What should I keep in my little one’s tiffin tomorrow? A question which occupies the mind of majority of the mothers as besides confirming to the likes and dislikes of the child, they also have to ensure the nutritional adequacy of the meal. Considering the long hours which a child spends in the school makes it imperative for mothers to plan a wholesome, healthy and nutritionally adequate tiffin box.
Let us give you an overview on the reasons to keep a healthy tiffin box for your child:
- Children are more attentive and tend to perform better in school when their stomach is full and are not hungry. Empty stomach can lead to lethargy and sleepiness.
- A child who takes a wholesome nutritionally adequate meal has been shown to fall sick less often and has improved school attendance.
- They are very much influenced by their peer group and eat better in the company of their friends and classmates.
- Healthy and adequate meal helps to meet nutritional needs of the child.
- Since children eat better in the company of their peers, tiffin box is a good way to introduce variety in their meals.
- A child spends almost 4- 5 hours in the school and thus need energy and stamina to stay active throughout the day. A wholesome meal would provide adequate energy besides confirming to the intake of vital macro and micro nutrients.
- Preparing your child’s tiffin box helps you control the portion size and let you make choices as per his/ her demands. This would help prevent either of the condition of over nutrition and under nutrition.
- An adequate lunch prevents the child to binge on fast food or packaged and processed food available in school canteen.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables can be introduced and incorporated in the diet of children.
- A nutritionally adequate and diverse variety in the meal helps in developing positive attitude towards food since childhood.
It is an utmost responsibility of parents to provide their child with healthy, tasty, enriching and nutritionally adequate meal. Some points which parents should keep in mind while preparing their child’s tiffin box are as follows:
- Do not keep same food items each day as it would lead to monotonous eating. Keeping variety in the tiffin will expose the child to different food products and will not limit his/ her choices to few favourite foods.
- Keep changing tiffin boxes and sippers of your child as it helps maintain their interest in the food.
- Children like to eat food of different colours and shapes. Mothers can make roti/ parantha of different shapes such as moon, half moon, star, triangle etc. Colours can be dedicated to each day of the week where children wear the dress of a particular colour and carry food of the same colour.
- Inculcate habit among children to eat fruits since childhood. It can be done by keeping two tiffin boxes with the child. One of the lunch and other for the fruits which the child can have anytime during school hours or on the way back home.
- There are five food groups such as milk and milk products, meat, pulses and eggs, vegetables and fruits, fats, nuts and oil seeds and sugar. Ensure that the meal is nutritionally adequate by keeping food items from at least 2 food groups in your child’s tiffin box.
- Keep food items which can be easily managed by the child. For example- Pack finger foods such as stuffed parantha roll, soya vegetable cutlets, apple cheese sandwich cut in round shape etc.
No parents want to make any compromises when it comes to ensuring their child’s health. Keeping this view in mind, in my next post I will share some easy to make healthy tiffin recipes for children.
Have a great and healthy day. #EatHealthy and #StayFit