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Food and drinks for your child!

Priya Khanna, Seema Tarneja | May 16, 2005

Gf the foundation is not solid, the structure will not remain firm.

Nutrition at a young age builds the foundation for good health in the future.

pictureDieticians Priya Khanna and Seema Tarneja offer some handy tips to every parent to ensure that your child has a healthy lunch, eats the right snacks and drinks the right beverages every day. 

1. Add visual appeal to lunch by using different coloured vegetables and fruits.

2. Make creative shapes and designs to make food look interesting. For example, chop a slice of bread into different shapes. Saute different shapes and sizes of pasta with colourful veggies.

3. Pack lunch in a hot case so that it remains warm till your child's lunch break.

4. Avoid foods like poha, boiled eggs, noodles, dosas, etc, which do not taste good when cold.

5. Offer a variety in the lunch, so it does not get monotonous and your child does not get bored.

6. If your child is overweight, make nutritious and low calorie lunches. 

Pack raw or lightly steamed (and then chilled) vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower or carrots. Add in some dip (or an individual pack of salad dressing). You've got a great snack or lunch addition!

7. Encourage your child to eat home food. One way to ensure this is to give less money to spend on eating out every day. An outside treat once a week is okay, though.

Beverages: milk is king!

1. When it comes to selecting a beverage, go for milk. 

2. Chocolate-flavoured milk is likely to have more sugar. 

3. Add tetrapacks of flavoured milk, like Amul, N-joi or Energee, if possible.

4. Consider offering low fat or non fat (skimmed) milk instead of whole milk. It has the same nutritional value with less fat.

5. Use an insulated thermos or an ice pack in your child's lunch bag to keep the milk or juice cold.

6. Make sure your child carries a big bottle of water. Make sure s/he drinks it.

Is your child allergic to milk?

~ For children who are lactose intolerant -- the inability to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk -- lactose-free milk like soy milk is a good alternative.

Give your child a bottle of soy milk to school.

~ Fruit juices also work as a substitute for milk occasionally.

But make sure you are serving 100 percent juice, not a less expensive, but high-sugar fruit drink.

At snack time

Snacks can be just as important as the main course.

Remember the rule of thumb when packing a school lunch snack:

  • Keep it simple, neat and healthy. 
  • Stay away from cookies, cakes and other pre-packaged sweets.
  • Snacks could include almonds, pistachios, walnuts, peanuts, granola bars, a piece of fruit and some fresh veggies.

Part I: Are you packing the right lunch for your child?

Do you have interesting tiffin ideas? Share them with our Get Ahead readers!

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