Tuck-worthy tiffins for your tots

Most working parents are hard-pressed for time, especially in the morning. In the rush, it can be a challenge to come up with different ways of enticing your children into eating healthy during recess.

After all, there are just so many ways of making a cheese sandwich, right? Nutrition expert Neesha Maria Bukht gives tips on how to pack a quick, healthy and tasty tiffin for children of every age group.

AGE 6 TO 9

Peanut butter and jam sandwiches
Peanut butter is an ideal snack for kids. It’s high in protein, keeping the child energetic and full at least until the next recess! Peanut butter has Vitamin B6 which is beneficial for kids with learning difficulties. It also strengthens the immune system and helps fight dandruff, psoriasis and eczema. Vitamin E aids muscle formation and regeneration of tissue. Peanut butter is also high in dietary fibre.

Peanut butter – Ingredients
100 gms peanut, salt to taste.

Method
Grind peanuts into thick paste. If your child likes it spicy, add some red chilli powder. Spread the peanut butter on one slice and fruit jam (stay away from the sweetened jams; opt for one made from fruit pulp with no added sugar) on the other. The jam satiates sugar cravings, giving kids loads of energy.

AGE 10 TO 12

Nutrition fact sheet
Two tablespoons of peanut butter provides about 7 grams of protein, approximately 0.15 mg Vitamin B6 and 18 per cent of a child’s daily requirement of vitamin E. Jam and peanut butter together provide 150 k cal of energy.

Paneer Tikki
To deal with the bumps that come with childhood, not to mention growth spurt, pre-teens need high levels of calcium. Paneer is a more concentrated source of protein and energy than milk, and adding potatoes packs in carbohydrates which boost energy levels.

Ingredients
300 gm cottage cheese (crumbled), 2 large potatoes (boiled and mashed), 2 slices of bread, 1 onion (finely chopped), 2 green chillies (finely chopped), 2 tbsp cornflour, 2 tbps coriander leaves (finely chopped), oil for shallow frying, salt and pepper to taste.

Method
Soak bread slices in water for about a minute. Squeeze them gently between the palms of your hand to drain excess water. Tear into small pieces. Mix cottage cheese, potato, onion, green chilli, cornflour, coriander, bread pieces, salt and pepper together. Shape mixture into patties.

Spread 1 teaspoon of oil on a griddle and heat on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Then turn down the heat to low flame. Place four to five patties on the griddle and fry till both the sides turn golden brown. If you grate the paneer and potato at night, all you have to do in the morning is take 10 minutes to fry the tikkis.

Nutrition fact sheet
100 gm of paneer provides 18.3 gm of protein, 20.8 gm of fat, 2.6 gm of minerals, 1.2 gm of carbohydrates, 265 kcal of energy, 208 mgs of calcium.

AGE 13 TO 15

Vegetable Burger
Can any teenager resist this? Add cucumber which is rich in vitamin C and silica to fight teenage acne, cheese, which is rich in calcium and tomatoes for anti-oxidant properties. Substitute white bread with brown bread for added benefits.

Ingredients
4 small brown bread buns, 1 cucumber (sliced), 4 tomatoes (sliced), 1 tbsp jalapeno pepper (finely chopped), 1 tsp cheese spread, 8 leaves of lettuce
For cutlet: 100 gm carrots (boiled and chopped), 100 gm French beans (boiled and chopped); 100 gm sprouts (boiled and mashed), 150 gm potatoes (boiled, peeled and mashed), 1 lemon; 4 green chillies (finely chopped); 1/2 tsp pepper powder; 2 tbsp flour; 4 tbsp bread crumbs, oil for frying and salt to taste.

Method
Mix carrots, beans, sprouts, green chilli and potatoes with salt, pepper powder, lemon juice. Mould into balls. Sprinkle all-purpose flour to them and flatten with your palm to form cutlets. Roll them in bread crumbs and fry on both sides, till they turn golden-brown. Assemble into buns with lettuce, cheese, jalapeno and tomatoes

Nutrition fact sheet
One serving of approximately 215.0 gm contains 7 gm of fat, 65 gm carbohydrates, 5.5 gm dietary fibre and 15 gm of protein.

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