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Hillary Wright, a Boston-based nutritionist at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, mother of three boys, advises that your child's lunch box should pack at least three food groups. Since most lunch boxes often comprises starchy foods, make sure you give some fruits or salad for their daily dose of fibre.

Children are very picky eaters. It is not easy to fool them into liking what they have decided they don't. But, you need to make sure that they're getting adequate nutrition for their steady growth and development. It's easy to run out of ideas when it comes to putting together your kids’ lunch boxes. What’s more, packing and finding the same stuff day after day can become boring for both parents and kids. That’s why, packing the perfect lunch box for your children is probably one of the most challenging tasks you are likely to be faced with.  Before you start planning for their lunch boxes, just keep in mind the following factors:

  • Always respect your child's likes and preferences
  • The lunch box should pack at least three food groups
  • It’s important to make boring health foods look delicious and tempting
  • Involve them every once in a while in choosing and preparing their own meals – this will help them develop their palates and a deeper interest in food
  • You can also teach them a thing or two about whole grains, proteins, and nutrients that are essential to growth and well-being, thus helping them make healthy choices

To quote Nutrition and Wellness Consultant Dr Sheela Krishnaswamy, "When it comes to dry lunch, mothers can pack vegetable parathas rich in vitamins and minerals, egg paratha or paneer paratha rich in carbohydrate and protein. You can also make an egg or paneer pizza with a base made of millets. You just need to make boring health foods look delicious and inviting for the child  and work on the presentation for them to like their meals." 

Here are some un-boring ideas that will put all those old, boring sandwiches in the shade - and surprise them with these delicious and healthy lunch box ideas

Oats Idli

Pack these delicious and healthy idlis that are rich with the goodness of oats, lentils and veggies. Oats being rich in minerals, vitamins and proteins, this dish is high on nutritive value without compromising on taste. 

Moong Dal Chila

A great way to sneak good quality proteins into your child's meals. Top it off with mushrooms, paneer or tofu, making it even more exciting. 

Upma

Upma is a wonderful way to keep your little ones full till they get back home. Packed with the goodness of semolina, lentils, coconut and loaded with spices…making it a really tasty treat.

Bread Poha

Chunks of bread mingled with fresh green peas, peanuts and a touch of masala, makes for a wholesome meal. It is an easy and quick recipe to pack for tiffin.

Lentil and Mushroom Burgers

Make delicious patties with lentils and mushrooms placed between whole wheat buns. Kids love burgers, any day, any time. Make these healthy burgers at home, packed with all things healthy and tasty.

Paneer and Salsa Tortillas

Protein packed, tasty paneer chunks wrapped in crispy, toasted corn tortillas and covered with tangy homemade salsa.

Quick Noodles

Toss up some quick noodles with mushrooms, lime juice, crunchy peanuts and a sprinkling of coriander. Light and lovely, these noodles have everything - from fresh veggies to tangy, spicy sauces. 

Egg Fried Rice

A popular Chinese recipe with stir fried eggs squashed together with garlic, onion, rice and various spicy sauces, and finally served with a scrambled egg on top. 

Pasta Salad with Broccoli and Baby Corn

Pasta and veggies come together when you whip up this salad – chock full of colour and flavour. Dress it up with some herbs and a dollop of fresh cream.

Club Sandwich

Sandwiches are great for any and all meals.  These can be packed with healthy veggies and herbs like lettuce and zucchini, inter-laced with cheese and sauces. A perfectly balanced combination of health and taste!

With so many meal options for your kids school lunch boxes, you don’t have to worry about combining healthy and tasty! With all these options, the world is your oyster – at least where lunch boxes are concerned.

BY THIYAGARAJAN VELAYUTHAM, 14TH JUNE 2019

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