Vasundhara Agrawal, a Bangalore-based diet and active lifestyle expert has a very clear philosophy in life on Diet. She feels just like clothes should be tailor-made, everyone is different and there is no one-size-that fits all here. She is a life member of India Dietetic Association, a UGC-NET qualified lecturer, a freelance corporate trainer and an active contributor to various publications. She has worked with top hospitals like Fortis and Max Healthcare and works with diverse groups and individuals across the world, catering to their special needs, goals or health conditions and helping them lead a healthy lifestyle free of worry and illness. Her mission is to inculcate healthy lifestyle habits among people to enable them to be the best version of themselves.
Webs are full of search for healthy tiffin recipes on how to make eating an enjoyable part of a child’s diet. In today’s interview, we shall talk with Vasundhara about healthy eating for children. Let us hear all about it here.
Could you please guide our young mothers on how they can include good fats in their child’s diet?
There are five food groups such as milk and milk products, meat, pulses and eggs, vegetables and fruits, fats, nuts and oil seeds and sugar. Ensure that the meal is nutritionally adequate by keeping food items from at least two food groups in your child’s tiffin box.
Keep food items which can be easily managed by the child. For example, Pack finger foods such as stuffed paratha roll, soya vegetable cutlets, apple cheese sandwich cut in round shape and so on.
No parent wants to make any compromise when it comes to ensuring their child’s health.
How will a healthy tiffin box help my child in school?
Let me list reasons as to why a health tiffin box will do wonders for your child:
- Children are more attentive and tend to perform better in school when their stomach is full and are not hungry. Empty stomach can lead to lethargy and sleepiness.
- A child who takes a wholesome nutritionally adequate meal has been shown to fall sick less often and has improved school attendance.
- They are much influenced by their peer group and eat better in the company of their friends and classmates.
- Healthy and adequate meal helps to meet nutritional needs of the child.
- Since children eat better in the company of their peers, tiffin box iss a good way to introduce variety in their meals.
- A child spends almost 4-5 hours in the school and thus need energy and stamina to stay active throughout the day. A wholesome meal would provide adequate energy besides confirming to the intake of vital macro and micro nutrients.
As parents, what needs to be kept in mind while preparing a child’s tiffin box?
Preparing your child’s tiffin box helps you control the portion size and let you make choices as per his/her demands. This would help prevent either of the condition of over nutrition and under nutrition.
- An adequate lunch prevents the child to binge on fast food or packaged and processed food available in school canteen.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables can be introduced and incorporated in the diet of children.
- A nutritionally adequate and diverse variety in the meal helps in developing attitude towards food since childhood.
It is an utmost responsibility of parents to provide their child with healthy, tasty, enriching and nutritionally adequate meal. Some points which parents should keep in mind while preparing their child’s tiffin box are as follows:
Do not keep same food items each day as it would lead to monotonous eating. Keeping variety in the tiffin will expose the child to different food products and will not limit his/her choices to few favourite foods.
Keep changing tiffin boxes and sippers of your child as it helps maintain their interest in the food.
Children like to eat food of different colors and shape. Mothers can make roti/paratha of different shapes such as moon, half moon, star, triangle and so on. Colors can be dedicated to each day of the week where children wear the dress of a color and carry food of the same color.
Inculcate habit among children to eat fruits since childhood. It can be done by keeping two tiffin boxes with the child. One of the lunch and other for the fruits which the child can have anytime during school hours or on the way back home.
What should I keep in my little one’s tiffin tomorrow?
A question which occupies the mind of majority of the mothers as besides confirming to the likes and dislikes of the child, they also must ensure the nutritional adequacy of the meal. Considering the long hours which a child spends in the school makes it imperative for mothers to plan a wholesome, healthy and nutritionally adequate tiffin box. Keeping this in mind, I am sharing here some easy to make healthy tiffin recipes for children.
Listed below are few easy to do and healthy food recipes along with their nutritional importance which can be quite handy food-ideas while cooking food for your child’s tiffin box:
Soya Vegetable Cutlets
- Pressure cook soya chunks, peas and carrot for one whistle. Put only enough water required for cooking.
- Drain any extra wate3r and squeeze the contents to remove remaining water and mash it well.
- Add mashed potatoes, boiled soya chunks, carrot, peas and onion in a wide bowl. Add bread crumbs, salt, garam masala and fresh coriander.
- Make small round shape cutlets.
- Take a nonstick pan and toast the cutlets on both sides applying little oil until it is light golden in colour.
- Let it cool for 5 minutes and then pack it in the tiffin box of your little one with two whole wheat bread slices and ketch up.
Soyabean being a rich source of protein helps in supplying the body building material and make good the loss that occur due to the wear and tear.
It is also rich in Vitamin A which is necessary for clear vision in dim light.
- Take whole wheat flour and add pureed spinach, garam masala, coriander, ginger, green chili, roasted cumin powder, ½ teaspoon vegetable oil and salt. Knead it into dough. Let the dough stand for 10-15min.
- Make a round ball and flatten it with the help of a rolling pin.
- Place 1 tsp grated cheese in the centre and seal it from all sides. Roll it into a paratha and bake it from both sides on a griddle applying little oil.
- Let the parathas cool for 10 minutes and then pack it into your child’s tiffin box.
- It can be made into circular, triangular or rectangular shape.
It provides adequate energy to help perform all bodily functions.
Spinach is a rich source of Vitamin A which is essential for clear vision.
Cheese is a good source of protein and calcium required for the formation and maintenance of skeleton and teeth.
Grilled Vegetable Mushroom Sandwich
- Heat oil in a pan on a medium heat and add chopped onions and sauté till they are golden brown in colour. Add chopped mushrooms and sauté until water has evaporated (mushrooms give out water while being cooked).
- Add capsicum and tomatoes and sauté on medium flame.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Turn off heat; add cheese and coriander leaves, mmix and set aside.
- Two slices of bread are needed to make 1 sandwich. Cut the edges of the bread. Alternatively, bready can be cut in different shapes of circle, square or triangle.
- Spread the butter on the slices of bread. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the mixture on one slice and cover with the other slice and grill using a sandwich maker or any other grilling method of your choice.
Mushrooms are good source of B Vitamin which helps to provide energy by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. B Vitamins also play an important role in the nervous system.
It is also rich source of selenium which is an antioxidant and helps to prevent damage related to heart diseases, cancer and other metabolic conditions.
It is also a rich source of copper and potassium. Potassium helps to maintain electrolyte balance in the body and copper plays an important role in iron absorption.
- Blend the sprouted moong dal in a smooth paste by adding little water.
- Add besan, asafetida, coriander leaves, mint leaves, salt and garam masala and roll it into small tikkis.
- Heat a non-stick tava and cook each tikki using little oil until they are golden brown in colour.
- Let it cool for a while before packing it in your child’s tiffin box.
Change in taste can be incorporated by adding two varieties of sprouts- green gram whole and Bengal gram whole in equal proportion.
There is a considerable increase in the weight of the pulse after germination.
Content of B Vitamin such as Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin and Vitamin C increases upon germination.
Vitamin C is required for healthy and strong gums, bone and teeth calcification and increases absorption of iron.
Do include these recipes in your child’s tiffin box to provide him or her with a nutritionally adequate, interesting and mouthwatering tiffin box.
- Hi There ! This is my chance to talk to you as a founder and Editor of Food India News.The Soul purpose of our blog is to promote healthy ways of eating and living.when you try out one of our recipes or get benefited from our expert talk , we are awaiting to hear from you . Do take your time to come back and share your comments, as your feedback means lot to us.