What you pack in your lunch not only determines your energy levels for the day, but also your long-term health. Eating junk every day and not adding enough fiber to one of the most important meals of the day can increase your chances of chronic diseases, from diabetes to heart disease. Planning your tiffin carefully and well in advance ensures that the right things are done. Seasonal vegetables, salads, yogurt, lentils can be added in a variety of interesting recipes that will keep you looking forward to lunch time. If you don’t fuel your body with healthy balanced meals, you are likely to feel very cranky and tired in the late afternoon and this can make you crave more sugary and junk foods loaded with empty calories. (Also read: Winter Breakfast Recipes: 5 Tasty Protein-Rich Foods to Start Your Day)
National Pack Your Lunch Day is celebrated every year on March 10 and encourages you to pack your own lunch with things of your choice. Healthy doesn’t have to be boring. To celebrate this day, here are some healthy and tasty tiffin recipes that you can make at home.
What should go in a healthy tiffin box? Clinical nutritionist Archana Karthick Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru, Kanakapura Road answers this.
– A serving of healthy whole grains
– Lots of fruits and vegetables.
– One serving of dairy or calcium-rich alternative
– Some protein portions such as lentils, legumes, eggs or meat
– Fats and oils
Here are 3 simple nutritionist-suggested one-pot meal recipe ideas for school-age children:
1. Beet pulao
Beetroot is a superfood that is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is also very rich in iron which prevents anemia in your children. Excellent source of fiber, prevents constipation.
Sona Masoori rice – 1 cup (wash and soak for 20 minutes)
1 small onion sliced
1 medium tomato chopped
1 green chilli, cut and seeded
1 tsp fresh ginger garlic paste
¼ cup of fresh peas
½ potato – chopped
1 medium grated beetroot
1 teaspoon of each coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chopped coriander leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped mint leaves
Garam masala product: 1 cardamom, 2 cloves, 1 bay leaf, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 1 star anise
1 tablespoon. butter to season
Method to prepare
– Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in the pot. Add all the garam masala items mentioned.
– Once it starts to sizzle, add the sliced onion and chili, and sauté until the onion is golden brown.
– Add the freshly prepared ginger-garlic paste and sauté until the raw smell disappears.
– Add the chopped tomato and sauté until softened.
– Add coriander powder and turmeric powder and sauté for a minute.
– Add the chopped potato, beetroot, peas and chopped coriander and mint leaves.
– After sautéing for one minute, add water and salt to your liking.
– Finally add the soaked and drained rice, cover the lid and pressure cook for 2 whistles over medium heat.
– Once the pressure settles on its own, open the lid and fluff the rice slightly as all the vegetables would have settled to the bottom.
– Now the beetroot pulao can be enjoyed with tomato and cucumber raita along with 1 medium apple as a snack.
2. Mixed vegetables and palak khichdi
Spinach is also one of the most nutritious green leafy vegetables, as it is high in iron and prevents anemia. It is also a great source of vitamin A (good for the eyes), vitamin K (needed for blood clotting and bone formation) and vitamin C which helps boost immunity and also helps in better iron absorption.
1 cup sona masoori rice
1/4 cup divided green moong dhal (wash and soak for 10 minutes)
½ onion – finely chopped
1 cup mixed vegetables (carrot, beans, peas, cabbage)
1 handful of spinach washed and chopped
1 handful of mint leaves, washed and chopped
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ tomato – diced
1 inch ginger – finely chopped
1 green chilli, cut and seeded
Method to prepare
– Heat 1 tbsp. of ghee in the pot add ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds.
– Once it starts to sizzle, add the sliced onion and chili, sauté until the onion turns translucent.
– Add the finely chopped ginger and sauté for a few seconds.
– Add all the previously mentioned chopped vegetables along with the tomato, spinach and mint, and sauté for one minute.
– Then spray some water, close the lid and keep it in sim for about a minute.
– Finally add soaked and drained rice and dhal, add ground pepper, turmeric and coriander powder mix well.
– Then add 2½ cups of salted water, close the lid and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
– Once the pressure settles, open the lid and fluff the rice slightly.
– Now spinach mixed greens khichdi can be served along with curd and roasted phool makhana in your child’s lunch box along with grapes as an after-meal snack.
3. Mushroom methi paneer biryani
The mushroom is a vegetarian source of vitamin D, which improves bone and immune health. The mushroom is packed with health-boosting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Paneer is a very rich source of protein, especially for vegetarians, and rich in calcium, which helps build stronger teeth and bones.
1 cup Basmati rice (wash and soak for 20 min)
½ cup thinly sliced onion
1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
1 slice of green chili without seeds
1/4 cup tomato puree
½ cup of mushrooms (100 grams)
½ cup Paneer cubes
Coriander leaves -fist (chopped)
mint leaves -fist (chopped)
Methi leaves- handful (chopped)
Thick curd – 1/4 cup
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ turmeric powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon coriander powder
for the seasoning
Oil/Ghee – 1 tablespoon
nails – 2
Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
bay leaf – 1 (optional)
To cook the rice
Cinnamon 1 inch piece
Butter -1 teaspoon
Marinate paneer and mushrooms
In a bowl, add the thick curd, 1/4 of the chili powder, coriander powder, biryani masala, ginger-garlic paste and a little salt and mix well. Then add the mushrooms and paneer cubes and mix well. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
Method to prepare
Cooking rice: Heat a teaspoon of ghee, add cloves, cinnamon and sauté the rice for a few seconds. Then add 2 cups of water, a little salt and cook the rice until 3/4 done. Drain excess water. Do not cook completely, as we will cook again at the end. We don’t want a mushy biryani.
– Heat 1 tbsp. of ghee in the pot. Add all the Garam masala items mentioned in the seasoning section.
– Once it starts to sizzle, add the sliced onion and chili, sauté until the onion is browned.
– Add the freshly prepared ginger-garlic paste and sauté until the raw smell is gone.
– Add the tomato puree, turmeric powder, garam masala and sauté until the oil separates.
– Add methi leaves, sauté for a minute then add marinated mushrooms and paneer mix well.
– At this time, add the coriander leaves and mint leaves, salt and cook until the mushroom is half cooked.
– Finally add the cooked rice, cover the lid and keep on low heat for 5-6 minutes.
– Finally enjoy biryani with cucumber mint raita.
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