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Suggestions to get your child to eat healthy
Lunchtime is short and most kids are choosy and slow. To ensure your child eats the lunch you send, pack something what he/she likes without compromising on the nutrition. Give them the choice of selection too. You can ask what he/she would like for lunch. Provide variety to avoid boredom.
You can make stuffed chapattis with carrot, aloo, beetroot, radish, methi leaves, mixed vegetables, etc. Stuffed chapattis with carrot and beetroot can be made sweeter by adding little sugar to the grated vegetable. Another option is parathas, stuffed dosas and stuffed idlis. Chapatti and dosa wraps with vegetable mix will also work well as lunch for kids. You can try making dosas and chapattis in some shapes /forms (alphabets, numbers, fruits, animals, cartoons, etc) according to your child's liking and your imagination.
Fried rice, tomato rice, lime rice, peas pulao, egg pulao, veg pulao are other options that you can try. Noodles enriched with veggies and /or egg or even rice semolina (iddiappam) with some vegetables can make another option for the small containers. You can make mini pizzas with lots of vegetables. There are lots of options in sandwich. Bread can be white, brown, stuffed, herbed and so on.
Offering cut pieces of fruits and vegetables and nuts are not only easy but are nutritious too. Cut fruits can be dipped in sauce, chocolate, cheese, peanut butter, yogurt, cream, etc and can be dipped finally with some dried items like raisins, bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, sugar, grated parmesan, or grated mozzarella. Turn vegetables and fruits into surprise packages by hollowing it and replacing them with fillings and putting the halves back together again. Chocolate spread, chocolate chips, cream cheese, processed cheese, peanut butter, jam, small fresh fruits, etc can be used as fillers.
You can also opt for colour or shape or size theme options in food for each day. Give your meal planning creativity a boost and feed your child's stomach by planning his lunch box according to food groups and shapes, sizes, colour and so forth. Include nutritious and child- friendly combinations. You can also try math meal - 1 sandwich, 2 pieces of carrot, 3 sausages, and so on. Alphabet cookie cutters come handy in cutting bread, cheese, fruits, etc.
Overall appearance, colour, aroma, taste, texture and seasonings should be appealing to the kids. Focus on foods that your child should eat such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat, poultry, legumes and whole grains, rather than what foods to avoid because they are bad for them. When it comes to sweets and other less nutritious foods, it's natural for kids to desire salty, fatty, or sugary food that possesses few redeeming qualities. Occasionally giving in to a request for such items will not destroy your efforts to get your child to eat healthfully in the long term.
Kids don't always abide by an adult's schedule; they eat when they are hungry. Children eat only until they are satisfied. Preschoolers are pretty good at self-regulating their intake when left to their own. That's why parents who insist that preschoolers clean their lunch boxes are inviting trouble. If it makes you feel better to see a clean lunch box, offer very small portions to increase the likelihood that no food will go to waste. There is another approach you can take, however. You could respect your child's hunger level and excuse them from eating when they tell you they are full, regardless of what food is left behind.