Written by Ruchira Ramanujam and published on 03 July 2021.
Do you find school lunches brought back unopened? Don't worry, here's a collection of creative ideas for colorful, delicious, and also healthy Bento box lunches your child will totally love!
Packing lunch boxes can be quite an ordeal for some parents. It is especially disheartening when your child brings the dabba back unopened or unfinished — leaving you even more exasperated.
After all, you put so much of thought into your child's lunch box — the meal needs to be tasty, nutritious, a good-sized portion and appealing enough so that it motivates your child to finish his food. Sometimes, you run out of ideas or quickly pack some junk food, or the meal lacks variety... And what are you left with? A guilty conscience for the rest of the day.
So, what can parents do?
Try the Bento box idea! It is the Japanese way of creatively packing and serving colorful, attractive and wholesome meals in lunchboxes for your child. Bento boxes are conveniently thought-out boxes, designed to hold small portions of a variety of foods, thus encouraging the child to eat a balanced meal that's loaded with nutrition and flavor. Sounds interesting, doesn't it?
Here are some Indian’ Bento box ideas to pack for your child!
|Ingredients ( serves 4)|
Cut watermelon into 1" cubes. Remove the seeds using a toothpick. Skewer the watermelon on flat, small sticks or bamboo skewers. Sprinkle with thinly sliced mint leaves and pack them right away.
|For primary schoolers|
What to pack:
Millet and rajma patties (complex carbs)
Apple yogurt (fiber and protein)
|Ingredients (makes 12)|
1.Heat oil in a small frying pan. Add the onion and chili and cook until soft. Set aside to cool.
2.In a large mixing bowl, place all the remaining ingredients (except the oil for shallow frying). Add the fried onions and mix everything well.
3.Shape the mixture into 2.5 diameter patties. Place on a greased plate, cover and refrigerate until ready to fry.
4.Shallow-fry the patties using a little oil until crispy and well-browned. Cool for a few minutes before packing.
Note: To cook the millet: Wash and soak the grains for 15-20 minutes. Bring 1¼ cup water to boil and add the millet. Cover and cook on low heat until tender. Cool before mixing with the other ingredients.
Peel and dice an apple. Cook the apple with a splash of water, until tender. Mash slightly and add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and a large pinch of cinnamon powder. Cool and stir the apple into a bowl of thick, hung curd. Add raisins and chopped walnuts, if desired.
What to pack:
|Ingredients (makes 4 rolls)|
To make the green chutney: Grind together a cup each of coriander and mint leaves, a green chili and 4-5 almonds. Add salt, a pinch of sugar, and lemon juice to taste.
Soak two Kashmiri or Byadgi chilies and one spicy whole red chili in hot water for a few minutes. Grind together a cup of cooked chana, soaked chilies, 2-3 garlic cloves, a tablespoon of tahini (sesame seeds paste), juice of one lemon and salt to taste. Add some water, as needed to achieve a smooth and thick consistency. Transfer to a container and use as a dip or spread.
What to pack:
|Ingredients ( serves 2-3)|
Veg medley salad
Chop up any salad vegetables like cucumber, red capsicum, baby corn and cherry tomatoes. Stir in grated carrot. Dress the salad with honey, lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Stir in a tablespoon of coarsely crushed sunflower seeds or peanuts for texture. Your medley salad is ready!
Hope your kids relish these lunch box ideas!