After decades of eating without consequences, and giving in to a sedentary lifestyle, thanks to our aches, and niggles, and expanding waistlines, we are finally starting to become aware of what should go in our plate, where we should source our food from, and where we err, nutrition wise. Shouldn’t we extend this to our kids’ plates, as well?

Given their exposure to a dozen food delivery apps, aisles of cookies and ice-creams in the supermarkets, the excessive advertising, how do we ensure that our kids eat right, eat enough and love what they eat?

While there are dime a dozen options available online, are they healthy and wholesome? An ideal kid’s lunch plate should compose of portions of carbohydrates, protein and fat, while being interesting and appealing taste and texture wise. Here we give you five awesome lunch ideas with a healthy twist, that will get you and the kids excited about food!

Paneer – Moong Dal Chilla (pictured above)

Cook time: 40 minutes (Use pre-soaked Moong Dal). Recipe.

Moong dal – rice pancakes (Chilla/ Adai)  are a power-packed breakfast option, that offer 5 – 6 g protein/ per serving, compared to 2- 2.8 g protein in a regular dosa. Add pan sauteed paneer, caramelized onions and tomatoes as a topping to make a protein rich, easy to whip up lunch option.

Pack this with a side of watermelon – feta fruit salad.

Lentil – Beet Toasties

Photo: Lentil + Beet Toasties; PC: www.happinessishomemade.net

Cook time: 1 hour. Recipe.

Sandwiches don’t have to be a basic cucumber-tomato version anymore. How about a whole wheat burger with a high protein patty in-between? Steam lentils (sprouts), sliced beetroot, green peas and mash them to form a patty. Toast it on a skillet until brown, combine with lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, and use whole wheat buns for the burger.

Since burgers go great with a smoothie, make a Greens/ Frozen pineapples/milk smoothie with a dash of vanilla essence to complete the meal.

Desi Paneer burritos

Photo: Desi Paneer Burritos; PC: goodhousekeeping.co.uk

Cook time – 15 minutes. Recipe.

Bored of your standard kati rolls? How about some paneer burritos? All you need is some paneer tikka (Leftovers from the previous night? Use it!), cooked rice, tikka masala, and a salsa sauce (tomatoes + pepper + garlic). Put these together, roll it up using wheat/ ragi tortillas and throw in some sliced avocadoes for taste!

Given that this is a reasonably satiating meal, your fruit accompaniment can be a simple, but classic mixed fruit in thick yoghurt (Use frozen  Pomegranate/Pineapple/Grapes).

Veggie – Egg bake

Photo: Veggie Egg Bake
PC: foodandwine.com

Cooking time: 30 minutes. Recipe.

Eggs are awesome! They have protein, fat and a ton of nutrients, and come with a plethora of benefits. Downside? They don’t really taste great, and it can get monotonous. Here’s what you can do instead. Make a one-pot-bake with eggs and veggies (carrots/bean/peas and tomato), add some paprika, garlic powder and parmesan cheese for the flavor – throw this in an oven! The result is an appetising, nutritious, yet fairly convenient lunch!

Pack this with some crisp apple slices and peanut butter for dessert!

Chicken, chickpea and cauliflower curry

Cooking time: 30 minutes. Recipe.

Nothing spells comfort food like a good old fried rice. Kids love it, it’s easy to eat, and the best part? It can be tailored to be extra nutritious!  How? We add protein, up the veggies and use healthy fats to cook them (think butter vs. refined oil). Here’s an option – egg-fried rice with a chicken – chickpea – cauliflower gravy! Eggs, chickpeas and chicken check the boxes for protein sources, and make for a sated, scrumptious meal.

Accompany this with a pineapple-guava-banana fruit smoothie!

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