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.

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Kindermusik

“At Kindermusik, our passions are children and music. So we put the two together to create a music and movement program for young children. Our mission is to reach every child through music.”


I first learned about Kindermusik from my boss, who enrolled her then two-year old daughter to the program and sang praises about it. Her once timid girl blossomed into a confident young toddler. I knew then that I wanted to also bring Sofie to Kindermusik. As an only child, these play schools are supposed to teach basic socialization, but I knew that Kindermusik can develop so much more for Sofie. She was already turning two, and I wanted to expose her to more learning and creative environments suited for her age.

We searched their website and found Saturday morning schedules to be ideal, so we can also join her during classes. After going to potential venues, we finally found a fit at Kindermusik at CTEC Greenhills with Teacher Dang. Her class would be Wiggle and Grow, for toddlers her age.

The first day was surprising for all of us. Sofie was overwhelmed by the new environment and kept her eyes closed the whole time! There were tears and tantrums, but Teacher Dang assured us that this is normal behavior, and we should acknowledge Sofie’s feelings and let her adjust to her new surroundings. We kept our faith and crossed our fingers that the next days would be better.

True enough, Sofie did do so much better in the next classes. Little by little, she began to recite familiar animals and animal sounds during story book time, played with rhythm sticks, and even did cooperative play with classmates. She especially loves parachute play, lining up blocks and sticks, story time, and “massage” time with mommy. She has learned to pack away toys and wait for her turn. At home, Sofie and I would read books from Kindermusik and look at videos from the website, and she would remember her modules from her classes. Her development was amazing, and we are thankful to Teacher Dang and Kindemusik for helping Sofie to develop all these, and enjoy bonding time as a family too. 


As we enroll Sofie in a new school, we would forever be grateful for the foundation given to her by Kindermusik. She now sings nursery rhymes all the time, dances to familiar songs during car rides, and has better appreciation of music. No more eyes closed! We have appreciated the opportunity given to us to learn together with Sofie, and she has learned to trust the support she can get from her parents. More importantly, she has gained the confidence to face new schools and new challenges in the world ahead. 

Love in Spoonfuls

“I was a really picky eater as a child. Because I was obsessed by Popeye, my mum and aunts would put my food in a can to represent spinach and we’d hum the Popeye tune and then I’d happily eat it. ” ~ Paul O’Grady



As my toddler grows up, it becomes increasingly challenging to feed her. They say, the stage of picky eating may be overcome by giving your child a variety of healthy options. This way, she can be introduced to different tastes and textures. Nutrition is priority, but aesthetics and presentation can also play a vital role. Mealtimes are not only feeding times, but opportunities to stimulate the child’s senses as well.

Sounds like a big challenge! Good thing I’ve found some resource materials to help me plan a weekly menu. 

Enter Parenting’s Love in Spoonfuls 👏🏻


This cookbook features easy-to-follow recipes for your little tots. They also recommend other healthy alternatives for some ingredients that may be hard to find in stores. But what I particularly like about this book are the tidbits of nutritional trivia per recipe. Very helpful for newbie moms like me. 

Can’t wait to cook pasta stars in tomato sauce this weekend!

Travel Bugs

“There is a kind of magicness about going far away and then coming back all changed.” ~ Kate Douglas Wiggin

I’m on my last leg from an assignment in Eastern Europe to attend and assist delegates in a conference. Before that, I came from another weeklong midyear conference, out of town, from which I was the lead organizer for 500 delegates. Two weeks away from my family to fulfill my duties for work. 

It’s been difficult both physically and emotionally to be away for so long. Before when I was single, I would relish the thought of traveling to new places. I’ve always wanted to visit different destinations since I was a little girl, and my work has given me opportunities to see beautiful places in my country and around the world. Travel has always been a passion and a blessing. 

But having my husband and my daughter changed my priorities. If I can limit my trips now, I would gladly take that option. Otherwise, a lot of planning and preparation ensues. As a working mom, I not only have to ensure that every detail of the trip itinerary is complete, but also stock up on supplies for the household and endorse childcare to my family.

Here are some tips when a working mom goes away on a trip:

1. Make a Laundry List.

It helps to list down your daily routine so you can go it over with your husband, yaya or the Lolo/Lola on the things needed to be done and prepared everyday. This is what you do when your child wakes up, eats breakfast at this time, goes to her nap, playtime and bedtime routine. Schedules can be pinned to the ref or anywhere that can be easily seen, so the child’s routine will not be disrupted even while you’re away. 

At work, make sure to sit down with your superior to let him know of your trip details and scheduled return to work. Update him with your tasks and things to be settled so there are no loose ends before you leave.

2. Accomplish in Advance.

Prepping is very vital prior to your trip. Plan the menu and the meal plan for the week. If you can, cook the food the weekend prior and assign days for the week for each viand. Stock up on groceries (with a little extra for emergencies). Leave some money with someone you trust in case of an emergency purchase. List down names and contacts of your pediatrician, teacher and nearby baranggay/ police station.

Meetings can be set prior to your trip so you can settle concerns with customers without worries. Submit all deliverables in advance and assure clients that they can still contact your assistant or reliever while you’re out. 

3. Go online. 

You don’t have to spend so much to call and check up on home. While away, I use different tools to keep in touch: Viber, Skype, FB messenger. Before I left home, I tested all the apps on my device and my husband’s and brother’s to make sure they’re working. We aligned time zones too so we know which is the best time to call each other. Now I’m learning to use WorldSim too so I can call home and work for a minimal rate. 

In the office, I’ve turned also my auto-reply with my email address (not mobile phone) so customers and suppliers can still reach me for urgent matters. 

I am grateful for the support system I have right now–my spouse and my parents, along with yayas and household help–that have allowed me to take on trip-related responsibilities while they take care of the home front. I’m fortunate as well to have workmates who are willing to carry some workload while I’m gone. Without them, the delicate work-life-travel balance will not be possible. So, while it’s expensive, I make sure to buy everyone little tokens of appreciation from my trip. Goodwill always goes a long way.

And while you’re at it, enjoy the trip! Let go of the guilt and take in the scenery. Each adventure truly changes you, and you leave with new life lessons.

Thankful and excited to finally go home! 

A New Year, A New Hope

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” ~ Melody Beattie

Hello 2016!

A new year deserves a new entry. After all, the new year always brings a surge of hope for new beginnings—a time to start new things. That’s why new year’s resolutions abound during this time: a lot of gyms are full nowadays and most people are on a no-rice / no-dessert diet, especially after all the holiday binge. I might be quick to jump on this bandwagon, but I have another idea on how to lose all those excess holiday pounds.

A colleague of mine from the office has told me about his weight loss journey, all because of the Soup Mate Pro. For seven days, he only cooked, ate and drank soup (based on a soup cookbook and this soup making machine), and he quickly lost 20 pounds after a week! WOOOOW! I’m hoping to try this for myself and my husband too. Dieting is no fun when you’re alone, so we promised each other to shed those pounds and share in the misery 🙂 I purchased the kit already (another new thing, as this is my first purchase from home tv shopping!) and we’re going to start Day one come Monday next week.

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Here’s hoping that our soup journey will be successful!

Art in Island Family

“I think togetherness is a very important ingredient to family life.” ~ Barbara Bush

Christmas season starts as early as November in our family, and the traditions follow suit. This includes the house decorations, christmas carols, and the weekend family trips.

My brother organized one trip this weekend, and invited everyone in the family to join. My brother, who rarely organizes, and my father, who rarely joins are both ready to go! I reorganized our Sunday plans and agreed to join the whole gang for a picture taking morning at Art in Island.

The whole venue in Cubao was filled with 3d art installations, where you can be creative in your poses and see the 3d effects in your pictures. Entrance is at Php 500, and it will be better if you come early to avoid the queues at the photo installations. This way you can also have as many takes and poses as you want. (More info on Art in Island here).

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Everyone was game enough to pose and have fun with each other. Hope we can have more weekends like this, bonding as a complete family, Christmas season or not.