What’s in my tiffin today? (first appeared in yowoto.com)


Packing a tasty, creative and quick lunch box is an art that you learn over the years. But to get you started, here are 3 amazing recipes

‘Tiffin’ is what we call in India for a packed lunch box or the food in it. Moms want to pack a tasty lunch for their child’s tiffin but kids often come back with their lunchboxes untouched! Here’s why:

  • The food is boring: Children often come home with half-eaten food, simply because they think it’s boring!
  • Food can be messy: Apart from the fact that they are boring, most times I wouldn’t eat my lunchbox because it used to be messy (sorry, mum) and I did not like to dirty my fingers when the next thing I had to do was go play—there was simply no time to waste in washing hands!

And moms fret over making tiffins because:

  • They want it to be nutritious.
  • Should have little preparation time. After all, mornings aren’t the best times for cooking a whole meal!

One thing I have noticed is no matter what you make—creative or not, if you call the food something interesting, it will go down your child’s throat and to his tummy that much faster. So, that takes care of the boring part. Here are 3 of my recipes which take care of the nutritious, creative as well as the quick part of the lunch box. Also, these are not messy food and it take no time away from your kid’s play time during the recess.

When in doubt, wrap it up
This is basically a chapati with some filling. The filling needs to be interesting and you need to call it a wrap or a burrito (whether it has rice in it or not) or a rollwich.  The recipe here involves avocado, so you can call it the Amazing Hulk Rollwich. It is also a great way to sneak vegetables into your kid’s meal.

Preparation time: 10 mins


  • Chapati (or any flatbread will do): 2
  • Thousand Island Dressing (since I don’t like mayonnaise): 2 tbsp
  • Boiled and shredded chicken: ¼ cup
  • Cheese (cheddar preferred): 1 slice
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce: ¼ cup
  • Avocado: 1
  • Diced fresh tomato: ¼ cup
  • Lime juice: to taste
  • Shredded carrot: ½
  • Shredded green pepper: ½


  1. Scoop the flesh from the avocado. Add a dash of lime juice. Mix the tomatoes, carrot and green pepper. Set this aside.
  2. Spread the Thousand Island Dressing on the chapati, leaving ½ an inch outside untouched.
  3. Spread avocado over the dressing.
  4. Add the shredded lettuce. Over that, add the chicken.*
  5. Add cheese strips and carefully roll the chapati like a wrap. Cut into two and serve.

*You can replace the filling with cottage cheese instead of chicken.

Fill them up with the colours of the rainbow (Pasta salad)
Call it the Rainbow Pasta. You can use whole wheat pasta in various colours. To this, add a rainbow of vegetables. This is a great way to sneak in veggies into your kid’s diet. Douse it with white or red sauce if you don’t want the kids to know where the veggies are.

Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins


  • Bow tie pasta, preferably whole grain: about 200gms
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 3 tbsp
  • Corn kernels: ½ cup
  • Beans: ½ cup
  • Red bell pepper (cut into bits): 1
  • Carrot: 1
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt: to taste


  1. Cook the pasta with a spoon of olive oil and some salt. Drain and toss. Let it cool.
  2. Boil the beans, corn, pepper and carrots but not so much that they lose their crunch.
  3. Mix with the cooked pasta and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and salt and toss.
  5. Use any other seasoning you like or add white/red sauce additionally.

Frozen fruit cups for dessert
These are pretty easy to make and you can call them Fruity Slushies.

Preparation time: 10 mins


  • Bite-sized portions of bananas, apples and grapes: 1 cup
  • Orange and pineapple juice concentrate: 1 cup
  • Lemon juice: 1/3rd cup


  1. Combine all ingredients in a very large bowl.
  2. Freeze in plastic cups with covers.
  3. These can be taken to school and can be eaten when in slushy consistency.

Do you have any interesting recipes that are hits with your kids? Do share!

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