Tiffin Box Tales

I have already ranted about my struggles with feeding the kiddo in one of my previous posts. Simply put, feeding him is no easy task, and it is only getting harder day by day. My anxiety only increased when he started going to the school and later day care. Even NASA would not have given so much thought to launching their satellites in space as I gave to the items to fill S’s lunchbox so that they would be liked and eaten.

Tiffin Box Tales - Easy Tiffin Recipes - Lunch Box Ideas

And it was then I discovered that it was not for nothing that they say, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Overnight I became a culinary scientist, and my kitchen became my lab (I won’t mention that the kiddo and sometimes the daddy, became the guinea pigs, but of course you have already figured that out).

For the past few months I have been trying various innovative recipes to please my son’s palate. Many have been misses, but some have been hits too. I usually look for and make recipes out of items that are available at any kirana store, nothing exotic or expensive. Also most of my recipes are cooked on the gas, since I do not have a microwave, and take a maximum of 15 min to prepare.

Today, I would like to share with you some of the recipes I have cooked up and that have been liked by the kiddo, in the hope that maybe they would come in handy for you someday. Unfortunately I do not have photographs of these items, since most mornings are hectic and to photograph them, never crossed my mind.

So, here goes –

Honey Cheese Sandwich

A brown bread sandwich made of grated cheese and honey filling. I usually toast the bread by applying a few drops of Ghee. The cheese melts nicely and bonds both the slices so that they do not come off by the time the kiddo eats breakfast at school. The honey gives a subtle sweet taste that complements the cheese and makes a combination that S simply loves.

Sooji Sheera (Kesari) cakes

This is our usual sheera / kesari, made of sooji (rava), sugar, water and milk. However since my aim is to make finger food for S, what I usually do is let it cool down and solidify nicely, then mold it into different shapes using the molds that I got from a nearby store – stars, droplets, flowr, heart and diamond. Thus, they become Sheera cakes and are eagerly gobbled down by the little one.

Oats Banana Kesari

This is one healthy food I vouch for. Oats and banana, is a wonderful combination for maximizing dietary fibers. You just have to roast the oats a bit, then cook it the same way as the regular rava sheera, with the addition of mashed bananas. When the kiddo is at home I feed it to him in its usual semi-solid form, but for school this is what I do. Again let it cool down, then make it into small patties and toast it in a little ghee on the tawa. The end product looks like Aloo Tikka and tastes like banana. I would call this a partial hit – only half the dabba was finished.

Health Mix Laddus

I make this health mix at home (kanji or satwa) which we usually boil in water and drink with a dash of milk. It has a lot of proteins considering the ingredients that go into it are – Jowar, bajra, makka, wheat, boiled rice, raagi, soya beans, kabuli channa, sabudana, green moong, broken gram (futana dal). All these are roasted at home and ground together into a fine powder at the flour mill. While at home S loves drinking it, for school I make Laddus out of this mix which he absolutely cherishes. The Laddus are made by roasting the powder for a few minutes and then mixing them in the food processor with jaggery. Ghee is used to bond the powder into the Laddus shape. S loves these so much that sometimes I have to stop him from having too much, for these can make a quite heavy snack.

Colourful Idlis

These are the normal idlis, in various colors using assorted veggies – tomato puree for red, coriander paste for green, carrot paste for orange, turmeric for yellow and so on. S loves the smaller version of the idlis and happily munches away at least 6-7 in one go.

Lunch box

While all the above said items make up his breakfast menu, his lunch is usually a couple of parathas. S loves phulkas, but won’t eat the veggies I keep along with them. So I usually make a stuffing out of the veggie of the day and prepare the parathas. So we have had aloo, mooli, cabbage, carrot, beans, beetroot, paneer, cheese, sprouts and a sundry other parathas.

And thankfully, most of these have been hits. Now I have started experimenting with giving him some ‘non-finger-food’. Usually Maggi is a huge favorite, but the other day I sent him vermicelli upma disguised as maggi (with the maggi masala added to it), and the box came home almost empty. So that was a strike!

Yamini is a software professional turned work-at-home-mom. Amidst her domestic responsibilities and a very demanding 2.5 year old son, she snatches time to write academic papers, freelance content, fiction and poetry. Her stories and poetry have been published in various online literary magazines and anthologies by Penguin Books and Cyberwit Publications. Yamini voices her thoughts now and then at http://myexpressionsandme.blogspot.in/. She can be reached at http://www.facebook.com/YaminiVijendranAuthor.

  • With just 3 days into play-school, I realise already that I need a course in toddler-cooking. This here is a great way to begin. And “vermicelli upma disguised as maggi”, why, you are a genius! THANK YOU, Yamini! 🙂

    • Yamini Vijendran

      Thanks for stopping by Sakshi! Don’t worry, toddler cooking comes naturally to mommies, like many of the other mommy-things!

  • Nischala

    Yamini – Great post. I am always on the look out for new recipes. Will try these. Thanks for sharing. Nischala

    • Yamini Vijendran

      You are welcome Nischala… there are a lot of mommies with some wonderful finger foods on the internet.

  • Reema Sahay

    Wow! Brilliant post. I think I should save it somewhere. The day is not far when I will be bogged by Tiffin woes too.

    • Yamini Vijendran

      Thanks Reema! True, and that day comes sooner than you think. I often wonder, only yesterday this guy was crawling and today he wants to carry his own school bag and eat by himself with his fork!

  • Ahh I wish I was a kid once again for all those sweets and treats!

    • Yamini Vijendran

      I am sure that kid is hiding somewhere inside you! Bring him out and feast away! 🙂