Tiffin Tales

Back to School

Back to School Recipe by India Food Network
  • 3 cups of happy memories

  • 2 tablespoons of relief

  • 1 teaspoon of guilt

  • Serve warm with a garnishing of peace and quiet


It’s the beginning of a new academic year and hundreds of school lunches and snack boxes lie ahead of us.


And while we enjoyed the lazy mornings and extra time for much-needed shut-eye, decadent days and hours of fun, fact is school days give us back our much-needed routine and a sense of purpose. It is a relief from the melt-downs, sibling fist fights, precious hours spend fretting and fuming over amounts of time spent in front of screens, organizing play dates and all that jazz.


I am looking forward to the academic year with renewed vigor, especially on the children’s lunch and snack project and as part of that here are my top five tips towards making this task more pleasurable and constructive.


Weekly planner and shopping list: I am sticking with the weekly meal planner; the weekly plan not only makes life easier it also helps me maintain my shopping list and as an unintended consequence helps me stick with my monthly grocery budget.


Food groups: I will be closely following how well I am including all the food groups in the children’s meals – I want to introduce more vegetables and fruits in the lunch and snack boxes and will keep a look out for seasonal fruits and veggies.


Pack your own lunch bags: I will designate a spot on a side table where I will pile up the packed boxes and I plan to make my 8-year and 10-year old to pack their own lunch bags. I want them to get involved in the process and this way if I have missed packing their soy milk or cutlery or nuts, they can call it out and get it themselves. We need to ensure that somehow and at some point, they get involved in the process.


Don’t give up and don’t give in: If they don’t like a particular veggie or food type say for example beet root in the salad, I will find another day and another way to reintroduce beet root in their diet. I will go with the wisdom that memories are short, and children retain a curiosity that will possibly make them have another go at what they just recently overtly rejected.


Listen, listen carefully: Collect feedback consistently and ask questions on what foods worked for the kids, and which simply didn’t. Was the sandwich too soggy or the main dish too runny. Factor their feedback into the planning and also observe what they generally like to eat and avoid.


And finally, but most important of all be kind to yourself, as soon as the children tumble out of the house with lunch box et al, put that coffee pot on the burner, add an extra dash of lemon grass to your tea, put together a wholesome and healthy breakfast, sit close to a window or get your newspaper or unfinished book out and simply savor those precious and unadulterated moments of silence and peace.


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