“Mom not sandwiches again”- is how I get greeted nearly every other day of the week as I send my 7 year old off to school. As I try to console myself that it can be pasta tomorrow, I actually feel a bit guilty for palming off the easy stuff onto my child. But is the easy stuff always the healthiest stuff. A Big NO is what resonates in my head.
So what do we give our children today which can be prepared in under an hour in the morning, fresh tastes good enough so he doesn’t voluntarily pimp his lunch box off to his friends in return for theirs and makes me feel like a health conscious mom. I decide to genuinely tackle this problem head-on today morning.
So I sit down with a pen, paper as well as my lap top and try to search for smart healthy fixes. An hour into the google-sphere, I am lost amongst gorgeous pictures of pastries and ice creams, and drool worthy images of fattening and what possibly couldn’t be healthy food. All this surfing has made me hungry, I fix myself a quick smoothie and am back to work in half an hour. So what will Rahul like…….. well he loves his palak (and I regularly remember to thank the Gods for that small mercy) and he loves his rice. So after googling exotic versions of palak paneer and palak bhurji, I decide to focus instead on lovely mixture of his favorites Palak Khichdi a sumptuous and nutritious khichdi made with mung lentils, rice, spinach and peanuts.
I instantly went to try it out since I had all the required ingredients. Satisfied with the outcome for a first time attempt I realized how important rice can be in a meal. It is also the ingredient provided by the government for the preparation of Mid Day Meals in Maharashtra. As a cereal grain rice is the most widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world’s human population, especially in Asia. Lakhs of children nationwide are consuming rice and its various versions on a daily basis. And when one looks into why NGOs like Annamrita the largest Mid Day Meal provider in Maharashtra provides khichdi to children we should appreciate the importance of its nutritional content rather than its lack of flair.
Nutrition and health should be the focus for helping under privileged children who otherwise would be struggling with a basic meal and not how attractive the dish looks and how exciting and different it is. It is all about priorities and as a Mother if I find it tough to make sure my child eats his own box and that it gives him the nutritional boost required daily, I think we should all be very thankful to Annamrita for serving children various version of khichdi and rice dishes which safely ensure the children consume their veggies and get the required calories.
Well, I am proud with my find for today, I know what I am going to give Rahul in his lunch box tomorrow even if it comes from my sweet and simple kitchen and not a hi-tech ISO certified kitchen like Annamrita’s. Tomorrow is another day and I am sure I will find some other variation of khichdi to prepare for him.
About the Author:
Goolnar K is an urban Mom who loves her food but loves her children even more and is always looking for a way to merge both her worlds. She is a philantrophist and has been associated with Annamrita for the last 5 years.