Do you suffer from the agony of failing again and again to tantalise the taste buds of your little one? Is it one of your most cherished dreams to see the school lunch box well finished by your child? Don’t worry. Though it seems difficult to keep your child interested as well as nourished equally; a little imagination and culinary know-how can do the needful for you.
Nutrition is of utmost importance all through the growing years because of various changes taking place in the child’s body. Food and nutrition are especially important during this phase of life. It not only to support growth but as the basis of life-long, food-related habits and attitudes. Appetite and nutritional needs vary with age, activity and rate of growth.
By and large a child spends half of the day in school, so a packed lunch should ensure a wholesome, attractive, and appetizing meal. The packed lunch should be able to meet 1/4th of the daily requirement of nutrients. Albeit coming up with new packed lunch ideas for kids can be a difficult task and more so if you are a busy parent and want your child to eat healthy. Try the following pointers… they might work for you as they do for my friends.
- Preparation times are fun times: One way to get your kids interested in what they eat is to get them involved in the making process. After putting in their efforts, they will be curious to taste the results and you will be able to spend more time with them.
- Fingers over spoon: Kids love finger foods (foods that do not need the use of a spoon or fork). So converting the same food into finger foods can be fun and interesting for them. This can be done by preparing small-sized versions of the original menus.
- Savoury ideas: Stuffed roti wraps, mini burgers (with hummus and mixed veg tikki), vegetable rava idli, baked veg cutlets/kebabs, whole wheat pasta prepared as salads, brown bread pizza, can be added to packed lunch menu ideas once or twice a week to add variety. You can also use different spreads while making sandwiches to add variety. Create a quick sandwich spread by blending together hung curd, finely chopped or, grated vegetables and season with salt and pepper.
- Sweet ideas: Children have a renowned sweet tooth. Small fruits like grapes, strawberries, peaches, plums, cherries are ideal for a sugar boost. Sometimes cupcakes or biscuits can be added to break the monotony.
- Beverages: the availability of spill-proof bottles allows us to add beverages to the school lunch options. Beverages like lemonade, fruit punch, mango panna, etc. can be sent along with lunch in the summer months. These will ensure the intake of fluids and prevent dehydration from setting in.
- Include these foods: School lunch should be a combination of cereals, pulses, fruits & vegetables. These foods ensure the right mix of nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
Making these small alterations can achieve a balance between taste and nutrition in those precious little lunch boxes.