What should you pack for your child’s lunch today? It’s a question that gives every parent heartburn. But it needn’t be cause for stress, believes Bangalore mom Archana Doshi, who quit her day job in 2004 to be part of her sons’ growing up years.
Food blogger Doshi makes this daily chore sound like fun. This month, she has posted pictures of her children’s dabbas on her Facebook page two-three times a week. “At 6.15am, as I rush through the kitchen, I stop to take pictures,” she says. The offerings are nutritionally balanced, colourful and good-looking.
“I cook all the food early in the morning and I prefer to chop the vegetables in the morning to keep the nutrition intact. This includes snack box, lunch box and bus snack,” she says.
Yummy mummy: Doshi’s artwork: (from right) vegetable pasta and pomegranate
Doshi’s tricks are simple. She generally shops for the week over the weekend, but decides what will go into the box the day before.
“I believe in cooking as per seasons and moods. If the children have a cold, or are under the weather, then something comforting and light that is mostly carbs-based will go in,” she says.
Packing a box is not just about making sure your child polishes it off without a squeak. It also means ensuring the right quantity of fibre, carbohydrates, proteins and other nutrients are consumed. Walnuts, almonds, cheese, seasonal fruits, rice with vegetables, rotis with steamed vegetables, raw vegetables, home-made date energy bars or granola bars, flaxseed laddoos are some favourites. Always mix textures (juicy with dry) and avoid all surprises, she says. “If they are introduced to a new taste in their lunch box, you risk the chance of an uneaten meal coming back home. I only pack food that I know they like,” she says.
Her boys, aged 5 and 7, tell her the colourful boxes are popular. “Their classmates pick on the cheese, broccoli, granola bars and the flaxseed laddoos,” she says.
Yummy mummy: Doshi’s artwork: (from right) Mini idlis, walnuts and apples
Makes around 15
1 cup fried gram
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 cup flaxseed powder, freshly ground
1/4 cup almonds, powdered
4 tbsp ghee
Roast the fried gram until it releases an aroma and slightly changes colour. Powder it. Combine all the ingredients. Knead until the mixture is firm enough to shape. Roll into lemon-size balls. Store in an air-tight container for a few days or keep in the refrigerator to last longer.
Yummy mummy: Doshi’s artwork: (from right) noodles, granola bars and grapes
1 cup white chickpeas, cooked until soft and tender
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp chopped green chillies (optional)
1 tsp ginger, grated
1/4 tsp asafoetida
2 tbsp freshly grated coconut
1 tbsp coriander, chopped
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a pan on medium heat; add the mustard seeds and allow to crackle. Stir in the ginger, green chillies, asafoetida, salt and chickpeas. Stir for a few minutes until well-combined. Turn off heat and stir in the coconut and coriander.