Power packed lunch option for kids - Published for B positive magazine

If you are parent of a schooler you sure are preparing to pack lunch!    

With schools re-opening what’s on every mother’s mind is a healthy home cooked lunch winning over the challenges of an array of fast food choices and cascading peer pressure to consume junk food.  


Breakfast influences mind, mood and cognitive performance. Schoolers often struggle with intake of wholesome breakfast either due to early school timing or the sheer lack of time. Inadequate or no breakfast spurs lethargy and zaps concentration. A nourishing lunch is thus compelling to compensate to ensure growth and development.
Balancing act: Lunch should be nutrimental with adequate calories, protein and satiety to keep full until evening snack yet light to keep active and alert during the afternoon slump. It’s ought to be a prime meal consisting of a third’s daily nutrient requirement. Combinations with whole grains, pulses, dairy, fruits and vegetables pack nutritional punch to sustain the physiological demand. Cheese, curd, soybeans, bean sprouts, peanuts, assorted nuts, eggs, chicken, oily fish offer high quality proteins absolute for muscle growth. Do care to incorporate the child's choices with a dash of creativity and imagination to encourage consumption of lunch from home.
Food safety:  It is superfluous to mention that watery, messy, mushy, sticky or dry lunch is undesirable. A healthy lunch in an unclean carrier defeats the purpose of food safety. As suggested by the Food Safety Information Council, emphasize on ‘choose, clean and chill’. Choose a lunch box that is easy to clean, spill proof and is compact. Do air the box dry to maintain hygiene and prevent the growth of molds and fungi. The lunch box should be adequately cool in temperature. Thermos box also helps to maintain hot temperatures, which will delay microbial growth. Meat, fish, poultry or dairy need special attention to prevent incidences of food poisoning. It is advisable to steam sprouts to kill any harmful microbes.
Reiterate on wholesome fresh foods with variety to forsake the temptation of processed goodies often synonyms to excess sugar, salt and unhealthy fats. A balanced, appetizing lunch provides a good foundation of all nutrients, essential to thwart malnutrition and lifestyle diseases.
   Lunch choices:
·    Grain preparations:
Stuffed parathas – vegetable ( raddish, methi, onions, gobi, carrots, palak)
Rolls with vegetables, eggs, tuna or minced chicken (optional - low fat or fat free cheese)
Dhalia upma/kheer/biriyani
Vermicelli upma/pulav/biryani
Pasta - Noodles, spaghetti, fisuli, fettuccini, macaroni,
Whole wheat or multigrain bread sandwiches with raw veggies/ stuffed vegetable preparations/non-veg/ cheddar cheese/peanut butter
Pizza & burger with veggies ( You may choose whole wheat options)
Pita bread and hummus
Tortilla wraps
·    Fermented foods:
Dosas  - Rava/ ragi /Instant dosa with peanut chutney
Idlis, vegetable idlis( grated carrots and peas), Kanchipuram idlis, rava idly
Dairy - Fruit yogurt, lassi, buttermilk,  smoothie
·      Rice preparations:
Fried Rice –eggs/veggies/chicken
Pulav, biriyani, lemon rice, puliyogare, pongal, bisibele bath, tomato rice
Curd rice
Rajma chawal ( red rice), white rice with curries/sambar/majjige huli/kalu huli – legumes/lentils.
Brown rice chickpea vegetable pulav
Kadi chawal

·    Breakfast cereals:
 Museli, oats, dahlia, wheat flakes with nuts, chopped dried fruits like walnuts, prunes, apricots, raisins & fruits, drizzled with honey ( homemade trail mix)
·    Protein power:
Nutri (Soya) nuggets/chunks/granules
Paneer or tofu 
Hard boiled eggs/omelet’s with veggies/scrambled eggs with veggies/poached eggs,
Besan preparations - vegetable pakodas, kadi, steamed pakodis
Milk shakes, smoothies, flavored milk/hot or cold chocolate
Fresh Sprouts with fruits & veggies ( Steamed sprouts with pomegranate, grapes, grated carrot, diced cucumber, slivers of raddish)
·    Beverages:
Fruit juices ( 100 % no added sugar), tender coconut water (tetra packs)
·    Salads:
Vegetable sticks – carrot, raddish, and cucumber sticks, or other veggies – tomato, fresh methi or lettuce, cabbage, coloured peppers, broccoli, sautéed mushrooms.
·                           Fruits:
Whole fruits like apple, orange, pear, or cut fruits like water melon/musk melon/papaya
·    Treats
     Dark chocolate ( 70 % or more cocoa), assorted dry fruits – figs, raisins , apricots
·    Accompaniments:
Baked chips, kakras, roasted papad, roasted channa add the crunch and crispiness 

 Published for B Positive magazine 



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