Children are tough to please, especially when it comes to food. As a mother, your one of the most challenging tasks is to pack a healthy yet perfect lunch box. You can run out of kids tiffin ideas if you have fussy eaters. And the struggle to plan lunch box recipes that will keep the children healthy, energetic and also put a smile on their face is real.
Why is nutrition important while planning tiffin recipes for kids? Children get 70% of their daily dose of growth nutrition through main meals (breakfast, lunch or dinner). Most kids eat at least one big meal of the day, either breakfast or lunch, in school. This makes packing a lunch box even more challenging, as their school meal contributes to about 30% of their daily nutritional needs.
8 Healthy Tiffin Recipes That Your Kids Will Enjoy
Here are some healthy, yummy and attractive looking lunch recipes for kids. So to all the moms out there, no more brain-racking, we got you sorted with lunch box recipes for every fussy eater.
1. Oats Idli
One of the most delicious tiffin recipes for kids, it is a healthier version of idli. It has the goodness of oats, lentils and veggies. Oats are rich in fibre and veggies are rich in vitamins, giving this dish a high nutritive value without compromising on the taste.
- ½ cup of instant oats
- ½ cup of semolina (sooji or rava)
- ½ cup of curd (dahi), whisked
- 1 teaspoon white urad dal (split)
- 1 tablespoon raw peanuts
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- ⅓ teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
- ⅓ teaspoon cumin powder (jeera), roasted
- 2 green chilli (hari mirchi), finely chopped
- 1-inch ginger, grated
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 capsicum, finely chopped
- 8 curry leaves (kadi patta)
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 50 grams coriander (dhaniya) leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- To begin making the mixed vegetable oats idli, heat a pan and dry roast the oats and semolina separately.
- Now coarsely ground the oats with the help of a mixer grinder. Now take a big bowl, add the whisked dahi in it, then add semolina and oats powder in it.
- Next, add all the chopped vegetables (keep onions for later), salt, cumin (jeera) powder in it and give it a good mix.
- Now heat the oil in a pan and add mustard seeds (rai). When the seeds crackle, add the urad dal, cumin seeds, curry leaves (kadi patta), peanuts, onion and asafoetida (hing) in it and sauté on medium heat for a few seconds.
- Now pour this tempering on idli batter and mix well. Now cover this mixture and set aside for 15 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease the idli moulds with minimal oil and boil the water in a steamer.
- After 15 to 30 minutes add baking soda and lemon juice in it and mix well. Now put a 1 tablespoon idli batter into each of the greased idli moulds and steam in a steamer for about 13 to 15 minutes or until the idlis are cooked.
- Let them cool and then take them out. Serve with chutney!
2. Vegetable Vermicelli
This recipe contains the goodness of semolina (sooji) and the nutrients of vegetables.
- 1 cup of roasted vermicelli (semiya)
- 2 cups of 480 ml water
- 2 tablespoons refined oil
- Salt as required
- a generous pinch asafoetida (hing)
- 7-8 curry leaves (kadi patta)
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
- 1 whole red chilli
- ½ teaspoon (urad dal)
- ½ teaspoon Bengal gram (chana dal)
- ¼ cup of cashew nut/groundnuts
- ½ teaspoon chopped ginger
- 1 medium-size chopped carrot
- ⅓ cup of green peas
- 1 medium-size chopped onion
- 2 slit green chillies (hari mirchi)
- 1 medium-size chopped tomato
- 3-4 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (dhaniya)
- Begin by dry roasting your vermicelli. You can skip this step if your vermicelli is pre-roasted. Heat a pan and on medium flame, roast your vermicelli for 5-6 minutes or until it gets a golden brown colour. Make sure to be gentle as it is prone to breaking.
- Heat a kadhai and add oil. Then add mustard seeds (rai). Let it crackle.
- Add dry red chilli and peanuts and roast these for approx a minute.
- Then go urad dal and chana dal. Roast these until golden brown.
- Next add asafoetida (hing), ginger, slit green chilli (hari mirchi) (optional), curry leaves (kadipatta) and onion. Sauté all this well on a medium flame for 2 minutes.
- Next, add the chopped carrot and cook it for another 2 minutes or until the carrots turn soft.
- Now add tomato, green peas (or veggies like french beans, bell peppers) with some salt and fry till the tomatoes get soft.
- Add water into the kadhai and cover it.
- After it boils, add the roasted vermicelli, turn the flame to medium-low and cover it.
- Cook for 15-20 mins and gently stir in between.
3. Palak Paneer Roll
If you are one of those desi moms, who is in continuous search of kids lunch box recipes Indian style, then you will love this lunch recipe for kids. It is filled with nutrients and vitamins of spinach and paneer takes care of your child’s protein needs.
For The Palak Tortilla (Roti/Paratha)
- 1½ cups of whole wheat flour
- 1½ cups of spinach (palak)
- Small piece of ginger
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves
- Mix spices powder (garam masala) (optional)
- 1 small green chilli (hari mirchi) (optional)
- Salt as needed
- ¼ teaspoon cumin powder (jeera) (optional)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons water to blend spinach (optional)
- Oil for kneading
- Ghee for toasting
For The Stuffing:
- 1½ cups paneer grated or crumbled
- 1½ tablespoons oil
- ½ teaspoon cumin (jeera)
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- 2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder (adjust as per taste)
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon coriander (dhaniya) powder
- Salt as needed
- Coriander leaves (dhaniya) chopped
- Onion slices, carrots (optional)
- Rinse spinach leaves well in running water, Then make a puree with ginger, garlic, salt, cumin (jeera), green chilli (hari mirchi) and garam masala. Transfer this mixture to a mixing bowl and add flour.
- Mix well and make a stiff dough. Then add oil and knead it well for five minutes or until soft. Set aside.
- Next, heat a pan with oil and add cumin seeds (jeera) and let it crackle.
- Add in the ginger garlic paste and sauté it well until the raw smell fades away. Next, add in the chopped tomato and cook along with chilli powder, salt and other spices until the mixture thickens and oil starts to separate.
- Add the crumbled paneer and mix well.
- Cook on a low heat for 2 to 3 mins until the paneer and tomato blend well. Add coriander leaves (dhaniya) and stir.
- Divide the dough into equal balls. Dust the rolling platform or board and begin to roll rotis.
- Heat a griddle on medium flame and cook the roti like you would cook your regular paratha. Make sure to cook on both sides until the roti is cooked to golden brown spots.
- Generously add the stuffing on one half of the roti and begin to roll tightly.
- Serve hot with a dollop of ghee on top!
Tip: You can also use the combination of jowar & wheat flour in this recipe to make it more nutritious. Learn more about the nutritional value of wheat v/s jowar here.
4. Chapati Pizza
Moms think of all possible ways to keep it healthy while planning lunch box recipes for your little ones. What’s better than serving all the goodness of vegetables over a boring chapati from your kitchen and turning it into the most loved tiffin recipe for kids!
- 1 cup of wheat flour
- Salt to taste
- Water as required
- 2 tablespoons lengthwise chopped onion
- ⅓ cup of lengthwise chopped capsicum
- ¼ cup of boiled sweet corn
- ¼ cup of grated cheese
- Oil to toast
For The Sauce:
- 1 teaspoon oil
- Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- ½ cup big onion
- 1 big sized tomato
- 1 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons chilli flakes (adjust as per taste)
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper powder
- Take a wide mixing bowl and add wheat flour and salt. Make a soft pliable dough and add the water little by little. Once the dough is ready (it will be sticky at this stage) add ½ teaspoon oil and knead it well for around 4 to 5 minutes. The dough should be medium soft and it should be non-sticky at this stage. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for a while.
- To prepare the sauce, blanch tomatoes till its skin starts to peel off by itself, drain water, remove the skin and trim the edge. Cut into half and transfer to a mixer.
- Grind it to a smooth puree without adding water. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a kadhai, add garlic and sauté till golden brown, then add onion and sauté till transparent.
- Now add in the tomato puree and let it cook well for 5 mins. Then add tomato ketchup, pepper, oregano and chilli flakes.
- Now cover the pan and let it cook until the sauce thickens a bit. Once the sauce comes together to a thick spreadable consistency, switch off and allow it cool down to room temperature.
- Next, toast the capsicum in ½ teaspoon oil till it shrinks a bit but let it be crunchy enough.
- Take chapati dough and roll a slightly thicker chapati.
- Heat a pan on medium flame and cook the chapati on both sides.
- Once the chapati is well cooked, remove the griddle from flame and then spread the sauce and toppings.
- Add the veggies and turn it into a regular homemade pizza.
- And lastly, load it with grated cheese and then carefully transfer the griddle back to flame.
- Cook for a few minutes till cheese melts, make sure to cover the griddle with a lid.
5. Veggie Muffins
Who doesn’t love muffins? This is one of the most loved and easy lunch recipes for kids tiffins. It’s also filling and full of nutrients from vegetables and the gram flour (besan) adds protein to the meal.
- 3 cups of assorted chopped veggies (broccoli, corn, bell peppers, spinach)
- ½ cup of green onion, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil,
- 2 cups of gram flour (besan)
- ¼ cup of nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Combine gram flour (besan), nutritional yeast, baking powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl with 2½ cups of water. Mix all these ingredients well and keep it aside.
- Next, heat olive oil on medium flame in a pan and add all veggies (keep green onions for later) and continue to cook on medium flame until veggies are cooked well and begin to brown.
- Then add green onions to the pan and cook it further for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste for seasoning.
- Brush a standard-sized muffin tin and one smaller, 6 muffin tin with olive oil.
- Divide the veggie mixture between muffin cups by the heaping tablespoon. Divide any remaining veggies between cups.
- Using a ¼ cup measure, fill cups with batter. Make sure to use a spoon or fork to gently stir each cup to ensure that the batter gets under the veggies.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean and the frittatas are beginning to brown on top.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes (this allows the batter to set) before removing from the tin and cooling on a rack.
6. Ragi Pancakes
If you plan on treating your child once in a while, then this recipe is the one to go with! And it’s super healthy as ragi is a source of several nutrients essential for kids.
- 1 cup of ragi flour
- ½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2-3 tablespoons jaggery
- 50 gms dark chocolate
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3½ tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cup of milk
- Combine and sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a mixing bowl.
- Add grated jaggery and whisk to make a dry mix.
- Add in the melted butter, vanilla, milk and whisk until well combined.
- Now add grated dark chocolate in the mix and stir well till everything incorporates nicely.
- Heat a nonstick pan over low-medium heat and grease with butter.
- Take a ladle full of batter per pancake and pour into the pan and cook till bubbles start to form over the surface.
- Carefully flip the pancake and cook from the other side as well.
- Transfer the pancake on a plate and repeat with remaining batter and make more ragi and chocolate pancakes.
- Stack 2-3 pancakes and drizzle some chocolate sauce or honey all over. You can add fresh fruit too.
7. Dal Chillas
Do you have some leftover dal in your fridge and zero clues about what to do with it?Chillas are the most common Indian breakfast. Add some dal and give it a new twist. These are rich in all goodness of lentils and vegetables that a growing child needs. You can add vegetables like spinach to give it a green colour or beetroot to make it pink.
- 1 cup of leftover dal
- ⅓ cup of carrot
- ½ cup of besan
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 1 tablespoon jowar flour
- 1 tablespoon semolina (sooji)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves (dhaniya)
To Make Batter For Pancakes
- Peel the carrot and finely chop into small pieces. You can also use capsicum if you like.
- In a mixing bowl take the leftover dal.
- Add finely chopped carrots, gram flour, cornflour, jowar flour and semolina (sooji).
- Add salt according to taste and give this mixture a good mix.
- Add water as required to make a smooth runny batter.
- Add finely chopped coriander leaves (dhaniya) and the batter is ready.
To Make Pancakes
- Heat a small tawa and grease it.
- Check to ensure that the pan is heated well, now with the help of a ladle pour the batter.
- Make sure the pancakes are not thicker than half 1 cm.
- Cook the pancakes of medium flame for 1-2 minutes, then flip them over.
- Cook the pancakes on both sides on medium flame until golden brown.
- Serve these pancakes hot with ketchup or chutney.
8. Quinoa Paniyarams (Appe)
Quinoa is light and rich in fibre. Paniyarams (appe) are loved by children for their round shape. It’s also easy to eat and perfect for lunch box recipes.
- 2 cups of idli rice
- 2 cups of quinoa
- 1 cup of urad dal
- Water as needed
- Salt as needed
- 4 cups batter
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 2-3 chopped green chillies (hari mirchi)
- 1 tablespoon (urad dal)
- 1 sprig curry leaves (kadi patta)
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Rinse and soak rice and quinoa in a bowl, take a separate bowl and rinse and soak the urad dal.
- Next, strain the water from rice and quinoa and grind them with little water to make a smooth batter like a regular idli or dosa batter.
- Transfer the batter in a bowl and keep aside.
- Then grind urad dal with water as required to a smooth batter.
- Use water as required to make a flowing batter but not too thin.
- Now take both rice and quinoa and urad dal batter and give it a good mix.
- Add salt to taste and mix the batter well with a ladle.
- Cover the bowl and keep them overnight for fermentation. Use a large bowl so that when the batter ferments you have some space for it to rise.
- Next day, take some batter as required in the bowl.
- Heat oil in a pan add mustard seeds (rai) and after they splutter, add urad dal.
- Add curry leaves (kadi patta), green chillies (hari mirchi) and onions.
- Sauté them till the onions turn translucent.
- Add this sautéd mixture in the batter and mix them well.
- Add a little salt if needed.
- Heat a paniyaram pan, add oil in each hole and pour some batter into the paniyaram.
- Cook them till they turn light brown from one side, then flip each paniyaram using a spoon and cook them on the other side. Add oil as needed.
- After they turn light brown from both sides, transfer them to a plate.
- Serve them with mint (pudina) chutney.
Essential Nutrition Tips To Make Healthy Food For Your Kids Tiffin Box
These are some healthy and yummy lunch recipes for kids. Planning school lunch idea is no rocket science, you just need to keep these following in consideration and you will be sorted.
- It’s advisable to include some protein (egg, cottage cheese, pulses, sprouts, dahi) in the meal to keep your child full for at least 3 hours.
- To balance the urinal value of the meal always add an extra dose of veggies or fruit when using bread, pasta or potato-based dishes.
- Avoid using too much white sugar, biscuits or jams in the school meal.
- Pack the meal box once the food is at room temperature. This helps to keep the food fresh for longer periods.
- Wraps, rice preparations, stuffed parathas, steamed food (idli, dhokla), sandwiches stay best in tiffin lunch and these are filling and easy to eat.
- Always squeeze lemon over cut fruit (apple, pear, papaya, guava) to keep them fresh and prevent oxidising.
- To prevent the sandwiches from getting soggy you can add lettuce leaves in between.
- Use dry pasta recipes (aglio olio, pasta salads) instead of saucy ones.
- Use a glass jar for salad and pasta recipes to create excitement and to keep the food fresh.
Make school meals more fun with these wonderful recipes that you kids will surely love. Healthy and tasty, these food items will be your kid’s favourites in no time. So try them out and send your kids to school with a delicious tiffin every day!