Every morning you wake up early to cook and pack some food for your child. But when he comes back from school you find the food half eaten or not eaten at all because probably he found it boring. Sometimes the food is given away to friends to show you an empty lunch box.
Give your child variety in food, give him what he likes but make it healthy. Add colour and variation to the same food and he will eat it. We want to give our children ‘the best’ and healthy food but that does not mean only vegetables and chapattis day in and day out.
Make your child’s lunch box fun
- Keep the contents of the lunch box simple but good to look at. Do not pack anything with gravy which will make the box messy. Pack dry food like sandwich, parathas, snacks etc.
- While planning the tiffin, ask your child what he would like to take in the box.
- Take children along to the store when you shop for food and let them pick up fruits, vegetables and other food items which they would like to carry to school.
Ways to make the School Lunch Box Yummy and Nutritious
The food must look good, smell good and taste good. Give children what they like; the food will be eaten for sure.
- Parathas – Children love to eat parathas instead of chapaties. A wide variety of parathas can be made with different vegetables and dals. While kneading the dough, chop or mash vegetables like spinach, cauliflower, carrot, potatoes, methi etc and mix in it. Add spices and herbs like cumin, turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander leaves, mint, ajwan etc.
Parathas (wheat flour) provide fibre, dal has proteins, vegetables add vitamins and minerals, and spices are rich in antioxidants and aid in the digestion of the food.
- Sandwiches– Another food children like to eat is sandwich. Use whole wheat bread instead of plain flour (maida) bread. Use different coloured ingredients as fillings, like green mint and coriander chutney, cucumber slices, red tomato sauce, tomato slices, beet root – boiled and sliced, potatoes – boiled and sliced etc. along with salt and some spices like chaat masala, black pepper, oregano or cumin powder.Cut sandwiches in different shapes like triangle, rectangle, or square.
- Poha – Poha is made from flattened rice. It is easy and fast to cook and it is a tasty and nutritious snack since vegetables and spices are added to it. To make it you need flattened rice, oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, onion, potatoes, peanuts, lemon juice, coriander leaves, turmeric, asafoetida and salt.Poha acts as a complete meal due to the presence of so many vegetables in it, yet it is very light on the stomach. It is packed with iron and very easy to digest. Rice provides instant energy as well as Vitamin B1. Peanuts are a good source of protein, they are good for heart and act as antioxidants.
- Upma – Upma is a wholesome, nutritious and tasty snack. It is basically from South India and is made with semolina as the main ingredient. To prepare it – you need semolina, oil, curry leaves, green chillies, ginger, mustard seeds, onion chopped, tomatoes, turmeric powder, lemon juice, salt, water and coriander leaves.
- Moong dal ka Cheela – This cheela or pancake is made from split moong dal which is soaked overnight and ground to a fine paste next morning. To this paste add red chillies, cumin, asafoetida, grated ginger, chopped coriander leaves, and salt. Make chelas from this batter.
Give this wholesome snack to your child in his lunch box along with some green chutney.
So pack some healthy, nutritious, yummy snacks in your child’s lunch box and be sure to find an empty box when he comes back from school.