Stay-At-Home Mom – Healthy Summer Lunch Ideas For Kids

Are you offering nutritious meal choices to your children during lunchtime that help them stay active? Here are some healthy lunch ideas for you to try at home this summer.

By Sahana Charan

Stay-At-Home Mom – Healthy Summer Lunch Ideas For Kids

Making healthy eating a priority for your children does not mean that you have to choose foods that are boring and unpalatable. On the contrary, a balanced diet means making choices from a variety of foods with different flavours, colours and textures to make it appealing for your child.

Lunch is an important meal and must include—colourful vegetables, fruits, whole grains, good fats and protein in any form. This will ensure that your kids are getting all the different nutrients to keep them healthy and active during the hot summer.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while planning summer lunch menus for your children:

  • Choose seasonal fruits and veggies that are easily available over exotic ones.
  • Include foods that will prevent dehydration in summer.
  • Choose foods that provide the body with important vitamins and minerals.
  • Make sure your child’s lunch is freshly prepared and not from a can or packet.
  • Choose foods with a variety of flavours and colours.                        

Stay-at-home lunch ideas for kids

Here are some interesting summer lunch ideas for stay-at-home moms to try:

1. Corn and spinach wrap with tender coconut cooler

Stay-At-Home Mom – Healthy Summer Lunch Ideas For Kids

The veggies in this wrap are high in fibre and provide loads of vitamins and minerals. The tender coconut shake has cooling properties and vital nutrients.

Ingredients

For the wrap

  • two chapattis
  • ½ cup sweet corn kernels
  • ½ cup spinach (blanched and cut into strips)
  • 2–3 tbsp thick curd
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • 1 tsp cumin (jeera) powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • one small onion finely chopped
  • one tomato finely chopped
  • Salt to taste

For the tender coconut cooler

  • Juice of 1 tender coconut
  • 1 tsp jaggery powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • A slice of lemon (optional)
  • A pinch of salt 

How to prepare

For the wrap
  1. Cook the corn kernels in a little water and keep aside.
  2. In a large bowl, take the corn, blanched spinach, tomato, onion, cumin powder, chaat masala, chilli powder and salt.
  3. Mix all the ingredients properly so that the vegetables are nicely coated with the spices.
  4. To assemble, put the chapattis on a plate and fill each with the vegetable mixture. Top this with a few spoons of thick curd and neatly wrap the chapattis

For the cooler

  1. Blend all the ingredients in a blender/shaker.
  2. Pour into a glass and top with a slice of lemon.

2. Mixed vegetable khichdi with ice apple (nungu) shake

Stay-At-Home Mom – Healthy Summer Lunch Ideas For Kids

This combination of khichdiand a cooling drink provides proteins, vitamins and minerals, while keeping your little one hydrated.

Ingredients

For the khichdi

  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, beans, peas)
  • 1 cup rice
  • ¾ cup moong dal
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • Salt to taste 

For the nungu shake

  • three ice apples (nungu)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • A few mint leaves
  • Water as needed

How to prepare

For the khichdi

  1. Cut the vegetables to bite-sized pieces. Wash the rice and dal, and place them with the vegetables in a pressure cooker with about four cups of water.
  2. Add salt and turmeric, and pressure cook all the ingredients for about three whistles. Once the pressure is released fully, open the cooker. Ensure the khichdi is not dry. It must be slightly mushy and moist.
  3. In a small pan, heat the ghee. Add the cumin, garlic and red chilli powder. Take it off the fire as soon as the cumin begins to crackle. Pour over the khichdi and mix well.

For the ice apple shake

  1. Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend well.
  2. Pour into a tall glass and serve.

3. Radish and egg stir fry

Stay-At-Home Mom – Healthy Summer Lunch Ideas For Kids

Radishes hydrate the body and are packed with nutrients like potassium, magnesium, vitamin K and B vitamins.

Ingredients

  • one radish
  • one small onion
  • one egg
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • Salt to taste

How to prepare

  1. Finely chop the onion and radish. Keep aside.
  2. Break the egg into a small bowl and whisk it well.
  3. In a medium-sized kadai or wok, heat the oil and add cumin seeds.
  4. As the cumin seeds starts to splutter, add the onion and fry until it turns golden brown.
  5. Add the radish and sauté for about 4–5 minutes. Add water to cook the veggies. Ensure the dish is dry.
  6. Mix in the salt, pepper and turmeric.
  7. Pour in the egg and stir well to mix it with the radish.
  8. Serve hot with rotis or over whole-wheat toast.     

4. Chickpea burgers

Stay-At-Home Mom – Healthy Summer Lunch Ideas For Kids

Not all burgers have to be categorised as unhealthy junk food, right? Here is a tasty and super-healthy version that your child will love.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chickpeas (kabuli chana)
  • one boiled potato
  • 1 cup mixed veggies (carrot, beetroot, cauliflower)
  • 2–3 tbsp rice flour
  • 1 slice bread
  • 1 tsp fennel powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2–3 tbsp tomato sauce
  • two burger buns (preferably wholewheat)
  • Few slices onion
  • Few slices tomato
  • 2 tbsp grated cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil  

How to prepare

  1. Soak the chickpeas for 4–6 hours and cook in a pressure cooker for two whistles.
  2. Cook the veggies in some water. Drain all the water from the chickpeas and the veggies. Ensure they are not too mushy.
  3. In a large bowl, take the chickpeas, mixed vegetables and boiled potato. Using a masher or fork, roughly mash the chickpeas and the vegetables.
  4. Add salt, fennel, cinnamon, pepper and turmeric powder to the mixture and combine well. Crumble the bread and add to the mixture, along with rice flour.
  5. Mix all the ingredients in such a way that the mixture can hold its shape.
  6. Shape the mixture into patties. Heat a tawa and brush it with some oil. On low heat, shallow fry the patties on both sides till properly browned, about two minutes per side.
  7. Cut the burger buns from the middle and lightly toast them on the tawa.
  8. To assemble, take the lower half of the bun and place a patty over it. Then, place a slice of onion and tomato each on top of the patty. Spoon a little tomato sauce over this and top it with some cheese. Now place the top part of the burger.
  9. Your sumptuous burgers are ready. For a healthy option, serve them with a side of cucumber batons. 

5. Soya and mushroom pulao

Stay-At-Home Mom – Healthy Summer Lunch Ideas For Kids

This wholesome meal has the goodness of carbohydrates, healthy fats, protein and other nutrients.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup soya chunks
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms
  • 2 cups basmathi/jeera rice
  • ½ cup diced capsicum (green and red)
  • one onion, finely sliced
  • one tomato, chopped
  • 2 tbsp ghee/oil
  • Handful of mint leaves
  • Handful of coriander leaves
  • 2–3 green chillies
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • two cloves of garlic
  • one cinnamon stick
  • two cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to prepare

  1. Soak the rice in water for 10–15 minutes. Take hot water with some salt in a bowl and soak the soya chunks in it till soft.
  2. In a blender, grind the ginger, garlic, green chillies, mint and coriander leaves to a fine paste.
  3. Heat the ghee on medium flame in a large pan and add cinnamon stick, cloves and cumin seeds. When they start spluttering, add the onion. Fry until golden brown.
  4. Add the green paste, turmeric powder, garam masala, salt and pepper. Fry until the raw smell dissipates. Add the capsicum and mushrooms, and sauté for a few minutes. Add the tomato pieces and continue to sauté for two minutes.
  5. Drain the soya chunks and the rice; combine these with the rest of the ingredients in the pan. Add three cups of water, cover the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes or till the rice is cooked.
  6. You can garnish the pulao with mint leaves or fried cashew nuts.

6. Oats and poha dosa with beetroot chutney

Stay-At-Home Mom – Healthy Summer Lunch Ideas For Kids

This is an instant recipe, which you can prepare on a busy day. Even though it is ready in a jiffy, this lunchtime treat is a wholesome meal and is packed with vital nutrients.

Ingredients

For the dosa

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup poha
  • ½ cup chickpea flour (besan)
  • 2 cups sour curd
  • one small onion finely chopped
  • Few curry leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3 tbsp grated coconut
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp ghee/oil and more for frying the dosas 

For the beetroot chutney

  • 1 small beetroot (grated)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds (til)
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 4-5 dry red chillies
  • one marble-sized ball tamarind
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste

How to prepare

For the dosa

  1. Dry roast the rolled oats in a pan until it starts changing colour. Cool and blend to a fine powder. Similarly, dry roast the poha and blend in a mixer.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the powdered oats, poha, chickpea flour and salt.
  3. To this add the curd and combine well to make a smooth batter. Add a little water to adjust the thickness of the batter. It should have the consistency of dosa batter.
  4. Heat the ghee in a small frying pan and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  5. Take off the heat when the seeds crackle and pour into the batter. Add the grated coconut and cut onion.
  6. Heat a griddle/tawa and brush with a little ghee. Pour in some of the batter and spread it evenly. Cook for about a minute on both sides.
  7. Serve hot with chutney. 

For the beetroot chutney

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add the beetroot. Sauté well till the raw smell disappears.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients except the salt and fry for a couple of minutes.
  3. Once all the ingredients have cooled, blend in a food processor along with the salt and a little water to form a smooth paste. The flavoursome chutney is ready.

7. Zucchini-tomato sandwich with watermelon and mint salad

Stay-At-Home Mom – Healthy Summer Lunch Ideas For Kids

Consuming fruits and vegetables with high water content keeps the body hydrated in the hot summer months. Zucchini is one such vegetable, loaded with potassium, magnesium and vitamin A. Watermelon and mint also make a great summer combination.

Ingredients

For the sandwich

  • four slices of whole-wheat bread (toasted)
  • one zucchini
  • two tomatoes
  • 2–3 tbsp butter
  • two cheese slices
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

For the salad

  • 1 cup watermelon, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cucumber, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • A few bits of mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • A handful of mint leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste   

How to prepare

For the sandwich

  1. Peel the outer skin of the zucchini and remove its top. Cut the zucchini and tomatoes into thick, round slices and coat them with a little salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a grill pan or griddle and brush it with a little butter. Once hot, place the slices of zucchini and tomato on the pan and grill them until slightly charred on both sides
  3. Take the slices off the heat and keep aside.
  4. Butter the toasted bread on one side and place the zucchini and tomato slices over it. Place a slice of cheese on top. Cover with another bread slice on top. Your simple but delicious sandwich is ready.

For the salad

  1. In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, onion and cucumber. Roughly tear up the mint leaves and sprinkle over the fruit and veggies. Combine well.
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to form the dressing. Pour the dressing over the ingredients in the bowl and toss to combine.

8. Paneer-methi paratha

Stay-At-Home Mom – Healthy Summer Lunch Ideas For Kids

Most kids love paneer and combining it with nutrition-packed fenugreek leaves in a paratha makes for a tasty treat.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups wholewheat flour
  • 100g paneer (crumbled)
  • 1 cup methi (fenugreek) leaves
  • 1 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • 1 tsp dhania (coriander) powder
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin) powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ajwain (carom) seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp ghee and more for frying the parathas
  • Water as needed

How to prepare

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and water with a little salt and knead to make soft dough. Make equal-sized balls out of the dough. Keep aside.
  2. Heat a skillet and pour one tablespoon of ghee into it. Add the ajwain seeds and methi leaves and sauté for about two minutes.
  3. Add all the spice powders and mix well. Put in the chickpea flour and crumbled paneer, and sauté for two more minutes. Ensure there are no lumps in the chickpea flour, and that it is combined well with the mixture.
  4. Make small balls out of the paneer mixture.
  5. Take one of the wheat dough balls and flatten it a bit with your fingers. Place the paneer stuffing inside and bring the dough around it to cover. Pinch it well from all sides so that the stuffing doesn’t come out. Press to make it circular in shape.
  6. Sprinkle some flour on a rolling board and place the circular dough over it. Roll into a paratha of medium thickness using a rolling pin.
  7. Heat a griddle and place some ghee over it. Fry the parathas on both the sides, ensuring it is cooked well. In the same way, prepare the rest of the parathas.
  8. Serve with curd or tomato sauce. 

These wholesome meals will keep your child active and well-nourished when they are at home during the hot summer months.

So, what are you cooking for lunch today?

About the author:

Written by Sahana Charan on 3 June 2020

Sahana Charan is an independent writer and journalist with an interest in writing about health and wellness, environment, urban living and child rights.

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