Tag Archives: School Lunch

Pack Nutrition for Lunch

pack nutrition for lunchDo 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

Do you have a finicky eater up your sleeve?

finicky eaterBeing a mother of a toddler, a school age child or an adolescent; which thought haunts you and what keeps you worried all the time? It is your child’s eating habits!!! You might be going over the board thinking how to create a balance between taste and nutrition.

Remember your childhood days when you loathed having greens and other strongly flavored foods but you do like them now. Why?? Simply put, our taste buds gradually with increasing age decrease in their affectivity and we start adjusting to the strong flavours. So you have a consolation there that one day your child might start taking those greens with pleasure. Till then so as to make your child eat nutritious food following tips might come handy.

  1. Go one by one when introducing new foods in the diet. This facilitates to observe the child’s response to food. It also helps in finding out if the child is allergic to any particular food.
  2. Change the form If a particular food is disliked try to change the form of that particular food and see the response. E.g. if spinach is not appreciated as saag try making it as palak paneer or kofta instead.
  3. Be Encouraging Our food choices generally rub on our children thus we should try not to show dislike or displeasure for any particular food. They should be encouraged to try most foods eaten by the family.
  4. Avoid Monotony Variety in choice of foods and innovation in the recipes is very important to avoid monotony. Even a slightest change like a change in the shape of chapatti might make your child interested in the meal.
  5. Try the trick of camouflaging Mostly children are finicky in eating fruits and vegetables. So add these foods in invisible mode. For example, vegetables introduced as stuffing or topping or chopped too fine to get noticed, fruits added in milk, pureed and added to certain desserts (custards).
  6. Milk can be substituted If your child refuses to drink milk, calcium can be obtained from curd, cheese, yoghurt or from sardines and other fish that contain fine bones which can be eaten. For vegetarians til or sesame, ragi can be added to diet. These not only have high amount of calcium but are also good sources of protein.
  7. Pack a wholesome lunch The packed lunch should include carbohydrates (rice / chapati / parantha), proteins (pulses, paneer, soy nuggets, egg / non-veg) and vitamins-minerals (vegetables and fruits). Few examples of packed lunches: Vegetable and nutrinuggets Pulao & fruit; Methi / palak parantha with fruit; Dal parantha & fruit; Paneer sandwich & fruit, etc.

It is important for you to be patient in dealing with the mixed reactions you are likely to receive from your picky / finicky children while eating. Your patience is worth your child’s health.

Image Courtesy: Lynne Diligent