Packed lunch is a necessity for school going children (especiallyif the school is away from home or the lunch period is too short for them to go home.
Points to be considered in planning a packed lunch:
- The meal should meet one third of the daily calorie and protein requirement of your child.
- As far as possible try and include all the food groups in the lunch, though the number of dishes may be less.
- Inclusion of green leafy vegetables would take care of one-third of the requirement of many vitamins and minerals.
- Include milk and milk products, pulses in the combination of cereals and egg in packed lunch preperations as this will increase the protein content of meals.
- To make the food appetizing , whole fruit or butter milk in a bottle or chips in a paper bag can be given.
- Provide variety. Avoid packing same food on successive days. Pack something other than what you served for breakfast.
- Take care of food consistency. Too watery things may leak and too dry may not be appetizing to the child. Chapatis can be covered in cloth to retain moisture. Curd rice should be made with cold rice. Hot rice makes the water to separate from the curd.
Suggested packed lunches:
- Vegetable pulao, boiled egg, tomato raita and orange fruit
- Fenugreek leaves stuffed chapati, thick dal and buttermilk
- Chapati stuffed with dal with green leafy vegetable sag
- Chapati, usual and carrot salad
- Cheese sandwiches or paneer sanwiches, guava
- Idli and Kurma
- Dahi bhath, tomato or cucumber slices and lemon pickle
- Khichdi, buttermilk, coriander chutney
- Sambhar rice, amaranth porial, buttermilk
- Adai with drumstick leaves and coconut chutney.
While packing a lunch remember:
- Cool the preparation before packing to avoid spoilage
- Pack food preparations, which taste good even when these are cold, include some fresh vegetable or fruit, to help moisten the mouth.
- Pack the vegetable/fruit slices in tiffin, to retain fresh flavor and texture
Pack only as much as the child can eat happily, so that children learn to value food and do not waste it.