices and cut into half each. Spread on one side of the bread and sandwich with another piece. Place in bento box. Fill the bento box with fruits and vegetables (such as sliced apples, grapes, nuts, salad leaves, cherry tomatoes).


And don't forget to pack a MILO® UHT in your child's bag pack for the energy they need to take on the day.


*This is a sponsored post.

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Rooster Pineapple Tarts and Bak Kwa for Chinese New Year

Hello! Over the past few days, we have been baking up a storm in our kitchen in preparation for Chinese New Year. We made pineapple nastar rolls, as well as German cookies to gift to our friends.

While making the pineapple nastar rolls, I tried making them in rooster shapes too. I made it using the same dough as the pineapple nastar rolls (recipe here) - to make the rooster shapes, first make a pineapple jam ball (about the size of a marble), then another slightly bigger ball using the dough. Flatten the dough, then place the pineapple jam in the centre, wrap and roll back into a ball. Stick on the red heart shaped decoration as the comb, and also another one as its beak (the pointy bit facing outwards) and then two black sesame seeds for its eyes. Have fun making them!

Rooster Pineapple Tarts for Year of the Rooster







Over the weekend, Baby D also helped make German Cookies, for his classmates and teacher. We made over 150 of them! :D Recipe can be found here.

Please also check out my recipe for Rooster German Cookies. :)




This year, we also made bak kwa (Chinese pork jerk). Do enjoy this short recipe video that I made on how to make bak kwa. It's so easy and sooooo much cheaper than buying from the shops. Recipe can be found here.





If you enjoyed reading my posts, LIKE me on Facebook! You can also follow me on Instagram (@babysumo) for more photo updates or Dayre for daily updates. Thanks :)

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