Healthy meals are important for growth and development of active children. They require a proper balance of a variety of foods in their diet to be able to concentrate and study. As a parent, I am sure you must be in an incessant battle with the outpouring advertisements in every possible medium and peer-pressure oriented demand for particular foods as opposed to your idea of providing them with good nutritious meals.
The school tiffin bridges the gap between breakfast and the lunch and thus it is natural to worry if your kids do not consume the tiffin you packed. It is also important because it is the most mentally and physically engaging time zone in the day.
To reduce some load of your head, here are some smart tips to outwit the kids and get them love their tiffin!
- Prepare handy meals: Children love playing during the break and giving them something that is handy and in small portions would be a win-win for both. E.g. choose veggie paratha over upma/ poha which would require to sit them in one place and eat.
- Make meals nutritionally dense:They have a small appetite and thus it is important to maximize nutrients delivered to them. This can be achieved by combining various food groups such as paneer paratha with sesame seeds or baked handva.
- Add colours to the meals: This technique makes the meal look appetizing and interesting to the children and also helps to play around with flavours along with health. For instance, a simple boring chapati can be made fun by adding vegetable purees to it and change colours.
- Un-junk the tiffin: School canteens and surrounding offer a variety of items which can surely degrade the child’s health. What can be done is you provide a healthier, home cooked version of the same by tweaking the ingredients a bit and voila, you prepared their favourite junk food.
- Provide energy-boosters: Fruits and nuts are power-houses and provide quick energy besides being hassle free to consume. Additionally, they also supplement the body with important vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Give entire fruit to the child to eat or squeeze lemon on the chopped fruits.
- Plan the time-table: As simple as this sounds, it is equally effective. Discuss with the children what they want to eat and then tweak the recipe by using healthier ingredients. The chances of compliance and empty tiffin coming back home increase with such a strategy.
- Do not use plastic dabba’s: There has been enough noise and evidence as to how using and storing food in plastic containers is detrimental to health and leads to hormonal imbalance.Instead use stainless steel tiffin for your kids.
- Limit the frequency: Avoid using processed items like breads, biscuits, noodles etc. to feed your children. Limit it to only once or twice per week gradually using it only as a saviour option.
- Avoid foil wraps: The discolouration on the inside should be enough to prove that aluminium is leaching in the food and that not definitely what we want. Instead use a cloth to wrap items in; which in turn is more sustainable to the environment also.