The right kind of tiffin box!

The right kind of tiffin box!

The right kind of tiffin box!

There used to be a time when one look into the tiffin-boxes of school kids could make one faint at the amount of junk food in them. Nowadays, the exception has become the law as mothers have started the trend of healthy tiffins.

For a lot of mothers, nutrition has always been on the top of the priority list when they’re preparing tiffin boxes for their children. “To keep things interesting but healthy, I make items like peanut butter sandwiches, using whole wheat bread and idlis with grated vegetables and a cheese cube. I make sure the lunch box is a good balance of carbs, protein, vegetables and fruits,” shares Nandita Iyer, a mother and doctor with a fellowship in nutrition.

“I’ve made sure my three-year-old son eats all kinds of vegetables and fruits, right from when he was one year old – and he hasn’t disappointed me. It is all about exposing the kids to healthy home food right from the beginning,” she adds. She does, however, confess that though she hasn’t looked into the stuff other kids get to school, her son does report that he wants to take a Chocopie like the other kids, once in a while.  

Recently, as a move to encourage a healthy diet among children and prevent lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension, union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad asked schools in India to get rid of junk food from their canteens.

Another interesting trend seen these days is that children too are more health conscious and less fussy about what they eat. “I don’t think children are too stubborn to listen. These days, they’re quite smart and when you explain why health is important for them in the right way, they are quite amenable to healthy eating,” explains Vidya Sury, whose 14-year-old son attends Kendriya Vidyalaya.

Schools are also doing their part by making snack-plan timetables, drawing up charts for healthy diets and even providing healthy recipes for parents to consider.

“The school advises parents on what to pack in the children’s boxes when they’re in primary school. I remember once, during a meeting, they advised us not to send bakery products and send cooked food instead. The school even conducts regular medical check ups to ensure the health of its students,” adds Vidya, who feels that the healthy tiffin box is here to stay.    

At the end of the day, it’s the child’s school and home environment that can teach them the benefits of eating healthy.

“We don’t have a canteen and junk food is neither sold nor encouraged in our school,” says Kanni Prabhakar, a senior school teacher, adding, “Most parents are educated and they have regular counselling sessions with our nutritionist, who makes them aware of what is good and bad for their child.”

Of course, not every institute has managed to make everyone switch to a healthy lifestyle. While children love not listening to their teachers, it is the role of all the elders in their life to ensure that trends like snacking and unhealthy eating do not become a permanent feature in their life.

Let’s hope that in the days to come, we see kids smiling at the greens on their plate as much as the pizzas!