With the kids back in schools at full swing, I am faced with my usual tragedy every morning.. what to put in their lunchboxes? Resisting the urge to stuff them with unhealthy crisps or some sweet something or other, I have to make an effort in getting the children on proper balanced diets despite the convenience of the fast food solutions. So the question is what do I put in their lunchboxes? So that the meals are balanced as well as liked by my four minions. Get it wrong and the lunch box gets returned untouched with a million excuses. And then out of mummy guilt since they haven't eaten they whole day I let them consume a whole bad of popcorn or something unhealthy. Much like the trepiditious travels of Frodo Baggins in the “Lord of the Rings, my quest is indeed trying. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when faced with some lunchbox dilemmas:
1. Nowadays the traditional rice and curry are not accepted by many children, but of course you are not satisfied until a good plate of rice has been eaten, and you are right, as a growing child they do require their proper intake of nutrients. Therefore, attempt the rice meal at dinner when you are also present, for their lunchbox at school choose other options.
2. Children like variety, it might be easier for you in the mornings to cook much of the same things. However much it might be a nutritious and tasty meal, children like to be surprised and enjoy different options.
3. Ensuring that your child does eat their meal, you might in desperation pack fast food meals, processed foods and foods high in sugar. Yes, your child will eat them but they are not highly recommended by nutritionists. They might fill you child up, but highs achieved by the sugar consumed will only cause mood swings and unruly behavior, make the already trying game of parenting harder.
4. A hospitable Asian habit is to pile a person's plate with food. When packing our child's lunchbox we might be guilty of a similar behavior, we are concerned that our children might be hungry and we tend to over pack, this can deter the child from consuming their food, get the quantity right.
5. Keep your lunchables balanced. Sometimes we might tend to overdo on the carbohydrates but forget the dairy or protein. When packing your child's lunchbox make sure to keep in mind to include all food groups such as carbohydrates, protein, dairy and so forth.
In consult with our local nutritionists, they recommend a few food choices which also incorporates the local produce we have. Here are some meals options if you are stumped for ideas:
Meal Option 1
Flat bread or rotti with a meat or vegetable filling.
Meal Option 2
Into the Kottu, add an array of vegetables and meat, alongside chickpeas and top with some cheese.
Meal Option 3
Rice with yogurt or curd, accompanied by vegetables and protein of choice.
These are wholesome meals which can also easily be put together. Also for snacks, avoid the fried chips or murukku and think about fruit pickles, raw vegetables with dips or healthy juices with lots of fruit. Giving our children foods which are less in preservatives and artificial flavourings is something we should strive to do. Lets turn those lunchbox tragedies into nothing but love-songs!