National Pack Your Lunch Day: Healthy tiffin recipes for all seasons
Planning your tiffin mindfully and well in advance ensures right things go into it. Here are one-pot meals you can easily prepare for tiffin.
What you pack in your lunch not only determines your energy levels for the day but also your long-term health. Eating junk every day and not adding sufficient fibre to one of the most important meals of your day can increase chances of chronic diseases from diabetes to heart disease. Planning your tiffin mindfully and well in advance ensures right things go into it. Seasonal vegetables, salads, yoghurt, lentils can be added in a variety of interesting recipes that will make you look forward to lunch time. If you do not fuel your body with balanced and healthy food, one is likely to feel very cranky and tired in late afternoon and this can further make you crave for sugary and junk foods loaded with empty calories. (Also read: Winter breakfast recipes: 5 tasty protein-rich foods to start your day with)
National Pack Your Lunch Day is celebrated every year on March 10 and encourages you to pack your own lunch with things of your choice. Healthy doesn't have to be boring. To celebrate this day, here are some healthy and tasty tiffin recipes you can make at home.
What should go into a healthy tiffin box? Archana Karthick Clinical Nutritionist Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru, Kanakapura Road answers this.
- A portion of healthy whole grain cereals
- Plenty of fruits and veggies
- A portion of dairy or calcium rich alternative
- Some protein portions such as lentils, pulses, egg or meat
- Fats and oils
Here are 3 simple one-pot meal recipe ideas suggested by the nutritionist for school going kids:
1. Beetroot pulao
Beetroot is a superfood which is loaded with vitamin, minerals and antioxidants. It’s also very rich in iron which prevents your kids from anaemia. An excellent source of fibre, it prevents constipation.
Sona Masoori rice – 1 cup (wash and soak it for 20 minutes)
1 small onion- sliced
1 medium tomato- chopped
1 green chilli- slit and deseeded
1 tsp. fresh ginger garlic paste
¼ cup of fresh peas
½ potato –chopped
1 medium beetroot- grated
1 tsp each coriander powder
1/4th tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp. finely chopped mint leaves
Garam masala item- 1 cardamom, 2 clove, 1 bay leaves, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 1 star anise
1 tbsp. ghee for seasoning
Method to prepare
- Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in the cooker. Add all the garam masala items mentioned.
- Once it begins to sizzle, add sliced onion and chilli, and sauté them until onion become golden brown.
- Add freshly prepared ginger-garlic paste and sauté until raw smell goes off.
- Add chopped tomato and sauté until it become soft.
- Add coriander powder and turmeric powder and sauté for a minute.
- Add chopped potato, beetroot, peas and chopped coriander and mint leaves.
- After sauteeing for a minute, add water and salt as per your taste.
- Finally add soaked and drained rice, cover the lid and pressure cook for 2 whistles on medium flame.
- Once pressure settles on its own, open the lid and just fluff up the rice lightly as all veggies would have settled in the bottom.
- Now beetroot pulao can be enjoyed with tomato cucumber raita along with 1 medium apple as after lunch snack.
2. Mixed vegetable and palak khichdi
Spinach is also one of the most nutrition green leafy vegetables, as it is high in iron and prevents anaemia. It is also a great source of Vitamin A (good for eyes), Vitamin K (needed for blood clotting and building of bones) and Vitamin C which helps to increases immunity and also helps in better absorption of iron.
1 cup sona masoori rice
1/4th cup split green moong dhal (wash and soak for 10 minutes)
½ onion – finely chopped
1 cup mixed vegetable (carrot, beans, peas, cabbage)
1 handful of washed and chopped spinach
1 handful of washed and roughly chopped mint leaves
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tomato – diced
1 inch ginger - finely chopped
1 green chilli- slit and deseeded
Method to prepare
- Heat 1 tbsp. of ghee in the cooker add ½ tsp of cumin seeds.
- Once it begins to sizzle, add sliced onion and chilli, sauté them until onion become translucent
- Add finely chopped ginger and sauté for few second.
- Add all the chopped vegetable mention above along with tomato, spinach and mint, and sauté for a minute.
- Then sprinkle some water, close the lid and keep it in sim for about a minute.
- Finally add soaked and drained rice and dhal, add crushed pepper, turmeric and coriander powder mix it well.
- Then add 2½ cup of water salt, close the lid and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
- Once pressure settles, open the lid and just fluff up the rice lightly.
- Now spinach-mixed vegetable khichdi can be served along with curd and roasted phool makhana in your kid's lunch box along with grapes as after meal snack.
3. Mushroom methi paneer biryani
Mushroom is a vegetarian source of Vitamin D, which improves bone and immune health. Mushroom is loaded with health-boosting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Paneer is a very rich source of protein especially for vegetarians and rich in calcium which helps in building stronger teeth and bones.
1 cup Basmati rice (wash and soak for 20 min)
½ cup thin Onion slice
1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
1 slit deseeded Green chilli
1/4th cup tomato puree
½ cup button mushrooms (100 grams)
½ cup Paneer cubes
Coriander leaves -fistful (chopped )
Mint leaves -fistful (chopped )
Methi leaves- fistful (chopped)
Thick curd – 1/4 cup
Salt to taste
½ tsp chilli powder
¼th turmeric powder
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
For the seasoning
Oil/Ghee – 1 tbsp
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
Bay leaf – 1 (optional)
For cooking the rice
Cinnamon -1 inch piece
Ghee -1 tsp
Marinating paneer and mushroom
In a bowl, add thick curd, 1/4th of the chilli powder, coriander powder, biryani masala, ginger-garlic paste, and little salt and mix well. Then add the mushroom and paneer cubes and mix well. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
Method to prepare
Cooking rice: Heat a tsp of ghee, add cloves, cinnamon and sauté the rice for a few seconds. Then add 2 cups of water, little salt and cook the rice till 3/4 done. Drain the excess water. Do not cook fully as we will be cooking again in the end. We do not want a mushy biryani.
- Heat 1 tbsp. of ghee in the cooker. Add all the Garam masala items mentioned under seasoning.
- Once it began to sizzle add sliced onion and chilli, sauté them until onion become golden brown.
- Add freshly prepared ginger garlic paste and sauté until raw smell goes off.
- Add tomato puree, turmeric powder, garam masala and sauté until oil separates.
- Add methi leaves, sauté for a minute, and then add marinated mushroom and paneer mix well.
- At this stage, add coriander leaves and mint leaves, salt and cook until mushroom is half cooked.
- Finally add cooked rice, cover the lid and keep it in low flame for 5-6 minute.
- Finally enjoy biryani with cucumber mint raita.