Once kids take the big leap and enter their alma mater, one of the biggest woes or rather concerns of moms are the ‘Tiffins’. Whether tiffin has been finished or not and how much exactly the kid has consumed.
Our happiness meter is something like this:
Full tiffin: Fabulous
Half tiffin or few bites: Ummm, ok
Tiffin comes back as it is: Red alert, immediate call to dad saying yaar… phir tiffin nahi khaaya…
(Same meter applies to kids freshening up in the morning… just replace tiffin with the pot )
Though I fall in the same category of anxiety as other moms do, there are few things I have learnt with time:-
One: It is not always the case that kids like a particular dish, rather a whole lot depends on their mood. They can eat the same thing whole heartedly one day and discard it another day. So you never know if you are the lucky one today.
Two: Yes, tiffin is important. It should be finished and this should become a habit. But it’s ok. Don’t be crazy over it. You can always make up the missing part with a healthy heavy breakfast and quick lunch/fruits whenever they are back. In fact, I’ve noticed that if my son hadn’t had tiffin completely, then he eats quite well, that too with interest when back from school.
Three: Keep on experimenting. Not in mornings, when you are already short of time and unsure about the outcome. Try any new recipe once as an evening snack and if the response is good, then bingo! There you go.
Four: Breads are life saver. (So are diapers)… When nothing comes to your mind, and clock is ticking faster than usual, then best thing is Brown bread. Dash it with veggies, or simple jam or butter, or toast it well and add cheese slice… this list is endless. Personally, I prefer raw bread with jam or butter (rather than toasted breads which at times become hard and soggy.)
Five: Cultivate in your child the habit of eating on his own. Though kids mess up with the food and take double the time to finish food on their own, but eventually, this will help a lot in long run. Get a nice partitioned plate for them to start with and teach them on how to make a bite or how to hold the spoon well for rice, etc. Or if this sounds too early, then start with finger foods or rolls cut into tinier ones, easy to hold.
Six: Don’t go for a complex tiffin box. It should be easy to open and seal back. Teachers are there to help but they may not always notice and kids also feel shy to ask for help. For starters, focus on ease rather than quality of box. Same rule goes for water bottle. Easy to open and seal back. I did this mistake of sending him branded bottle which has tight cap to close. Result was less water intake and teeth marks everywhere on cap which were telling the tale.
This list is simply endless. Everybody has their own experiences and tips to share. I’m still learning. Nutrition is always our topmost criteria. The only important thing to remember is, don’t stress yourself or your child for a mere tiffin. You still have rest of the day in your hand to care and share. Be cool.
Your thoughts and suggestions are most welcome.
Swati Jain is a mother of a 3-year-old and an Oracle consultant (computer engineer) for 7.5 years. She is a blogger by interest, happy by choice, observant and curious by nature. She loves simplicity and truth. Follow her blog at: http://khushiniwas.blogspot.