An important question indeed. Anyone who’s either packed or eaten from a lunchbox knows that it’s not just about the food. There’s a lot of love and a piece of home that is carried in that little box wherever you take it. But there are a few more considerations that one would expect from her lunch box:
1. Non greasy or soggy food
2. Crispy food that doesn’t go soft
3. Food that stays fresh and doesn’t spoil easily
4. A balanced meal, including all food groups
There is a world of options out there, but here are our top five, for five days of the week. The best part? You can customize each of these in different ways and stretch the menu to an entire month!!
1. Mini Pizzas (Click here for the recipe)
Pizza for lunch?? Yipppee!!! Be prepared for this reaction when you serve up these delicious and healthy cutie pies (literally) for lunch. Georgia has made these beautiful pizzas from scratch on her blog, The Comfort of Cooking. The idea of adding cheese and herbs to the dough is genius. And the sky’s the limit when it comes to the toppings, so go generous with ingredients that your child loves, and sneak in a few veggies that he doesn’t like too! Pack with some cubed fruit on the side. P.S. – Also makes for great kiddie party fare!!
2. Vegetable Pulao (Click here for the recipe)
This is perfect for little rice lovers. Vineetha has a very nutritious recipe at her blog, Ruchi, filled with vegetables, that is so colorful it’ll delight your little champ when he opens his box. You can use up any leftover veggies at home in this simple recipe. Pack it with some curd and some protein – maybe chicken or paneer. Oh, and don’t forget a spoon!
3. Paneer sandwich (Click here for the recipe)
Sailaja’s recipe at her blog Sailu’s food features a paneer sandwich that is slightly different from traditional versions since it doesn’t contain the mandatory green chutney nor is it grilled. The bread is toasted and the filling is a mixture of vegetables which can be customized to your liking. A complete balanced meal in itself, send along some ketchup to add some zing to the meal! It’s better to wrap the sandwich so that the fillings don’t fall out and get messy.
4. Chicken and Vegetable Wrap (Click here for the recipe)
Wraps or rolls are quite popular with kids as street food but don’t worry, you can make a perfectly healthy version at home, packed with goodness. Judy has a recipe that includes chicken and a variety of colorful veggies that make for an appetizing lunch box! Chapathis work just as well as tortillas, and you can use plain curd or even cream cheese instead of sour cream. Adding those French fries are sure to make the kids squeal with joy!
5. Pasta (Click here for the recipe)
Some mornings are just crazy and all you want is the simplest recipe with the least fuss. Lisa has one for you at the snazzily named website Garnish with Lemon. Boil some pasta, toss with readymade pesto and a few things from the fridge and freezer and you’re done!! As with the rest, mix in anything your child would like and make it a complete meal. Easy peasy!
As you can see, all the dishes are very basic and with a little imagination, can be made to appear different every time they’re made. Just replace dressings, sauces, toppings, fillings and exchange vegetarian versions with non vegetarian ones and your kids won’t realize that you’re using the same menu every week!