It’s 7 am and the kitchen sounds like a fish market–the pressure cooker whistles like a roadside rogue, the wok sizzles with the sound of sautéing veggies, the toaster pops the bread, and the water from the pot of boiling eggs almost spills over.
Over the sounds, she shouts, sending her voice from the kitchen to her son’s bedroom,”What do you want for tiffin?”
Do you find yourself in a similar scenario every morning before school?
My imagination evades me when it comes to prepare snacks for my son. It’s such a pain trying to figure out recipes that are healthy, but look attractive enough to a four-year-old.
To solve my predicament, I did some ‘easy snacks research’ and came across the following healthy options:
1) Fruit fingers
So you pack the regular paratha or sandwich for lunch. Your child doesn’t mind eating it, provided there’s some interesting dessert alongside. That’s when fruit fingers come to your aide.
You can cuts fruits in various shapes and sizes. However, what works best is cutting them like French fries. You can dip them in marmalade, jam, or just sprinkle some caster sugar over them and pack them for your child’s first break in school.
For longer school hours and to keep the fruit from oxidising, you can sprinkle some lemon juice on the fruit first. No discolouration, no odour; just yummy and healthy fruit snack.
Trust me it works!
RELATED – Health: Top 10 Brain Developing Foods For Kids
Really? Healthy food?
I’m not kidding. Pizza does make for healthy food!
Now which kid doesn’t love pizza? Before I knew this trick, readymade pizzas were my go to while travelling. My son refused to eat anything else from outside—no salads, fruits, pasta, or idlis, nothing! But then, I read this amazing recipe and started packing pizzas for lunch!
Wondering how? Use chapatis or whole wheat bread as the base for your pizza. Top it up with fresh vegetables, cheese, the sauces that your child likes (homemade sauces preferably) and toss it into the oven.
If time doesn’t permit an oven, try the convection setting on your microwave. Ten minutes and you’re done! Yummy and healthy pizzas are ready to go to school.
I was gifted with a hug the first time I packed these. You never know what else you might get!
3) Knead it
Mother to two kids, Nita has a very tough time dealing with food-fuss. “I could be in the kitchen all day, yet they would remain hungry,” she says exasperatedly.
At home she can push food into their mouths easily. “What worries me most is school…although now it doesn’t,” she adds.
So what has changed for her?
She boils all veggies that she can get her hands on and grinds them to form a watery paste.
“Then I knead this paste into the flour with salt and other seasonings. Roll out shapes out of this dough and deep fry till they’re crisp and taste like nachos,” she explains.
I think you can also make parathas, chapatis, or shallow fry them. Try out different shapes, veggies and seasoning.
Nita makes red dough out of boiled beetroot and cuts them in the shape of hearts. You can try lentils to make yellow dough or spinach to make a green one.
Keep kneading and keep rolling. It’s play time for your imagination as well!
4) Homemade Hummus
Packed with proteins and energy, hummus works as a sauce as well as a dip. You can have it with brown bread, pita bread, and chapati. I like hummus even with dosa!
This is a Mid-Eastern/Mediterranean versatility that every mother should try. Just soak, boil, and grind chickpeas, and hummus is ready. Every food website worth its salt will hand out an interesting recipe for this one. You can introduce it at home first and then pack it for lunch.
It’s fun, healthy, and oh so yummy!
5) Oat bars
This is a sweet treat for your little one’s snack box–absolutely healthy and very easy to make. Oat bars can be made at home to look and taste just like readymade bars.
Boil some sugar and water to a thick consistency and add oats to it. While the mix is still hot, put it into moulds. I like to try star shaped and circular moulds–you can try any other. When the mix in the moulds dries, it becomes this crunchy, crispy, wholesome bar of caramel and oats.
Fibrous and fun!
6) Oven-baked veggie chips
Recently, at a moms-and-kids potluck party, a friend of mine served a crispy snack that none of us could take our hands off. Hers was the only dish even the kids ate. I decided to get the recipe for this one.
Here’s how it goes: cut chips of veggies like eggplant, zucchini, or potatoes and dip them in a smooth (not runny) mixture of flour, salt, oregano (or any other herb that you want).
Then bake these in the oven till they become crisp.
They’re yum and I bet your child can’t stop at just one!
7) Homemade Carrot Cakes
I don’t think enough can be said about how healthy carrots are for the mind and body. What if these carrots find themselves in your child’s regular sponge cake? My son simply loves cake and I believe most kids do. Carrots in cakes are nothing unusual but we hardly try them at home.
Therefore, download your favourite sponge cake recipe and add a twist of carrots to it.
Don’t forget to share what a hit this snack was in school!
Do you have more snack ideas? Do share them and leave a comment below.
Image Credits: Donnie Ray Jones
90% of a child’s permanent foundation for brain development occurs in the early years according to Rauch Foundation. An overuse of gadgets can only stunt this growth and cause a negative impact on the child’s overall development.
If your child is spending more time swiping and scrolling, instead of interaction with the real world, you need to act before it’s too late.
Find out if your child is being meaningfully and positively engaged by taking this simple quiz.