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How to  Pack a  School Lunch Box

How to Pack a School Lunch Box

Packing a school lunch is a daunting task for most parents and used to be for me too. Trying to balance the nutritional needs of children with the taste and fun element on a daily basis, and preparing food that they will actually eat can besuper challenging.

Packing a healthy school lunch box is important for several reasons.

  1. First, it provides children with the necessary nutrients and energy to stay focused and engaged in the classroom. A well-balanced lunch should include a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats.
  2. Second, it can help prevent childhood obesity and other health problems associated with a poor diet.
  3. Third, it sets a positive example for children, teaching them the importance of making healthy food choices.
  4. Finally, it can also help children develop good eating habits that will benefit them in the long term.

Here is how I started thinking about what should go into my child’s snack or lunch box. It’s simple when you keep these points at the top of your mind. All the ideas in this book are regular, everyday foods we eat at home. They are nothing fancy but just made tasty and appealing using a bento-style packing and, yes, they are healthy too.

Think: Whole Grains for Energy
Carbohydrates are so important for children as they give them the
energy needed to put the mind and body to good use in school. It could be in the form of sandwiches, rolls, parathas or rice. Make sure the grains used are whole grains like wheat, rice, oat and millets that give the right nutrition and energy.

Think: Proteins
Proteins are important for brain- and muscle-building for a growing child. Even if it goes in small portions, think cheese cubes, nut butters such as peanut butter and almond butter, eggs in various forms,paneer and yogurt. The protein portion of the meal will keep your child full and help to maintain concentration levels through the afternoon lessons.

Think: Vegetables and Fruit for Vitamins and Fibre
Always add a piece of fresh or dried fruit to your child’s lunch box. Children will eat fruit if they are hungry and ‘junk’ options are unavailable. They bring in the energy and nutrition required for growing children.
And vegetables in any form, whether added as a sabzi or mixed into dosa, paratha or pulao, will still make a small difference in adding the right nutrition.

Think: Water to Drink
Always pack a litre of water. Avoid packaged juices for the lunch
box as they come with unhealthy sugars and preservatives. Freeze water bottles the night before for hot summer days. And if packing fresh juices or milkshakes, add a few cubes of ice into the bottle so they stay fresh.

Think: Small Snack
A small snack box apart from the breakfast and lunch box is also required for a child who goes to school for the full day. Think of healthy crackers, wholegrain muffins, low-fat cookies, granola bars and date bars. You can prepare these in bulk and keep them ready for busy school days.

Think: Portion Size and Make It Fun
Consider the portion size appropriate for your child’s needs and
age, and pack accordingly. Try to make it fun and interactive by cutting fruits and veggies in different shapes; packing a variety of different foods in small bento boxes; or separating them into bite-sized portions.

Archana Doshi

Archana Doshi is an entrepreneur, food activist and author of the book 30 Meal Plans from Archana’s Kitchen. In 2007, she founded Archana’s Kitchen which soon grew into India’s leading food and recipe platform. Over two decades later, Archana’s Kitchen has over 10 million plus users across multiple platforms, including her website, You Tube channel, social media pages and mobile app. She was featured as a Google Entrepreneur on the Web for her outstanding work on digital space for food and was the inspiration for the first Google Chrome Ad on national television in India. She is passionate about teaching people the basics of home cooking and the nutritional aspect of simple Indian meals.