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Many of you have requested me to detail how to pack lunch box for school going kids. So let us talk about this real life and interesting issue.
Being a biologist, I have always believed in eating a healthy, balanced diet. Our diet should have a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, fibers, minerals, etc... The same thing applies to our kids' lunch boxes. Kids should get a balanced diet too!
I remember as a child we (my brother, sister, cousins, friends.. and me) used to bring Paratha/ Roti (Indian bread) with cooked dry vegetables and homemade pickle in our lunch boxes pretty much everyday. I also remember slipping in my lunch box in my school bag. Now things have changed a lot. It is interesting to observe the practices in the western world. I have lived in France and USA, and some things are quite different here than in our country. Kids are not allowed to keep any food in their regular school bag. They have a separate "lunch bag" to put their snacks and main lunch box. Also, in India, kids eat their lunch either in their class rooms or outside in the play ground. But in most western countries kids are not at all allowed to eat food in their classrooms. They have to go to the Cafeteria/ Canteen to eat their food. In the cafeteria they can either eat canteen's hot food or they can eat the lunch that they have brought from home.
Following are the few sample lunch bags I have at home. All these lunch bags are insulated to keep the food at the maintained temperature.
When you pack your kid's lunch box, you need to keep your kid's taste in mind as well as healthy diet principles. It is an important meal of the day for them. Here is how I fix my kids' lunch boxes....
I always pack a simple, healthy, and delicious three course lunch for my kids. It comprises
1 portion of fruit/veggies salad + 1 main dish + 1 small serving of Dessert
Fruit options- Any fruit as per season and availability such as clementine/oranges, pomegranate seeds, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, banana, apple, etc Vegetables such as carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, lettuce, walnut salad etc can also be packed.
For the main meal- My kids love Stuffed paratha ( stuffed Indian bread), Flavored rice preparation, Dhokla, Seasoned Idlies (steamed rice cake), Moong dal cheela, Namkeen sewai ( vermicelli with vegetables), Kale chane (black grams), Lobiya (black eye beans), Sandwiches, Burger, Pasta, Pizza, etc...
For Dessert- It can be anything . I just give them a small portion of any homemade or ready made healthy sweet like- a cookie, a granola bar, a laddoo, some dry fruits, a candy, a biscuit, a small piece of cake without icing, til kuta (pound sesame ), etc
Hope it helps you to plan your kid's lunch box. In what follows, I am outlining a large number of lunch box ideas. Please do not hesitate to write to me if you have any suggestions or queries....
With Best Wishes,
Everyone loves Noodles especially kids are a big fan of chow Mein. Sometimes you can pack Chow Mein for kid’s lunch meal. Add lots of veggies with noodles to make it healthier. Pack some fruits, nuts, and sweets as per your kids taste. The following picture shows, veg chow mein, clementines...
Sandwiches are ideal for lunch box. Make this sandwich with your favorite bread and fresh vegetables. With sandwich you can pack some fruits and dessert also. The following pics shows garden fresg vegetable sandwich with strawerries, aate ka laddu and almonds and figs.
Tamarind Rice is a good option for Lunch box meal for kids as well as adults. Its a flavorful rice preparation and is easy to eat for kids. With Tamarind rice there are some grapes and a gond ka laddu to make it a little more healthier and fancier..
Dilruba (mixed veg rice) is an ideal Lunch box meal for kids as well as adults. Different vegetables and paneer has been added to make it more delicious as well as nutritious. It is absolutely low-fat so if you are health conscious, this is the right choice for you. With Dilruba rice there are clementines, and a berries granola bar for dessert....
Upma is an ideal Lunch box meal for kids as well as adults. Different vegetables can be added to make it more delicious as well as nutritious. It is absolutely low-fat so if you are health conscious, this is the right choice for you. I have added some cashew nuts in upma to make it yummier for kids. With Upma there is an apple, some dry roasted peanuts, and a piece of sesame bars!
This is a North Indian style of sandwich, made with potato masala. This sandwich makes a hearty breakfast item. You can also make it for kids' lunch box. Use whole wheat bread to make the healthier version . Pack some carrots and cucumber sticks and may be some ketchup or mint chutney as per your kids taste.
Dhoklas are my son's favorite lunch box meal. With Dhokla I usually pack some fruits and a small piece of dessert. This picture shows Dhokla, red grapes, tamarid and dates chutney, a biscuit for dessert and some dry roasted peanuts. You can pack some other fruits as per your kids taste..
Paneer is a good source of proteins, carbohydrates and calcium. Paneer paratha is a good lunch for kids. It is easy to make and also it is easy to eat for young kids. So it can be a good option for your kid's lunch box. With Paneer Paratha there are strawberries and tilkut (ground sesame with sugar dish).
Uttapam is an ideal meal for Lunch box ..You can also add more veggies /paneer as per your kids taste. With uttapam, you can also pack some coconut chutney or green chutney as per your kids taste. There are some grapes and a granola bar/ cereal bar has also been packed with uttapam to make this lunch delicious and complete for our kids.
Dhokla is my son's favorite lunch box meal. I usually mix semolina with gram flour to make dhokla for kids so it is lighter and healthier. With Dhokla I usually pack some fruits and a small piece of dessert. This picture shows Dhokla, red grapes, and a small piece of pound cake for dessert. You can pack some other fruits as per your kids taste.
Paneer is a good source of proteins, carbohydrates and calcium. Paneer Cheela is a healthy lunch option for kids lunch box. It is easy to make and also it is easy to eat for young kids. I add grated paneer in Moong dal paste with some spices and chopped coriander leaves and make cheelas. With paneer cheela there are clementine and Petha..
Kale Chane also called as Black/Bengal Grams are very rich in protein. Grams are also rich in dietary fibers and zinc. It is a perfect lunch box dish for kids. You can also add some fruits and may be a surprise cookies for your child...
Plain rice idlies with coconut chutney can be a light lunch mean for kids. Pack some sweets and clementines with the idlies to add helth and taste to their meals..
These Idlies are steam cooked savory cakes of fermented batter of Semolina (sooji/ rava ). Usually in South India Idlies are served with chutneys for the breakfast. This is an ideal meal for kid's lunch boxes. You can also put some coconut chutney. Add your kids favorite fruits and sweet.
Corns are good source of vitamins, proteins and dietary fibers. Corn rice is an easy to make dish and it can be a good option for your kids lunch box. With corn rice there is pomegranate seeds and a piece of sesame bar (gajak)...
Tehri has carbohydreate, vitamins, proteins, and also some minerals. So it is an ideal Lunch box meal for kids as well as adults...You can add more veggies as per taste in your tahri preparation. Some pieces of paneer can also be added in this dish. With Tahri there is some salad and a piece of chikki (peanut bar)..