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Fun tiffin box recipes for your little ones

It’s time for kids to head back to school, and with it the routine of packing their lunchbox begins. We’ve whipped up three interesting options so your little champ stays happy, and healthy too

Rainbow Idlis
Carrot puree
>>  1 tbsp olive oil
>>  1 cup carrots, diced
>>  1/4 tsp baking powder
>> 1/2 tsp sugar
>>  A pinch of salt

Spinach puree
>>  120 gm spinach
>>  1 small onion, chopped
>>  A pinch of salt
>>  1/2 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg

Rainbow Idlis
Pic courtesy/Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal

Beetroot Puree
>>  1 cup diced beetroot
>>  A pinch of salt

Moong Puree
>>  1 cup husked, spilt moong beans (moong dal)
>>  1/2 tsp turmeric powder
>> A pinch of salt
>> 1 kg idli batter, homemade or store bought
>> Ghee or oil for greasing moulds

Garnish
>> 1/4 cup of finely diced peppers
>> 1/4 cup of cooked peas
>> 1/4 cup of finely diced carrots
>> 1/4 cup of finely diced beans
>> 1/4 cup of cooked sweet corn

Method
Carrot Puree
Put the oil in a pan on medium heat. When hot, sauté the carrot till soft. Season with sugar and salt. Process to a smooth purée in a blender. Reserve.

Spinach Puree
Steam the spinach with onion and garlic for about two minutes, till bright green. Season with nutmeg and salt. Process to a smooth purée in a blender. Reserve.

Beetroot Puree
Cook the beetroot in salted water for about 10 minutes till soft. Drain and add a pinch of salt. Process to a smooth purée in a blender. Reserve.

Moong Puree
Put the dal in the pressure cooker with one cup of water. After the cooker reaches full pressure, pressure-cook it for ten minutes on low heat. Remove from heat and set aside till the pressure subsides. Add turmeric powder and salt. Process to a smooth purée in a blender. Reserve.

To make the Idlis
Divide the idli batter into four portions. Stir a vegetable purée into each portion of batter and combine it well, so that you have an orange, green, red and yellow batter. Taste and check for seasoning. Grease idli moulds with ghee or oil, use mini idli moulds for kids; they love them. Pour the batter into moulds, arrange a few pieces of the prepared garnishes on top in attractive patterns. Steam the idlis for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Recipe extracted from A Pinch of This, A Handful of That, Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal.

Paneer & Apple-Celery Mint Salad Sandwich
>> 3 tbsp mint mayo
>> 3 tbsp diced paneer
>> 1 tbsp diced apple
>> 1/2 tbsp peeled and diced celery stalk
>> 2 tsp olive oil
>> 1 tbsp ketchup
>> 1/2 tsp chopped parsley
>> Salt and pepper

Paneer & Apple-Celery Mint Salad Sandwich

Method
y Mix all the ingredients together and season to taste with salt and pepper.
y Place the salad on a bread slice and cover with another slice of bread.
y Press and cut the edges of the sandwich.
Recipe courtesy: Cremica.

Oaty Caramel Crunch
>> 200 gm rolled oats
>> 50 gm whole wheat flour
>> 1/4 tsp baking powder
>> 3/4 tsp baking soda
>> 2 tsp olive oil
>> 100 gm honey
>> 75 gm butter
>> 200 gm chocolate diced
>> 80 gm homemade caramel sauce

Oaty Caramel Crunch

Method
>> Cream the butter.
>> Add flour, oats, baking powder and soda. Finally add the honey and mix well.
>> Divide the mixture into 2 portions.
>> Spread one half of the mixture in a 9x9 inch baking tray. Press down and smoothen. Bake for six minutes in a preheated oven at 180 degrees celsius.
>> Remove, let cool.
>> Place the sliced chocolate on the cool granola base and sprinkle on the nuts. Drizzle on the caramel.
>> Crumble on the rest of the granola on the chocolate. Press down and smoothen.
>> Bake further for 8-12 minutes, until top browns a little.
>> Remove from oven, let cool and demould.
>> Cut into 16 bars.
Recipe courtesy: Ayushi Shah, Icing On Top.

Expert speak
Our body requires macro and micro nutrients. Macro is what you see on the plate; your carbohydrates, proteins and fat, and micro nutrients are your essential vitamins and minerals. If you take a plate and divide it into four halves, an ideal meal for adults would contain one section of carbs, and proteins each, with the other two sections for leafy vegetables. For kids, the carbohydrate intake should be higher as they have to run around and they get 50 to 60% of their energy from it. You can get that intake from two to three chapatis, two whole wheat bread sandwiches or two small bowls of brown rice. Kids also need sugar but one should not excessively consume refined sugar as it is fattening and unhealthy. Obese kids lead to obese adults. Try serving fibre-rich oats with dark chocolate. Tiffin should include 25 to 27 gm of fibre that can come from fruits or leafy vegetables. For protein, eat eggs, pulses, sprouts or fish and sea food.
— Dr Amrapali Patil, weight management expert

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