Every mother has experienced that children like to have variety in their school tiffin box. If you give them the same thing every day, they get bored and bring back the tiffin or give it to some friend. Some children hide it in some corner of the house.
A friend of mine told me that her six year old daughter used to bring back the tiffin and hide it behind the boxes in the store room. The secret was revealed when the house was white washed. As a young mom I too had a bad experience with my son when he was in class ll. I packed ladoos for the tiffin. He protested that he did not like ladoos. I was an inexperienced mom. I told him that if he came home without finishing the tiffin, I would punish him.
He used to go to school in a taxi shared by five other children. After school he did not come to the taxi. The taxi driver left him and brought back the other children. I was waiting for the taxi at the usual time. The taxi came back but the sonny boy was not there. I rebuked the driver why he left a small child without waiting for him. He was apologetic, and told me that he would go back and bring him.
Suddenly I saw the child at a distance, walking towards home with a heavy school bag. When the driver brought him the boy was crying. I asked him why he did not come outside the school, the child said, “I was finishing the ladoo.” The School was about eight kilometers from the house. The poor little boy started walking towards the house. After walking some distance, he was tired. He sat on his school bag, crying desperately. By chance a noble and kind person who saw the child, gave him a lift, and dropped him near the house. Poor boy! How much he suffered due to his inexperienced and obstinate mother!
We must give the children food which is delectable. There should be a variety and the food must be wholesome and tasty. Some mothers daily pack sandwiches, paranthas or biscuits in the tiffin box. I am writing below some recipes which are ideal for the children. If any of them is difficult to make in the morning, due to constraint of time, they can even be prepared the previous evening.
1. Beetroot rice :
i.Cooked rice 1 cup
ii.Beetroot grated ½ cup.
iii Onion 1 finely chopped
iv.Sambar powder 1 teaspoon
viii. Cooking oil 2 spoons
In a wok add the oil. When hot, add chopped onion and stir till it is pink in color, add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When they start spluttering, add grated beetroot, sambar powder and salt, and cover the dish for two minutes. When the beetroot is soft, mix it with rice.
This colored rice looks attractive and is good to taste. Put it in the lunch box with a spoon and tissue paper.
2.Cornflakes namkeen :
i Cornflakes 1 cup
ii Peanuts ¼ cup
iii Cashew nuts 6 or 7
iv. Raisins 12
v. Oil for deep frying
Heat oil in a wok. Add the peanuts till they are golden brown. Remove from the fire. Now add cashew nuts and fry them. Then fry the corn flakes for a minute. Mix the fried cornflakes, fried peanuts, cashew nut and raisins, Add salt. Allow it to cool, so that it remains crisp.
This mixture, when cooled can be kept in an air tight bottle. Not only the children, even the elders will relish it. This snack is very addictive and tasty.
3. Sandwich :
This is a very common item for the tiffin box. To make it interesting, you can cut the bread in different shapes. The filling can also be altered to attract the child. I am giving below variations for the fillings.
a. The traditional tomato. With this you can add grated cucumber, grated cabbage and grated capsicum(green, yellow or red) and carrots.
d. Corn and boiled spinach
e. Salami (Normally I prefer to give only vegetarian tiffin)
f. Green chutney with mushrooms.
g. Crumbled paneer.
You can device your own fillings.
a. The sandwich can be cut in the traditional triangular shape.
b.Cut in a round shape.
c.You can try this- Cut the sides of the slice. With a rolling pin(belan) moisten the slice and roll it thin. Keep the filling in the center and roll the slice in a round shape.
d. You can get ‘Pita bread’ and fill it with different fillings; There are many other types of breads available in the market.
4. Rolls : You can make parantha rolls with different fillings such as vegetables, noodles cooked with veggies, paneer, boiled eggs, omelets etc.
5. Dahi ke Kabab :
i. Hung curd 1 cup
ii. Paneer 200 grams
iii. Maida 6 teaspoons or 2 bread slices with sides cut.
v. Pepper powder
Mash the paneer very well, add hung curd, salt and maida or bread(crumbs) , and pepper powder. Mix all the ingrediants very well and shape them like cutlets. Deep fry or shallow fry according to your convenience.
6. Upma: It can be made from left over idlis and oats like traditional suji upma. Many vegetables can be added to the Upma.
I think I have given many ideas for tiffin boxes for school going toddlers. You can device your own recipes so that children look forward happily to the food packed in their tiffin box.
Usha Menon, a 77-years-old retired educationist, who has four sweet, adorable grandchildren. Last year she wrote a book,”Reverse Gear.” This book is a sort of analogy between her professional and personal life, depicting the travails, ups and downs faced by an average working woman. As a retired person, She is leading a contented life with a loving husband, devoted son, daughter-in-law and two grand daughters. Her doting daughter, son-in-law, and two grand sons, who are very affectionate, look after her and her husband. She is grateful to God that He has, in His grace, given her an opportunity to live a life of peaceful contentment.