Healthy lunchbox recipes need not mean just dried fruit and biscuits.
There are quick and easy ways to create deliciously nutritious lunchboxes for children – and some of these fun bento box lunch ideas are too cute!
Let these beautifully put together lunchboxes by mums in Singapore offer some inspiration on creating appetising yet healthy meals for your kids, picky eaters or not! You might even want to get the children involved for some engaging activity together.
Delight your kids with their favourite cartoon character in their lunchbox! This visual surprise will put smiles on their faces even before they tuck into their specially prepared homecooked meals.
Gudetama fans will be egg-cited to see these lazy eggs in that happy lunchbox! Kai Sin, mother to three young boys, turns an ordinary omelette into a delight for kids at meal times. Eggs are an excellent source of proteins and various nutrients. They are also versatile when it comes to different cooking methods. Omelettes can be used to decorate the food; or boil an egg and turn it into a bee with strips of seaweed on its body!
With food cutters, it is also easy to create an instant character with cheese and seaweed. Just like how Lye Kuan does it – a Miffy that is cut and placed carefully on top of white rice.
This mum of two knows the way to her boys’ hearts (and stomachs!), and recreates their favourite Star Wars and Snoopy in their lunchboxes too. Baked salmon, chicken patties and a garden of vegetables ensure her active boys get their daily dose of nutrients the healthier way
Lunchboxes need not be limited to just prettily-shaped rice. In fact, a little creativity with noodles can offer oodles of visual surprises too!
Is your child a fan of Totoro? You can easily switch soba with spaghetti or even bee hoon, to create your child’s favourite cartoon character. For eyes and other parts of the character, cheese and seaweed are popular choices by mums as they cut to shape easily and creates various expressions too!
Kai Sin takes pride in creating healthy lunchbox meals for her elder son, and her husband gets his own lunchbox on most weekdays too. Pretty sure he’s the envy of his colleagues! Most of her food are homemade from scratch – imagine slow braised pork or grilled saba (shown in photo) – they leave us salivating for more!
Vegetables and toddlers seem to have a strange relationship.
Young children who love their veggies may suddenly decide to refuse their greens, or anything that suspiciously look different from meats. That calls for sneaky ways to hide those vegetables in their food – with our special magic wands and thinking caps, vegetables take on a fancy spin in these lunchbox meals!
Jayina believes in wholesome homemade meals for her toddler, and this homemade pumpkin mac and cheese looks like a delectable treat for her daughter. Pack it in a lunchbox, and it’s a quick meal on-the-go!
Family-friendly dishes are the best time savers. Put together a family-sized portion and pack a set for your kids to enjoy along with the adults. Mummy Chris makes eggplant look so good, we probably wouldn’t be able to tell they were hidden in there. Eggplant Tuna Bake in that lunchbox – why not?
Yummy Sandwiches and More
Sandwiches are easy to prepare, and its versatility allows fillings to be customised according to your child’s preference.
Besides the usual spreads like butter, peanut butter and jam, how about mashed avocado and eggs for that dose of colour and nutrient-rich goodness? With some creative juices, Wokkingmum makes an Egg Mayonnaise sandwich look beary yummy!
Besides sandwiches, pizzas make a fancy lunchbox meal for kids. To save time from making that pizza dough from scratch, simply trim off the skin of a piece of bread, roll it flat and you get an instant pizza dough! Toppings are as varied as what makes your child happy. Be inspired by mama Ming, whose too-cute-to-eat lunchbox and bento ideas are wow-ing mums all over the world!
Parenthood is a life-changing experience for a couple.
Before the kids came along, you probably spent most of your time on intimate conversations, planning holidays and date nights. Now that your hands are busy with diapers or an active toddler, when was the last time you even held hands?
With little mini-me’s who are dependent on your care, and an avalanche of baby-related topics to talk about, the focus on each other as a couple may seem like a flickering flame. So, what can parents do to strengthen their marriage and keep romance alive? After all, you were a couple first before becoming parents, and connecting as individuals keeps the relationship glowing and going.
#1: Think of each other
This might sound easy, but when we are caught up in the busyness of our multiple roles and responsibilities, and focused on getting things done, we probably spend very little time thinking about our better half. Send her a text in the day to say, “I love you”, or, get your wife’s favourite cake to surprise her at the end of a long day. Think of your spouse and let her know that! Thoughts translate into actions towards filling our partner’s love tank, and it is a wonderful feeling to know that someone is thinking of you too, isn’t it?
#2: Speak the right love language
Remember those days when it was just the two of you, and how all that fuzzy lovey feeling was like? Your partner’s love languages are most likely to be the same as before, even with the kids who are vying for your love. According to Gary Chapman who coined The 5 Love Languages, men and women have diverse ways of “feeling” loved, so take a minute to remember what makes your spouse tick. Was it: words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, receiving gifts or quality time? These little steps go a long way in helping to keep the marriage going.
#3: Creative communication techniques
Parents often spend most of the day apart from each other, but that should not be a reason for the lack of communication. With technology and some creativity, it is easy to stay connected with your spouse and keep things fresh. No time to meet during the day? Have a quick 5-minute chat, or, send a text via WhatsApp, WeChat, Viber and add a cute emoji, or a funny selfie. It is always nice to feel appreciated for our roles in the family, just like how these mums are sharing their heartfelt thoughts about their husbands for being together as a team. That would help brighten up your husband’s dreary day at work, knowing that his partner for life is always there.
#4: Be more patient with your spouse
Caring for the kids may be a priority, and it is easy to neglect an adult since he or she is not as dependent on you like the kids. Make effort to pay attention to your partner’s needs, even those non-verbal cues, as this little action helps show that you care. Being more patient with your husband or wife when they help with the kids would help affirm their actions positively, and reduces arguments over the children too.
#5: Encourage your kids’ independence
Sneak in pockets of time together when the kids are on their own. Letting the kids develop independence, and enjoy activities on their own allows them to appreciate their own personal space and time too. It is a double win, and both adults get to raise wine glasses and catch up with each other at the end of the work day, or over the weekends, while the kids establish life skills over time. Sounds like a winner!
#6: Plan couple time and don’t feel guilty
Scheduling in couple time sounds easy, but many parents may feel guilty for being away from the children. Parents need time away whether for individual growth or as a couple, and being a parent is only one of the multiple hats they wear. Deliberately planned time together gives both of you something exciting to look forward to (think: endorphins, happy hormones and dates!), and precious quality moments like these are better cherished too. That certainly makes for two happy lovebirds in the marriage.
#7: Get help with the kids
Planning for couple time sounds like the easy part, so, what do you do with the kids? Enlist support from trusted adults who can help care for your little ones when both of you are spending time together. Knowing that the children are in good hands helps make the quality couple time a better one. The last thing you need is to start an argument over the idea of “outsourcing” the childcaring to get more time together.
#8: Understand that there are stages in a marriage
Just like our children’s developmental milestones, there are stages in a marriage too. Post-honeymoon period during the initial wave of all-things-romantic, things may have gotten a little routine until your first child came along. With the new role to grow into, the spouse in you may have taken a back seat for a while, but remember that children are part of the love equation. Pretty sure that the children added some spice to your marriage too!
#9: Don’t be shy about hugging and kissing in front of your kids
Whoever said that public display of affections are reserved for secondary school kids? Married couples hugging and kissing in front of their kids are simply reinforcing that physical affection of love is valued in the family. The human touch is important in healthy relationships, and just as physical affection with our children is completely acceptable, it is surely normal between daddy and mummy – just keep it child-friendly!
#10: Fall in love all over again
It is time to bring back romance and fall in love again with the very person whom you pledged your vows to. With children in the family, it is easy to neglect working on the marriage. Take time to celebrate the both of you, and enjoy the company and love of your better half on both journeys as husband-and-wife, and mum-and-dad during this lifetime.
Like parenting, marriage is a lifelong path which takes effort and commitment to nurture and protect. Marriage is a sacred union that needs just as much love, as we set ourselves as healthy examples to our little ones about marriage and relationships. Raising happy, world-ready children in a marriage of abundance allows children to thrive and learn about from their role models too.
How do you fuel your marriage even after having children? Do share your tips too!
Nothing quite beats a comforting bowl of hot nutritious soup to end the day.
For the Chinese, soups are often a part of their daily meals. Bowls of nutritious goodness are served up over generations and they make a delicious dish on its own, or as a perfect complement to rice and dishes.
Healthy broths are easy to prepare, and they pack a punch of flavour and taste to tease the palates. Families can easily enjoy soups by cooking them over the stove, or simply putting the ingredients into a slow cooker in the morning, and return home to soup that has been simmered for hours.
Using readily available ingredients, we share 3 popular Chinese soup recipes to delight soup lovers, while nourishing your family’s health. For children under one, some parents prefer to serve soups sans salt, so salt to taste is optional. Feel free to substitute pork with chicken according to your family’s preference. Bowls up and enjoy!
Lotus Root Pork Ribs Soup Recipe
2 litres water
300g pork ribs, or, chicken bones and/or breast
250g lotus root, peeled and sliced
5 red dates, washed and slit
2 honey dates, washed and slit
1 can braised peanuts, or peanuts from the dried goods section (optional, or if child has peanut allergy)
Dried scallops (optional, or if child has seafood allergy)
Salt to taste
Clean pork ribs and blanch in boiling water to remove scum. Remove and set aside.
In a pot, add water, honey dates, red dates, lotus root, blanched pork ribs and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce flame to low fire and simmer for about 1.5 – 2 hours.
Add peanuts and salt, and serve.
Lotus roots are loaded with essential minerals such as iron, fibre, Vitamin B and Vitamin C. They are believed to improve immunity and digestion, helps in constipation and boosts energy levels.
Spinach Egg Drop Soup Recipe
2 litres water
50g ikan bilis (dried anchovies)
200g baby spinach
3 well beaten eggs
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1tbsp wolfberries (optional)
Salt to taste
Bring water to boil and add ikan bilis to prepare broth. Boil and simmer for 30-45mins, and remove ikan bilis.
Add spinach, garlic and wolfberries and cook until the spinach begins to wilt.
Stir the mixture and allow broth to swirl, then carefully pour in the eggs, while stirring the broth. The eggs will cook upon contact with the broth and create ribbons. Season to taste with salt, if necessary.
Ikan bilis are high in calcium and proteins which are needed for strong bones, teeth and healthy cellular functions. These little fish also boost iron and healthy polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 fatty acids) which are essential for healthy red blood cells, as well as brain and eye development. In addition to iron and proteins, Popeye’s favourite spinach is packed with niacin, zinc and Vitamins A, C, E and K, important nutrients to support heart health and promote healthy skin and hair.
Corn Carrot Potato Soup Recipe
250 grams pork ribs, or, chicken bones and/or breast
2 litres water
2 corn cobs, cut to chunks
2-3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut to chunks
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut to chunks
2 stalks celery, sliced thinly
1 tomato, sliced to wedges
4 cloves garlic
Salt, to taste
Clean pork ribs and blanch in boiling water to remove scum. Remove and set aside.
In a pot, add water and all ingredients (except salt) and bring to boil. Once boiling, simmer over low fire for another 40-50 mins. Season to taste with salt.
Corn, carrots, potatoes, celery and tomatoes are brimming with flavonoids, antioxidants, and are excellent sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, potassium and fibre. They help to protect our body from infections, support our nervous system and keep our metabolism healthy.
These homemade Chinese soup recipes are favourites with many families for their quick and easy preparation methods, and hearty nutritional benefits especially for children. Soups are also a brilliant way of meeting the day’s fluid intake as we raise healthy, world-ready children by eating well.
What are some of your family’s favourite soups? Do share them too!
Record those memorable milestones with these cute photo props by personalising them as their creativity flows! Put down the date when your child said his first word, or when she took her first steps. Then have your little sweetheart strike a pose as you capture that special moment with some photo moments with these DIY props – they are one of a kind!
Let your little one design his or her own props as mum and dad fill in those special details. Encourage little fingers to pick up props, paste stickers or simply doodle. These actions help work those fine motor skills and dexterity, both of which helps strengthen their fingers as they learn to write in time to come. Speak to your child and let him or her understand what you are writing down, and why this moment is such a special one. Share your joy and loads of hugs and kisses as you acknowledge these emotions – a way that contributes to your child’s emotional development too. Have fun capturing these proud parenting moments together!
Get your child to help apply glue and paste this activity sheet on a cereal box or cardboard.
Personalise these props with your child using crayons, stickers, colour pencils, markers, felt, cotton, glitter, coloured paper & more!
Cut out each piece along the outline and attached the beige sticks to each prop for use as a handle.
Don’t forget to share with us your child’s masterpiece with us on our Facebook page!