Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bento Challenge

And so... It is that time of the year again. When mummies scramble to get everything ready to ease their children into the new school year. I've been busy checking items off my checklist, and I bet you're doing the same too. A trip to the mall for school uniform and shoes, oh... and a visit to the book store for text books. I’ll need to sew badges to school uniforms, plus label school books and stationery. He'll probably need a school bag and a water tumbler too. And the list goes on and on. But, did you realize that you may have forgotten one important thing on the checklist? Well I'm about to tell you what it is: PLAN your child's recess bento-box meals!

FACT: Packing nutritious food for your child to consume at school can ensure your child stays energized to take on the day.

Active children may experience energy deprivation at various intervals during school which may affect their concentration in class. Hence, many working parents (yours truly included), depend heavily on the school canteen to provide meals for our children during the day. It is as simple as giving them a stipulated budget every day, so they can buy anything their heart desires. Of course, we tell them to not buy ice-creams and candy, but instead to splurge on 'proper' food instead such as roti canai or mee goreng. But in reality, do we really know how these meals are prepared? In contrary, when meals are prepared from home, we are in control of the quality of ingredients and the portion of food group servings they consume in a meal. Once they are used to eating nutritious meals daily at school, it ultimately reinforces healthy eating habits that help them make better consumption choices out of home, especially when we are not by their side. Sounds easy enough to say, but is it easy enough to do?

So when Milo Malaysia invited me to join their "Bento Box Workshop for Bloggers", I immediately jumped at the opportunity to learn. The workshop, in collaboration with Kelab Bekal/Bento Malaysia, shared three simple recipes for mothers when packing to school. And all those recipes were assembled in less than ten minutes! *entershockedfacehere* I was definitely impressed!

Cute giraffe baguette sandwich.

And here are my biggest takeaways from the workshop:

1. Start small. Start by planning simple bento meals that you know your child will eat (instead of throwing it into the bin). Who cares if they want to eat nasi goreng with a side of grapes all week! You will feel a sense of accomplishment when they come home bearing empty bento boxes. (Versus you making complicated meals and them coming home with a half-eaten box.)
3. This sense of accomplishment will help you maintain the momentum throughout the year. Many mothers call it quits after the first month or two because they get demotivated after their child refuses to eat their carefully planned meals.
4. Gradually introduce vegetables in their daily bento box. You can assess what they like and what they don't, from what they bring home unfinished from school. Common mu
mmy trick; hide the vegetables in the meal!
5. Invest on a proper sized bento box and an insulated bento bag. One that will preserve your well thought food presentation (despite it rolling around in their school bag) and can keep the meal at an optimum temperature so it will last the day.
6. Plan ahead! No one wants to wake up an hour early just to peel onions and such. Plenty of the preparatory work can be done the weekend before or the night before.
7. Help your creative juices flowing for food presentation. There are plenty of simple inspirations available online for you to copy from.
8. Last but certainly not least, packing MILO® UHT in your child’s daily school bento box is a convenient way of ensuring that your child receives the energy to maximize their potential during the day. Activ-Go™ in MILO® is 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. It also contains calcium to maintain stronger bones and teeth and Vitamin C for increased absorption of iron from food.

FACT: 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. (Source: MyBreakfast Study)

And what cooking workshop would be complete without a cooking competition? Using the ingredients and tools provided, each blogger and child were tasked with the daunting mission of making the most creative Recess Bento Box! Afterwards, the children were asked to vote for their favourite bento boxes, by placing a flag (vote) on their chosen favourite.

Aiden watching me handle the scissors while he thinks of a creative idea for his bento box.

Our end result! I’m not entirely sure whether we made a cat… or a mouse???

Fantastic bento boxes by other bloggers and influencers. Can you spot ours?

Ian placing a flag on our own bento box! #cheating *giggles*

Amazingly, we were tied for third place. A professional chef was called in to judge the tie-breaker but unfortunately we lost and settled for 4th position.

It was certainly a fun and educational session for both Aiden and I. Not only did he enjoy deciding what to put into his bento box, but I also discovered how easy it was to assemble a nutritious meal for him to bring to school.

Our cat/mouse received seven flags (votes)!

Back home, Aiden was excited to try out his new found skills. After countless of hours poring over bento box ideas on the internet together, we finally agreed to try making a ‘sheep’ sandwich. Since he was in charge of making the decorations, he agreed for me to include broiled carrots into his bento box, as long as it was shaped into adorable flowers. Here are our end results:

Can you spot the sheep? Aiden has since requested to bring this for his first day of school.

Beef pastrami sandwich, with fresh salad, broiled carrots (with cheese hearts), and grapes. And of course - a packet of MILO® UHT as a rewarding end to the meal.

Aiden and I are definitely looking forward to the new school year! For more information on MILO® UHT and the “Pack in the Energy for Champions” campaign, please visit the following websites:


  1. wow, kreatif ye, i takde seni nak buat mcm ni, hancus roti tu trus jadi puding roti

    1. Hahahaha... I pun takde seni jugak. Sama kapal lah kita :)


Thank you in advance for leaving a comment. ;) All comments are moderated. Liz

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...