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A nugget of junk

January 21, 2013

I’m not sure if I’m winning or losing the mealtime battle. It’s getting a little complicated.

Although portions still go unfinished and I end up spoonfeeding almost 99% of all their meals at home, the kids have shown me some things that have shocked me:

They would choose Cheerios over Honey Stars, anytime. (For the uninitiated, Cheerios have no taste. It’s just bland multigrain cereal. Honey Stars are sweet, and taste like, erm, honey.)

They finish cherry tomatoes by the tens in seconds.

They love broccoli, cauliflower and edamame.

They’ve tried curry and like it.

They’ll eat fries, yes they would, but would automatically stop at the tenth or eleventh fry handed to them.

Just last weekend, I thought I’d prepare something special and indulge them a little. I made angelhair aglio olio with salted butter, ham, bacon and tomatoes. I baked salmon with some rosemary and olive oil. I reheated a ready-made pack of clam chowder. I toasted some chicken nuggets and even made a guacamole dip for that.

Dinner epic fail

I’d thought they would gun for the nuggets and ask for more. To my surprise, the cheddar cheese on the pasta was finished first, followed by the cherry tomatoes. The salmon was overcooked so it wasn’t too popular. The clam chowder was slurped in a jiffy. Ben tried the dip and declared he wasn’t a fan. They struggled to finish their portion of the angelhair pasta and they did manage to finish their carbs with the ham and bacon after almost forty-five minutes of spoonfeeding. But what was most surprising was that both of them refused to bite into the chicken nugget. They’ve tried nuggets before and the last was at the Christmas party at their school. But this time round, they were gagging and saying no vehemently. Jamie Oliver would be proud.

I don’t believe it, my kids rejected nuggets.

So tell me, is this battle won or lost? They aren’t eating the variety and the portions I would like them to, but hey, they’re rejecting junk. That should be good news eh?

Becks Kao Ben Kao Bento Attempts The real supermom

More bento meals

January 3, 2013

I still try to make the kids bento as often as I can. They are still not eating much and remain as picky as ever. But I am a persistent mother who would very much like to win this long drawn battle of wills at mealtimes.

These were prepped during Christmas. I taught them the song “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” one day and made them a little Rudolph with a cherry tomato nose. I used fried wantons (meat and shrimp dumplings) as his antlers.

Rudolph bento

I made these when my goddaughter came over for dinner some evenings ago. I used a little ketchup to make the rice a little orangey in colour and cut nori (seaweed) to make the tiger cubs’ stripes and ears. I used a craft punch for the mouth. The cubs sit on some baked chicken wings, tomato-scrambled eggs and broccoli.

Tiger cubs bento

And this was how I shaped rice just to get them to eat when we had some roast duck. The brownish black bit is the roast duck sauce.

Bird rice

The kids always prefer pasta to rice. For pasta meals, I would usually cookie-cut some cheddar cheese slices to add to their pasta. I tried to make the shape of a bone using flying fish roe some time ago but it was an epic failure.

Dog&bone pasta

Kids: Wow, look! Dogs! Mama, erm, but what’s that thing? (referring to the roe)

Me: It’s roe. The stuff you love in your sushi.

Kids: Oh yay! Pok pok pok! We like! (they refer to roe as that cos’ of the fun they have trying to bite into each one)

Didn’t connect to any “bone”.

Becks Kao Ben Kao Bento Attempts Food, glorious food! Parenting 101 Re: learning and child training The Kao Kids

Mealtime woes: an update

December 19, 2012

Bentos for December

So far, I’ve made some crabs, two snowmen and even a frazzled mother (that is me, yelling “PLEASE EAT!”). I’ve even attempted to make a stegosaurus with macaroni to join my son in his dino craze this month.

Have we made any progress? Ben is appreciative and eating better, and I’m really happy my efforts paid off. As for Becks, she’s still picking the bits she likes and refusing to eat most of the mains in her bento.

My conclusion? My kids don’t like chinese food; or rather, they’d much prefer soba, seaweed, pasta, cheese and ham anytime. Rice is always the tricky one to get them to eat. And oh yes, they absolutely dislike bread. The good thing is, they love fruits of every sorts and cherry tomatoes, and these will have to be the mainstay of all their bento meals for a long while.

 

Becks Kao Ben Kao Bento Attempts Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids The real supermom

Mealtime woes

December 7, 2012

I’ve been busy making picture bentos for the kids for almost every meal they have at home, but it’s been quite futile.

They.are.still.not.eating. They just go “yay”, pick the bits they like and very much leave a large portion of the box untouched.

So every day I try, and hope that more gets finished today than yesterday. Very humbling for the mommy ego indeed.

All this blog's PR Stuff Bento Attempts Food, glorious food! Product Reviews

Boxing the kids’ dinners [Product review]

December 3, 2012

My new hobby of making picture bentos for the kids have been keeping me busy lately, both in the kitchen and online (shopping and learning from other bento blogs!), and it was timely that JED Packs! sent over a set of Tyrrell Katz Working Wheels Snack Boxes. Ben was into construction vehicles since he was two years old, and it’s been more than a year now since his love affair with trucks began. It all started with observing the multiple construction sites springing up all around us in car rides, and many trips to the library to learn the functions and purposes of each vehicle and how each truck works. By two half, this boy could name every construction vehicle he sees in books and at work sites, knows the difference between a steam roller and a backhoe loader, and can explain to us what excavators do and how cement is mixed in a concrete mixer.

So you can imagine how happy he was to receive a set of these. Opening these snack boxes of different sizes like Russian dolls certainly made his day.

These snack boxes are pretty and handy to have in my stash of bento boxes for the kids. Yesterday, the kids were a little under the weather. Becks was having a cold and a fever, and Ben didn’t seem to have much of an appetite.

I made the children some soba with a happy lion in these snack boxes and that cheered them up a bit.

*JED Packs! will be having their Christmas sale this Tuesday (10am-7pm) and Wednesday (9.30am-5pm) at the Orchard Hotel. You can find more Tyrrell Katz lunch accessories and snack boxes, and other pretty stuff there. Check out their fb page for more details.*

**Disclosure: We received a complimentary set of 3 snack boxes for this review. All text and opinions are our own.**

Becks Kao Ben Kao Bento Attempts Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids

Mealtime wins

November 27, 2012

We’ve been fighting mealtime battles a lot lately.

What went wrong? Strict dinner rules have been laid. No tv. No running around. Eat what’s on your plate. Treats only after you’ve finished. My kids don’t snack. They don’t eat candies either. They should be hungry by dinner time because I never give them anything three hours before dinner, except water.

And yet, I had to send the kids straight to bed without a full dinner a few evenings ago. For a few consecutive days prior to that evening, they’ve been balking and gagging at what they were supposed to eat, taking forever to chew and swallow, and doing nonsensical things with each other, like kicking each other’s legs, laughing for no reason and blowing bubbles in their soup. After a few days of that, enough was enough. I gave my last warning to chew the food that was in the mouth (which wasn’t heeded anyway), marched right into the kitchen, grabbed the trashbin, emptied their plates right before their eyes and sent them straight to bed.

Never imagined needing to do that.

I know reality discipline advocates that. For a while, I’ve always tried not to resort to this. I’ll nag, threaten, cajole, play close-your-eyes-don’t-see-what-you’re-eating game and, of course, when all else fails, spoonfeed.

That night, I stayed up to rethink my strategy. I want them to eat – without me having to feed. I want them to love food. I don’t want to send them to bed with the reality of an empty stomach. I don’t want hunger to teach them anything – for now. I want them to have fond memories of the times we spend at the dinner table.

My new plan is to make food appealing to them and hope it whets their appetite.

I’m getting so inspired by these bento creations and the “bento-mums” I know!

Someday I’ll make all these (and more)!

These days I’ve been cracking my head to see how I can make the food more “picture bento”-like just so they can get excited about eating their dinner. It’s like a project everyday: give instructions to the helper to cook the dishes for dinner, but at the back of my mind, think about how to morph what the adults are gonna eat into fun things on the plate. These were my very humble first attempts.

I’m glad to report that the children look forward to dinner a little more now than they used to, and Ben has been finishing his portions since I tried this out two days ago. He has even made requests to see leopards, pandas and lions in his bento. I’ve much to learn, but am loving every minute of this; and I really hope to announce my decisive win in the Battle of Wills at the Dinner-table soon!