Beat Tiffin Troubles with Beets!
School tiffins are the bane of a parents’ life! The planning, preparing & packing… all made worse when you realize your child hasn’t eaten the tiffin at school!
Tiffin is just another meal, right?
Most school going children (4-17), carry 1-3 meal portions, depending on the length of their school day. These school lunches and school snacks easily account for 20-60% of their daily energy and nutrient requirement. This necessitates a healthy, tasty, filling and varied menu for each day.
But how does one ensure that the kids actually eat the tiffin? Involving the child in the planning, preparation and packing process can invoke a sense of accomplishment making him or her less resistant to the school lunch.
This month, let’s get introduced to two tiffin recipes for kids using beetroot which are healthy, tasty yet indulgent. Yes, beetroot.
The best part about these kid friendly recipes is that you can involve a child as young as 4 in their preparation. And they can both be cooked in advance without fear of spoilage.
Beetroot is universally acknowledged as one of those ‘healthy’ veggies that kids love to hate. Some kids will eat raw beetroot in salads or maybe as juices too and if your child is one of them, you are lucky!!
Beets are known as nature’s ‘blood purifier’ while also being a rich source of antioxidants and Vitamin C. So, obviously they are excellent additions to our children’s diet.
Beetroot Recipes for School Lunch
This recipe is definitely part of my Easy Healthy Snacks for Kids repertoire. Incredibly, it is also a simple, one bowl cake recipe that works really well when baking with young children.
- 1 cup wheat flour (maida)
- 1/2 cup wholewheat flour (atta) or multigrain flour
- 50gms grated beetroot
- 100gms butter
- 100 gms milk chocolate
- 1/2 cup castor sugar / pounded jaggery, adjust as per taste
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup Milk, or as needed
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
Serves: 12-14 kids/ 8-10 adults
Time Required: 20 mins prep + 30-40 mins baking
- Preheat oven at 170C.
- On the side, melt the butter, chocolate and sugar in a saucepan/bowl.
- Add the grated beetroot.
- Allow your child to stir the contents of the bowl slowly. Be cautious that the bowl may be hot and unwieldy for the younger ones. My 4 year old likes to hold the bowl wearing an oven mitt (with matching apron of course!) while stirring with her other hand.
- Add the egg and mix through.
- Stir in the atta, maida, salt and baking powder.
- Take over from your child for a bit as you fold the mix with care and add milk alongside until the batter has a thick consistency.
- Let them play around with the batter a bit – an occasional lick is allowed – and ignore the table top mess that is bound to happen.
- In the meantime, ready the baking pan by lining with butter paper. If using silicon cupcake moulds like me, no prep is required.
- Hand your child a spoon and let them carefully ladle the mix into the moulds. Remember to fill no more than half the height of the baking pan and moulds.
- Put the cake mix in the oven. Children should stay away at this stage to prevent burns.
- The cupcake moulds will bake within 25-30 mins while the cake pan may take at least 40 mins.
Beetroot Carrot Rice
This beetroot rice recipe is so delicious that both adults and kids can’t stop eating it!
The cooking process involves working on the gas, so use your judgement in how involved your children should be. My 4 year old likes to stand on a chair while watching me cook and sometimes holding my hand while stirring.
- 1 cup raw rice
- 1 medium beetroot, grated
- 1 medium English carrot, grated
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped chunky
- 1 green chili, thinly sliced (optional)
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 8-10 curry leaves
- ½ tsp raw chana dal
- ½ tsp raw urad dal
- Pinch of heeng/ asafoetida
- Salt, to taste
Serves: 5-6 kids/2-3 adults
Time Required: 15 min prep + 10 min cooking
- Pre-cook the rice and keep aside.
- In a separate pan, heat the ghee.
- Put the mustard seeds. Let them splutter.
- Add in chana dal, urad dal, asafoetida, curry leaves and green chilly (if using).
- Allow the child to throw in the garlic, using a long handled spoon to stay away from the heat.
- Once sizzling, finely chopped onions can be added.
- Stir in the grated beet root and carrot. The carrot balances the sweetness of the beet (for a sweeter touch, avoid the carrots and add in one more beet to the mix).
- Let everything sweat for 2-3 minutes.
- Measure out the salt in the long handled spoon and let the child stir it in.
- Take over from them and sprinkle some water to the mix, if needed.
- Cover and cook on sim until the beets and carrots have lost their raw flavour (roughly 5 minutes).
- Switch off the gas and leave covered until ready to eat.
- Take the mix off the gas. The child can fold in the freshly cooked rice slowly. Beetroot carrot rice is ready to serve!