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Feeding your little ones something they like which is at the same time healthy is a tough task indeed. Kids just tend to prefer foods that are unhealthy for them, like biscuits, noodles, pizzas, bakery foods and ready to make mixes, etc. Another problem you might be facing is that of time: as busy or working parents, it might be hard for you to pack a nutritious meal into their lunch boxes before they head off to school. Luckily for you, this article provides ten children’s lunch box ideas that are unique, delicious and healthy.
Easy Lunch Box Ideas & Recipes for Kids
1. Fruit Smoothie
This is a refreshing drink for anyone, especially if the weather is warm. However, make sure you do not replace water with smoothies or fruit juices. The easiest recipe to make a fruit smoothie is by combining fruits of your choice (ideally bananas, apples, mangoes, custard apples, strawberries, etc.) with milk, nuts, cinnamon and vanilla essence in a blender. Adjust the amounts to get the consistency you desire. It is preferable you sweeten the drink with jaggery or honey rather than refined white sugar if required as most of the fruits have natural sweetness in them.
Uttapam or savoury bread pancakes have been a staple South Indian dish for hundreds of years. To make uttapam, you will need bread or idli or dosa batter, milk, onions, tomatoes, capsicum, potatoes, red chilli powder, garam masala, and salt. Add all the ingredients together and mix to make a thick glutinous batter. Spread some groundnut or rice bran oil in a heated pan, and pour some of the batter over it. Let the batter take a roughly round shape, then let it fry over a low flame until both sides are honey brown in colour. Uttapams can be served with chutney, sambar or ketchup.
3. Beaten Rice Tikki
One of the most commonly used ingredients in Indian cuisine is beaten or flattened rice; it is used to make several dishes such as Poha, Pulao, Dahi Chura, etc. This recipe will make use of any leftover poha at home to create a tasty snack. Grind the leftover poha you have in a blender. Combine it with cooked potatoes, garam masala powder, ginger, garlic, red or green chillies, onions, and salt. Shape the mixture into flattened disks or tikkis, then fry them in oil over a medium flame until they are brown.
4. Bread Sushi
One of the easiest snacks to make at home is the vegetarian sushi roll. It is incredibly delicious and will have your kids asking for more. To make it, cut the edges of whole grain bread slices, then flatten the bread with a help of a rolling pin. Layer the upper side of the flattened slice with peanut butter, jam, mustard sauce or any condiment in powder or sauce form that your child would enjoy. Finally, roll the bread from one end to another, and cut it in half. Voila! Bread Sushi!
5. Vegetable Toast
This dish is one of the effective ways of delivering vegetables to your child’s diet. Pick a selection of vegetables such as brinjal, tomatoes, capsicum, onions, and carrots. Cut them into small pieces and fry them in oil with salt, ginger and garlic paste. Toss bread slices in a separate pan until golden brown. Garnish the toast with a helping of the veggies in different ways. Add cheese, chaat masala and other flavours to enhance the taste.
6. Bread Rolls
Bread rolls are amazing appetizers your child can take to school. Combine cooked potatoes, green chillies, garam masala, coriander leaves and chopped garlic and fry them together in groundnut oil or any other cooking oil. After a couple of minutes, take them off the stove and add finely chopped ginger and mint leaves. Now soak bread slices in water, squeeze out excess moisture, place the mixture above on the slice and roll the bread so it covers the potato filling. Fry the rolls until they are completely brown. This dish can be served with ketchup or chutney.
7. Vegetable Idli
A wonderful variation on the standard idli, the veggie idli is a yummy way of incorporating vegetables into your child’s meals. To prepare the filling, combine vegetables and spices of your choice in the oil and saute until they are cooked. Add the veggie filling to your pre-prepared idli batter and prepare as usual. You can serve this dish with sambar and chutney.
8. Semolina Dhokla
Dhoklas are a beloved treat in West India. Making them from suji or semolina makes them even healthier. To prepare the dhokla, combine semolina with curd, turmeric, chilli powder, salt, finely chopped green chillies, coriander leaves and sugar to make a dropping consistency batter. Boil water in a steamer and place the batter in a dhokla stand, allowing it to steam for about ten minutes. You can fry the dhoklas in mustard oil and curry leaves for a unique taste. Adding veggies and nuts will enhance their nutritive quality.
9. Bread Cup Pizza
This is a great recipe to get your kids excited about lunchtime. For this, you need a muffin tray. Cut circles out of bread slices and place them in the tray. Mix a variety of assorted chopped veggies with spices like thyme, salt, mustard and garlic and add them to the bread cups. Top it with some grated cheese on top and bake it for ten minutes until the bread is brown-tinged. You can serve them with mayonnaise or tomato sauce.
10. Indian Pasta
This dish sounds complicated, doesn’t it? In fact, it is as easy to make as it is delicious. To prepare, cook pasta of your choice in the usual way. To prepare the sauce, combine mustard seeds, black gram, onions and coriander leaves and fry in coconut oil until cooked. Then mix tomato puree with salt, garam masala, ginger, garlic, and fenugreek leaves, boil it for a few minutes and combine it with the previous concoction. Toss the pasta in the sauce, add a few drops of lime or lemon juice and serve the dish!
There are several ways to innovate in the kitchen. Play around with the kids’ tiffin box ideas mentioned in this article, change ingredients, quantities or even methods of cooking to create unique variations that will keep your child happy, healthy and excited for their next meal.