Do you suffer with the agony of failing again and again to tantalize the taste buds of your little one? Is it one of your most cherished dreams to see a meal well finished by your child? Don’t worry. Though it seems difficult to keep your child interested as well as nourished with the right things; 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 feeding are especially important during this phase of life, 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.
Half of the day of a child is spent in school thus packed lunch should ensure a wholesome, attractive and appetizing meal which should be able to meet 1/4th of the daily requirement of nutrients. Coming up with new packed lunch ideas for kids can be a difficult task and even so if you are a busy parent but still want your child to eat nutritiously. 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 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 which do not need the use of spoon or fork). So by converting the same food into finger foods can be fun and interesting for them. This can be done by preparing small sized versions of original menus.
Savoury ideas: Stuffed roti wraps, mini burgers (with hummus and mix 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 fresh cream, finely chopped or grated vegetables and season with salt and pepper.
Sweet ideas: Children have a renowned sweet tooth. Small fruits like grapes, strawberries, peach, plum, cherries or yoghurts 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 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 / dairy / flesh foods (if permitted at school), fruits / vegetables. These foods ensure a write mix of nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals.
By making these small alterations a balance can be reached between taste and nutrition in those precious little lunch boxes.
Image Courtesy: Little food junction