What’s In The Kiddie Lunch-Box?

One of my oldest and dearest childhood friend is a primary school teacher. During a recent conversation, she jokingly said that one of the perks of being a teacher is that she has access to the lunch-boxes of all the kids in her class… EVERY SINGLE DAY!


Why is it a perk?” I quizzed.

She replied ”It gives me ideas on what to cook at home 🙂, and sometimes I  even get to taste the kid’s food – many different flavors, different cuisines and different levels of culinary expertise. Ha Ha!

What about the poor hungry children?” I asked. “Does that mean they stay hungry, and you gobble up their food?“ I asked, making her feel guilty and look like a monster! 😉 [On a separate note, I also recalled recently my own daughter came home from school and told me that the teacher ate all her “Baby Idlis” and that she was hungry right through. My first reaction was “How could her teacher do it, and starve my little baby?” Sigh! – What all mothers have to deal with? First you cook and pack the lunch-box every single day, and then the teachers gobble it up! Huh? – The many challenges of modern day parenting I tell you! Anyways, that’s the topic for another post!]

No, I just taste it when the students offer; or if they say they can’t eat it because its spicy, or something” she said in defense. (Though I think that’s a lame excuse!)

And as we continued speaking she mentioned that there are some students who bring the exact same food every single day of the year. And much to her surprise, they ate it too. “What choice does anyone really have, especially if you are hungry?” She reasoned. At first, she was shocked at how any parent could have the heart to send the same food EVERY SINGLE DAY! Some change, Some variety – At least on some days? I mean don’t you even get bored cooking the same thing EVERY SINGLE DAY?

During a Parent Teacher Interaction, she asked parents to make modifications to their children’s lunch-boxes, and was surprised / shocked at what some of them had to say. Some flatly refused, and some said they’ll try… But the parents did what they felt was right; which in most cases was “status-quo”.

Anyways, all this discussion got me thinking about children and lunch-boxes. And What’s in your Kiddies Lunch-Box?” actually does say a lot! So what all goes into that lunch-box, apart from the food of-course?

1)      Parent’s priorities, specifically where in the priority list it is to get your children to eat right. This is an investment the parents make in the child’s health today for a better tomorrow

2)      The time parents are willing to invest in their child’s health and food [NOTE: Time and priorities are two different things. It may be high on your priority list, but if you have limited time – the outcome will be different, both in the lunch-box and in life]

3)      The spending propensity, and how much are parents willing to spend – in terms of the quality of food, whether they send packaged / off-the-shelf food or invest in making home-cooked meals (either themselves or with the help of a hired staff)

4)      The parents lifestyle [for e.g.: Nuclear families / Joint families; Working Mothers / Stay-At-Home Mothers, etc.] which influences again what goes into that lunch-box

5)      The parents’ knowledge and awareness on food types / groups; and nutritional requirements of kids of a specific age

6)      The parents own food habits. Chances are you’ll cook and feed your children what you eat, right?

What more can I say? One small lunch-box, and so much of thinking and writing. It’s all making me hungry. And while I help myself with something to eat, you leave a comment. I’ll be sure to respond 🙂

And if you’re one of those parents (who like me) runs out of ideas on what to pack in your Kiddie Lunch-Box, sharing below some links which I have found helpful




Hope you find these links useful too..

If you’ve found any links which can help parents / mummies in packing their kiddie lunch-box, do share them below in the comments.

Nischala Murthy Kaushik is mother and philosopher rolled into one (the philosophical streak emerged after she became a mother – essential for balance, she believes). She is an Engineer and Management Graduate (IIMB Alumni) by Education, IT/Innovation/Marketing Professional by Employment, Google/Blog/Twitter/Social Media Lover by Era, Writer by Passion, Dreamer by Compulsion,  Student of Life by Choice, Eternal Optimist by Necessity and Chief Happiness Officer of LIFE by Realization. She blogs @ Nischala’s Space, Thoughts and Expressions AND VERVE : The Quintessence of my Life . In addition, she is also as a guest blogger in several sites of global repute; and her blogs have been featured in several Best-Of lists and on the Directory of Top Indian blogs. She tweets @nimu9 and is also listed among the 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter.

  • Nischala

    Glad it was useful Bhawna

  • Sunita Rajwade

    Ooh ! I used to love packing my kiddies’ dabbas and they used to have the best dabbas in school too! Even my mom used to pack me such lovely lunch that I’d take two – one for my friends and one for me. But lunch boxes do reveal a lot about a child and his family………….

    • Nischala

      Wow Sunita! You should write about these recipes.. Will be read widely by a lot of mummies :)…

  • ParentEdge

    Hi Nischala – here are some more ideas that you may find useful: http://parentedge.in/tips-tricks-and-to-do-lists/. Healthy food and relatively easy to throw together!
    Kritika Srinivasan

    • Nischala

      Kritika – Many thanks for sharing, These references are the saviors on many days.. Its not the cooking which is tough, but deciding what to cook

  • Jairam Mohan

    Well, at this point in time, given that we pack only a snack for my little 2 yr old girl when she goes to play school, not too much thought goes into it. We just pack the breakfast of the day which is usually idli or dosa and she seems to be pretty Ok eating it up.

    Having said that, this was a nice post. Appreciate the fact that you highlighted the importance of a kid’s lunch box. Will surely keep this in mind when my daughter starts going to regular school sometime soon.

    • Nischala

      Hi Jairam – Thanks for stopping by. It gets complicated with age as kids start comparing .. and also they tend to be slow / fussy / picky eaters. With all the focus on “balanced and healthy diet”, it needs to be planned to develop good eating habits. A lot of schools actually give a time-table for what to send! That’s good and bad. But yes, I guess as long as your child eats everything and is growing well – That’s what counts!