Preparing your child's lunchbox is one of the most thought-provoking tasks on a mom’s list. If you are also one of those moms who like to put good thought into your child's packed lunch box, then we are here to make your work easy.
A healthy lunchbox full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains keeps your child energetic throughout the day. However, the amount of food you put into your child's tiffin depends on how long his/her day is going to be. If your kid goes to daycare and school, you might need three tiffin boxes for breakfast, lunch, and evening snacks. We're here to give you a few healthy snack ideas for kids' lunch boxes.
Must-have food groups during lunch
Your child's lunch needs to be balanced so that the body receives all nutrients and provides energy to your child, allowing them to concentrate and learn while keeping them active throughout the day. A healthy lunch box should contain the following four major food groups.
- Carbohydrates can include a range of whole grain and white grain options like pasta, bread, rice, and corn.
- A portion of vegetables, fruit salad, or raw veggies like cucumbers or tomatoes.
- Dairy products or dishes made from dairy products like a curd dip with the veggies, cheese in the sandwich, or sandwich dressing made of curd and veggies choice.
- Protein-rich foods like beans, lentils, nuts, pulses, fish, eggs, and meat.
Do not forget to add a drink along with the lunchbox, as staying hydrated is essential in hot weather. Also, a water bottle must always accompany your child’s tiffin.
Following tricks can be used to make your child's packed lunch more exciting and fun and so that the lunchbox comes back home empty:
- Cut the fruits and vegetables into various shapes to make them look presentable.
- Use tiffin boxes with multiple sections to keep the foods separate while adding various foods to the lunch box.
- Pack foods that are simple, easy to eat, and get digested quickly, thus not making your child feel bloated. Use tiffins that are easy to open and do not spill.
- Avoid foods that are bound to go mushy or soggy.
Recipes for the lunchbox
Here are a few healthy lunch ideas you can try making for your kids :
1. Indian-style pasta
- Cook two cups of any pasta of your choice in boiling water until soft. Once the pasta is cooked, strain the water.
- Heat oil in a cooking vessel and add garlic, cumin, mustard seeds, asafoetida, one onion, and one cup of vegetables of your choice. Fry the veggies for a few minutes, and then add chopped or pureed tomatoes.
- Add salt and spices like chilli powder, turmeric, and fenugreek powder, and stir well for two minutes.
- Add the pasta and stir it well with the other ingredients. Finally, garnish with coriander leaves.
2. Corn spinach sandwich
- Heat 1 teaspoon of oil or butter in a pan and add one tablespoon of chopped garlic. Stir for one minute and add half a cup of boiled corn and one cup of spinach. Cook till the spinach leaves shrink.
- Add 1 tablespoon of maida or cornflour and stir for two minutes. Add half a cup of milk (cold) and allow the mixture to thicken.
- Add spices like chilli powder, black pepper, and salt per taste, and give it a good mix. The sandwich stuffing is ready!
- Take a slice of bread, add some of the ready stuffing and grated cheese, and cover with another slice of bread. Toast the sandwich on both sides by applying some butter.
3. Cottage cheese fried rice
Heat some oil in a cooking vessel and add one teaspoon of garlic, one small onion, and 3/4th cup of vegetables. You can add 3/4th cup paneer along with the other ingredients while cooking or stir fry them separately.
- Add one cup of cooked rice, salt, black pepper, and any spices of your choice and mix them with the other ingredients. Add some coriander or spring onion on top.
4. Vegetable cutlets
- Steam two cups of potato cubes, 1/2 cup chopped french beans and 1 cup chopped carrot until they are soft. Drain out the water and mash the vegetables well.
- Add 3/4 teaspoon finely chopped coriander leaves, chopped green chillies to taste, 3/4 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp ginger paste, salt to taste and 6 tbsp bread crumbs to the mashed vegetables and mix well. The mixture should not be soggy. Make 12 patties from the mixture.
- Make a thin batter of 2 tbsp of rice flour or besan in 3-4 tbsp of water and keep aside some breadcrumbs. Dip the patties in the besan or rice flour mixture on both sides and coat them well in breadcrumbs.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a flat pan and shallow fry the patties until they are golden on both sides.
- Serve with your child's favourite dip.
5. Palak paratha
- Remove the stalk from the spinach leaves and soak the leaves for some time in water mixed with some salt. Rinse in fresh water and drain.
- Grind the leaves to a fine paste with 1/2 inch of ginger or garlic. Mix the spinach puree with 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1/4 tsp garam masala, and salt to taste and knead to a soft dough.
- Lightly coat the dough with some oil and set aside for 1/2 hour.
- Knead it again and divide it into 8 equal balls.
- Sprinkle some flour on the rolling board and over the ball. Roll one ball into a slightly thick paratha; you can make it round, triangular, or square in shape as per your preference.
- Heat a tawa and cook the paratha on it on both sides till it puffs up.
- You can team up the paratha in your child's lunchbox with chutney/ curd.
Compiling an easy, healthy lunch is not very difficult. However, it is necessary to put great thought and effort into your child's packed lunch, so they not only eat it but also enjoy it.
Don't worry about brainstorming ideas for your little one again. Check out the BabyG App for more healthy lunch ideas and tips like these, exclusively for you.
RaisingChildren. Packing healthy lunches for children 
NHS. Healthier lunchbox recipes 
Srnutrition. Healthy Packed Lunches for Children. 
Harvard. Packing a Healthy Lunchbox. 
Indian healthy recipes. Masala Pasta. 
Indian Veggie Delight. Paneer Fried Rice + Mixed Nuts + Little Heart Biscuit 
IndianHealthyRecipies. Vegetable cutlet. 
IndianHealthyRecipies. Palak Paratha.