Lunchbox Diet

“When you eat mindfully, by paying attention to what you eat, you get more pleasure with fewer calories.” ~ Dean Ornish

With the smorgasbord of restaurants offering all the cuisines you can think of, today’s adults are tempted to try all that’s new and visually instagrammable. With the rise of tasty options, there has also been a clamor for delicious yet healthy meal solutions. But because of busy schedules, the healthy options often take the back seat in lieu of fastfood, ready-to-go meals. Enter meal preparations. 
Meal preparation plans have been the fad for the past couple of years, and several suppliers have ridden on this bandwagon. The meals are already portioned to the desired calorie per day, and even delivered to your doorstep — easy, hassle-free, and healthy! These have appealed to yuppies and millennials who want to stay healthy but are too busy to shop, cook and prepare their own baons. This includes us, working parents.

So we decided to try LunchBox Diet. We got the 1500 cal plan for two weeks, consisting of breakfast, lunch, dinner and 1-2 snacks or tea and coffee. The meals are delivered to our house the night before. On the day, we just reheat the food in the microwave and we’re good to go! The food is actually delicious. Most days we have brown rice, fish, chicken breast, wheat bread, and a featured item from sponsors every Wednesday. Our favorites are pasta nights, and fruit-based  M desserts. 

After two weeks of Lunchbox meals, I was able to lose 6lbs! Not bad. More importantly, my appetite was not as strong as before. I can easily curb my cravings for junk food (my favorite cheat day snack!) and even desserts. Most of the time, I eat less during dinner as well.

The relapse is usually the hardest after finishing the meal replacement plans. So my husband and I have to rely on each other, so we can stay away from temptation and still maintain healthy food choices later on.

My Kid is Weird

“We’re all a little weird. And life is weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.” – Dr. Seuss

Is your child weird

Does she display habits that are out of the ordinary?

My daughter is a classic example:

1. She likes to rub and touch my elbows while breastfeeding. It helps to put her to sleep. She kisses my elbows first when greeting me, before kissing my cheeks.

2. She doesn’t like stamps on her hands, so the teacher gives her cut out stars instead for great job in school work.

3. She likes to put shoes on her left foot first, before the right foot.

4. She says “No Kiss”, then proceeds to kiss all her stuffed toys and miniatures.

5. When she makes number two, she finds a corner, squats down and does her business. And no one should talk to her while she’s busy. (Good luck with our toilet training!)

No matter what her quirks are, I don’t think it makes Sofie any less different. I know I have mine too. I guess knowing these little things makes her funny and endearing all the more. And it makes her personality so unique and much more colorful. 

So here’s to discovering more weird and quirky sides to my daughter. This means I can spend more time bonding and discovering these together with her. 

Montessori Mode

“The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.” – Maria Montessori 

As my daughter turned three this year, I knew I had to look for preparatory schools soon. Her age was ripe for nursery, and the challenge was to find a good place that would build a solid foundation for her elementary school.

As we shopped for schools, there are so many factors we had to consider:

1. Location

Traffic in Manila is really tiring and time consuming. So we wanted to find a place that was nearby so that Sofie won’t spend hours on the road just to get to school. Also, being nearby is an advantage to the yaya and Lola who will bring her to school, as they can easily go back home and do other things, then just come back for her during dismissal time. The proximity would also help us go to her quickly in case of emergencies.

2. Transportation 

For working parents, transportation is a big factor to consider. We needed to find a school that would be near enough to transport our daughter by walking or by tricycle, as we cannot bring her to and fetch her from school all the time. The nearer the school, the lower the cost as well for service fees.

3. Classroom and School Size

Do you want a big school or a small school? How many students are in one class? What is the teacher- student ratio? A smaller class is better for us, as teachers can give more attention to toddlers who might be easily distracted by toys or play time. Teacher aides are also a plus, especially for toilet emergencies.

4. School hours

What time are her classes? How many hours will she be in class? This would help us work around prep time (breakfast, bath time, rush hour, nap time, etc) and ensure that our daughter is alert, active and ready to learn in class.

5. Tuition Fee

Enrollment fees today are no joke, and they do take up a major chunk of your income and savings so the fees is a big factor to consider. Miscellaneous fees such as books, uniforms, school supplies, field trips should also be added to the total enrollment fund, so parents are better prepared.

Payment schemes also come into play. Of course, paying in full is encouraged by the school as it means cheaper fees, but installment mode of payment would also be comfortable enough for the parents to financially fulfill, weighed in with all other daily expenses and investments.

6. Security

Is the school located on a busy street? Are there gates in place? Is there a guard at he entrance? We need to ensure that our daughter will be safe in her school grounds, especially from strangers.

7. School type and curriculum

Would you want a traditional, progressive or Montessori type?

I knew at the onset that I was looking for a Montessori— a school that would help kids learn about ABCs in a more intearactive environment, and also teach them basic life skills and independence. Most of my mommy friends were products of Montessori themselves, and their testimonials only pushed me to look for a similar school curriculum for my daughter.

And so look for a Montessori we did. Lo and behold, there was a nearby school near our village, about ten minutes away: Montessori at Work. The school is near the house, so we can worked arrangements with a neighbor tricycle driver so he could bring Sofie to school and fetch Lola and Yaya as well when class is over.

Classes are from 1030 am to 1230 pm, not too early and just enough for traffic to pass after rush hour. Her nap time would also be right after class, so the schedule is just right. Grounds are secure enough as there are gates and glass doors so only authorized fetchers will be allowed in the premises, and only during fetching time.

Fees are not too expensive, and already covers uniforms and school supplies. For tuition fee, we chose the middle ground – semestral payment. This would help us save enough for the next payment, with the least amount of installment add ons. The time would also help us to evaluate if Sofie would adjust well to her new school enviroment.

Sofie has been enjoying her stay at Montessori. She has two teachers in a class of seven, together with a teacher aide. The school uses didactic objects to facilitate both learning and play. Books are converted to drill sheets, so teachers can assess and personalize exercises based on the child’s readiness and grasp of the lesson. Plus the environment and faculty are supportive and encouraging. (Sometimes, a mother’s intuition or vibe, though unfounded, is usually accurate!)

Hope Sofie would learn a lot from Montessori at Work. Here’s to the start of our schooling adventure!