If you’re kid leaves their lunch half-eaten or refuses to eat the same old sandwich everyday, here are a few ways to make eating more fun for them and have them look forward to what’s in their dabba.
If you’re a parent to a picky eater or have a child that wants to eat something different everyday, it is only fair that as parents, we give them what they want to eat. While the balance between health and nutrition seems like a daily struggle, it does not necessarily mean that there aren’t creative ways to pack a lunchbox that looks colourful, takes maybe 20 minutes to put together while you juggle household affairs in the morning and tastes delicious at the same time. With children who are openly critical of the food they eat, it is easy to gauge what they may or may not like to see in their dabbas. That said, a little effort here and there to make their food look as cute might go a long way in getting them to eat, at least part of what is packed for them. Listed below are some ideas that you could use to your advantage in making sure that your child looks forward to recess breaks in school.
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As parents, getting your children to eat their vegetables might definitely be a mammoth task in itself, let alone having them be aware that the food they eat contains vegetables. Of course, some vegetables like cucumbers and cherry tomatoes fly off the pass but the rest of it can be as daunting as they get. Adding ground spinach or beetroot to your paratha dough or dosa batter is one way to make their food colourful and make sure that they get all the right nutrition without making a fuss. You could also add mushrooms to a bean burrito or cauliflower to your bechamel sauce for pasta and increase their intake of vegetables, and not negotiate with the promise of sugary treats.
Fun Shapes & Colours
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If you’re child enjoys eating fruits, buying little cookie cutters to cut out apples, strawberries, watermelon and kiwi into cute shapes and arranging them decoratively is a win-win for the parents and children. Slicing your cucumber and cheese sandwiches into sticks, carrots into spears and even using alphabet pasta tossed in the usual tomato sauce is a great way to ensure that the child fully engages with their food. Making pinwheel shapes out of lunch wraps are also a fun way to let your child know what they’re eating without having them make a mess out of their food.
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Got a slice or two of pizza leftover from last night’s dinner? Or a paneer sabzi that isn’t enough for a full meal, sitting in the fridge? Spruce it up by adding some extra cheese on top or stuffing the sabzi into a whole wheat wrap along with a light salad on the side. Similarly, using up bits of chicken, cooked pasta, sauces or dips by combining them in different delicious ways are a great idea to keep up the interest as well as pack a lunchbox without too much effort. Turn leftover dosa batter into waffles for a gluten-free, probiotic option, for example.
Including Multiple Food Groups
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If your child’s only options when they open their dabba is a dry, lifeless sandwich or limp dosas, expecting them to eat food that appears to be lacklustre can be challenging. You don’t have to necessarily cook every component of their lunchbox. Combining one hot breakfast item like besan cheela with a Middle Eastern hummus dip and crudites allows them to pick and choose what they want to eat without being weighed down by the compulsion of running out of options. That said, here are some delicious combos that you could attempt at making the next time you’re rushing to get a lunchbox out the door.