Wraps are a healthy snack option as they can be made with rotis/ chapatis & stuffed with vegetables that full of nutrients. Wraps can be made in multiple ways & look very appealing. Apply little cheese spread on rotis and fill them up with veggies of choice like cooked carrots & spinach leaves, sliced cucumber & chopped tomatoes. Roll the chapatis and secure them with a toothpick so that they do not fall apart while they stay in the tiffin boxes.
Healthy Vegetable Sandwiches
There are many ways of putting healthy sandwiches together. Here’s a version that is not too time consuming to make as well as very healthy. Slice 1 cucumber, 1 tomato, 1 boiled beetroot and 1 boiled potato. Apply some butter on the bread loafs and place all these ingredients on the slices. Sprinkle salt and some ketchup for taste. If your child expects something more exciting, adding some chaat masala or a slice of cheese will add more flavour to the sandwich. You can also add a layer of lettuce leaf. Eggs are known to be powerhouses of nutrition and sandwiches filled with boiled egg slices along with some salt, pepper and mayonnaise also make for wonderfully delicious and healthy meals for kids.
Healthy Vegetable Idlis
Idlis are considered as one of the healthiest Indian breakfast snack. Made with fermented rice and urad dal, idlis are a great source of carbohydrates and proteins. They are light and easily digestible. If you wish to amp up the nutrition quotient of idlis, add some vegetables to them. Most kids are fussy when it comes to consumption of vegetables; hence smartly incorporating vegetables in food works well for parents. Bring together some healthy vegetables like carrots, french beans, cauli flower and chop them finely. Mix all these veggies together and combine them with the idli batter. Add some salt and mix everything well. Heat sufficient amount of water in a steamer. Grease the idli moulds with oil and fill each one of them up with spoonfuls of batter. Place the idli mould in the steamer and cook for 10 – 15 minutes. Incase you do not have a steamer, you can make idlis in a pressure cooker too without the whistle. “Creative Commons Vegetable Idli” by Zee Patel is licensed under CC BY 4.0
Mothers of fussy food eaters, here’s something for you! If your kids show resistance in consuming vegetables, here’s a smart way to get veggies in their stomachs. Boil some spinach, broccoli, bottle gourd (lauki), pumpkin and carrots in a pressure cooker. After 1 whistle, shut the gas and allow the pressure cooker to cool off. Once cooled, remove the vegetables and puree them in a blender. Mix this puree in 3-4 cups of atta (wheat flour), along with some salt and jeera powder. Knead it the way you would for rotis. Once the dough is ready, make small balls and flatten them out individually with a rolling pin. Pour some ghee on a hot tawa and place each piece on the tawa and flip till each side is cooked evenly. Pack these parathas with some homemade chutney or ketchup and hopefully your kids will love it. “Creative Commons Stuffed muli paratha” by Zee Patel is licensed under CC BY 4.0. Image for representation purposes.
Theplas are a healthy & fuss free snack option for kids. Take some methi (fenugreek) leaves, wash and chop them. Take 2 bowls of wheat flour and half bowl of gram flour (besan) and mix together. Add the methi leaves to this. To this add 1 spoon of ground ginger & garlic. Add salt, half spoon of turmeric powder, a pinch of red chilli powder (depending on your child’s tastes), 2 teaspoons of oil and knead the entire mixture into a soft dough. Then just like parathas, make small balls out of the dough, flatten then with a roller pin and fry on a hot tawa in ghee. “Creative Commons Thepla served with raita” by Kanikatwl is licensed under CC BY 4.0
Poha is a complete meal in itself and is a great source of iron and carbohydrates. Here’s how we make it for kids – Rinse about 1 cup of poha (beaten rice) in a strainer 2-3 times and keep aside for a few minutes. Over rinsing poha will lead to breakage and sogginess hence be careful during this process. In a non-stick utensil heat some oil. Add mustard seeds, peanuts and curry leaves. Fry them for a minute or two and add salt, turmeric powder and stir. Then add the poha and give everything a good mix. If you wish to add potatoes, add 1 chopped potato at the first stage itself when you pour oil in the utensil and cook till they become brown and tender. You can make poha with brown rice poha too. Follow the same process as above. “Creative Commons Cooked Poha” by ampersandyslexia is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Semolina (Rawa/ suji) is an excellent source of phosphorus, zinc and magnesium – something which kids need in the years they are growing up. Hence including an item like semolina in their meals is a must. And what better than the classic upma? Dry roast about 1 cup of suji in a heavy bottomed pan till it turns brown and keep aside. Add oil in the same pan along with mustard seeds, urad dal and chana dal. Add some chopped onions, curry leaves, carrots and french beans. Sprinkle some salt and give everything a good stir. Once the ingredients begin to cook a little add the roasted semolina and stir. Add about 1 ½ to 2 cups of water. Keep stirring it to avoid any lumps. Cook till the semolina absorbs all the water and you achieve the desired texture. “Creative Commons Suji Upma” by Ravi Talwar is licensed under CC BY 4.0
Kids and burgers have a historical love story. The smile on their faces the minute they spot a burger, is priceless. Though burgers usually figure in the “junk food” category, they can be healthier versions produced at home. For the patties – Take 2 potatoes, 1 carrot, some green peas and some spinach leaves. Boil them in the pressure cooker. Switch off the flame after 1 whistle. After the cooker cools down, strain out all the veggies and mash them with a potato masher. Add some salt, red chilli powder (depending on your child’s spice threshold), jeera powder and chaat masala. Make round shaped tikkis out of them. Coat them in besan (gram flour) and shallow fry them. Place them between whole wheat or multigrain burger buns along with a slice of tomato, cheese and lettuce leaf. If you child likes ketchup, then add that as well. Secure burger by inserting a toothpick in the centre so that it stays stable till your child opens the tiffin box. “Creative Commons Veggie-Burger” by Sujalajus is licensed under CC BY 3.0
Cookies work best for toddlers and pre – schoolers who go to school a couple of times a week or for 2 – 3 hours everyday.Take 3/4 – cup granulated sugar, ¾ – cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup salted butter, 2 large eggs, 1-teaspoon vanilla extract, 1-teaspoon table salt, 1-teaspoon baking soda, 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips. Pre heat the oven to about 200 degrees Celsius. Bring all the ingredients together and make a dough. Now take scoops from dough and make cookie shaped dollops. Place them on a baking sheet. You can flatten and size them as per your requirements. Bake for about 10 – 12 minutes and your cookies should be ready. There are very fancy and innovative baking cookie cutters available in designs of cartoon characters, animals and stars. You can make dough cut outs from these moulds too and bake them.
Colourful Mixed Fruits
Simple, light and very filling. This option is a great one when kids experience days of upset stomach and poor appetite. Also most fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium and calories. They are essential sources of many nutrients like potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C and folic acid. Just bring a handful of sliced fruits together. Combine some cut apples, bananas, grapes, oranges with any seasonal fruit. If berry – fruits are easily available in a market near you, add those too. Sprinkle some salt and mint leaves for flavour and a colourful tiffin box is ready.