Indian Lunch Box Recipes

Indian parents face many of the same dilemmas as Western parents do when it comes to packing a school lunchbox. It’s important to pack something nutritious that kids will actually eat, that the other kids won’t make fun of. Here are some basic id

Sometimes Indian parents who have moved to western countries like Canada and the U.S. have a hard time finding good lunchbox foods for their kids. Indian cuisine is, of course, different, but with a little strategic planning, you can make nice lunchbox meals that children love. And who knows? You might even teach some of the western kids a thing or two about delicious Indian cuisine.
Before giving a few suggestions, it is important to note that if a child is being ridiculed for having a “different” lunch, then the teacher should be notified and he or she should put a stop to it at once.

Sandwich variations

Veggie sandwiches can be made with sliced bread, roti, chapatti, or even pitas. A layer of mint coriander chutney spread on the bread can be topped with finely sliced, cold vegetables like cucumbers, boiled potatoes, beetroot, and tomatoes. Topped with a little salt and pepper, it will resemble an upscale, gourmet western sandwich.

Though dosas are mostly considered breakfast foods, they can be great at any time of day. (They are also gluten free!) They can be stuffed with vegetables and cheese, or spread with chutney like the above sandwiches then sprinkled with vegetables. Rolled up, they will resemble sandwich roll-ups, which are popular among western school children.

A dosa spread with ghee, then topped with muddha pappu and rolled is another variation.

Another strategy used by some parents is to change the name a little. One mother had her son describe uthappam as “Indian veggie pizza.” Speaking of veggies, veggie burgers and wraps are good choices. Sometimes children take Indian variations on common western foods like pasta with veggies, or carrot and celery sticks with yogurt dip made with finely chopped cucumber and mint leaves, a little cumin, salt and pepper to taste. The yogurt dip goes well with many other foods, including idlis.

Idlis can also be spread with ghee or chutney and sprinkled with thinly grated veggies like carrot or cabbage and topped with a little grated cheese.

For Indians who live surrounded by westerners, it may feel very difficult to bring up your children with the foods of India, but with some creativity, and “thinking outside the lunch box,” it can be done, and some day your children will thank you for it.

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