Being Women

Tiffin Box Woes – Every Woman’s Dilemma: Celebrating National Nutrition Week

National Nutrition Week commences from September 1 till September 7. TSS women share their stories of tiffin box recipes and valuable advice.

‘Even today the tiffin box remains untouched.’

‘What can I do to make my child eat?’

‘Why doesn’t he have his tiffin?’

‘I am totally out of ideas for tiffin.’

‘I am so frustrated trying to pack a tiffin.’

‘My kids are bored of the tiffin I pack.’

These are the questions that threaten to bog down a mother every day of the week. A headache for every school-going child’s mother is what to pack for their child’s tiffin. Not just children, packing a dabba for their husbands can also be a pain.

The editorial team shared this predicament on their Facebook group The She Saga. The members could relate to this issue at hand and poured in their recipes and suggestions.

Mukherjee Sushmita makes Falafel, Baba Ganoush and Sabudana Vada. She prepares beforehand, preferably the night before and deeply fries, shallow fries or air fries in the morning. According to her ‘Baba Ganoush is nothing but Labanese begun pora.’

Learning- Plan in advance. Cut, grate, chop, boil. Keep it ready the evening before.

P.C Sayantika Sengupta

Tarot Reader Swati Sarkar has a huge list for #tiffinboxideas. Her skills lie in preparing stuffed bread and grilled sandwiches. There are some easy snacks that she always relies upon:

Shell Salad: Boil macaroni shells. To this, any of these can be added, based on what is available – boiled potato pieces, tomato, cucumber, lettuce leaves, capsicums chopped, cheese or paneer crumbled. Depending on taste buds few fruits like strawberries, apples, pears, pineapples, and grapes can also be chopped and added, along with salt, pepper and other dry herbs of choice. Little honey improves the taste.

Learning- Kids love variety. Ensure you have varieties in the box. That builds up the excitement.

Chapati Roll: To two leftover chapatis, apply tomato ketchup, put cheese in between and add finely chopped vegetables (capsicum, tomato, carrots). Sprinkle salt and pepper, microwave for 30 secs, then turn the rotis around and do the same. Let it cool and then cut it into triangles.

Peas & Corn Rice: In a Wok, add a little Cumin seeds and peppercorn to roast, then add butter. Upon melting add little slices of onion, followed by cubes of carrots and some Peas with sweet corn. Stir for a few minutes, followed by adding washed and drained raw/ basmati rice. Stir it a little, then add salt, stir and add the required amount of water as per rice measurement. Cook for two whistles. Open only after the pressure gets released.

Stuffed Bread

Learning- Make something that’s easy to cook and definitely something that cooks faster.

Ipsita Bhattacharya laments. “It’s such a headache. My daughter wants something new every day. So I make Upma, Poha, Pancake, Appe, Bread and Egg Bhujiya, Noodles, Sandwich, Alu Paratha, Paneer Parathas, Basanti Pulao, Vegetable Pulao, Vermicelli Upma, Egg Roll, Pasta. I make them on a rotation.”

Bahnika Sen is fortunate as the playschool gives her a schedule.

Learning- Prepare a calendar in advance. For example, Monday is pancake. Tuesday is French toast. Involve your children while planning the timetable. They also feel happy about it. A sense of ownership Is built in them.

Dr Shivani Salil always keeps some of the boiled Rajma, Kaley Chaney, Choley on the side when she makes them. “They are a good substitute for potatoes in vegetable cutlets. My daughter loves them in her tiffin. It’s a protein source as against potatoes and quite filling. I also keep steamed quinoa in the fridge. Add that to the mix and you get a whole new texture in the cutlets. It’s a good binder too.”

Learning- It should not be just healthy but appealing as well.

Mukherjee Sushmita shares a few recipes.

Paneer Paratha– Grate Paneer, add salt, chilli flakes and any seasoning of your choice. Put the mixture in atta dough, roll and make paratha in less oil.

Quick soya chunks – Add a little oil in kadai, then add soaked soya chunks, salt, tomato sauce, soya sauce and noodles masala. Cook for 1-2 mins, add a little water, let it simmer and absorb the sauce and masala. Keep it a bit moist for better taste.

Roasted Makhana – Heat ghee/butter in kadai, add the makhanas, some salt pepper and chilli powder, Roast for 2-3 mins. And it’s done.

Learning- These are quick recipes that she has developed. Not traditional, but they consume very little time. Even her daughter loves them. Make meal times comfortable. Give them food that’s easy to handle. There are time limits for tiffin breaks. For example, cut the parathas into small sizes. Make small-sized pakodis which are easier to eat and definitely faster.

Paromita Chakraborty

She and her husband both step out to work. The prerogative is to pack healthy food cooked with less oil for afternoon snacks. She makes Idli Sambhar, Stuffed Roti with Dhaniya or Pudina Chutney, Chiwda Pulao, Suji Upma with veggies, Sprout salad and oats biscuits, Boiled chickpeas with veggies and pepper powder etc.

Learning- Maintain the right balance. A protein, a carbohydrate, a dairy item, a fruit, and a vegetable. That’s what a meal should look like.

P.C Sayantika Sengupta

Ushasi Dutta

She prefers to keep the tiffin items half-ready and assembles them in the morning. By 7.30 a.m., she has to prepare a full lunch box for her husband, breakfast for him and a morning heavy breakfast for her little boy and his tiffin. Tiffin items mostly include Chicken/paneer tikka roll, homemade chicken or veg burger, mixed rice with paneer, diced chicken and egg, Paneer or sattu paratha + aloo dum, sandwich, Chowmein and pasta

Piyali Deb Prasad Another tip that comes to her rescue is kneading the dough with spinach paste/grated beetroot / grated carrot. It’s a variety of colours and she also makes chutney to accompany the parathas/puris.

Learning- Colours appeal to kids. Break the monotony by adding colours.

P.C Sayantika Sengupta

Arpita Chakrabarty

“Add chopped veggies in atta or oats Atta and make pancakes. I add pasta seasoning and cheese to it too! Saute veggies along with paneer/chicken! Send it with some toasties! If your child has a sweet tooth then make Atta, Jaggery chocolate cakes or muffins! Add chopped vegetables to an egg, and beat well! Line up the muffin tray with pieces of bread, add the egg mix and bake!”

Learning- The child’s preferences, personality and definitely, and taste buds matter. Do not follow anyone blindly. Also, there are allergies and pre-existing medical conditions to consider.

Purba Sen Gupta

Lists down a few easy recipes.

Easy chicken shwarma: Take roti, pre-cooked chicken and shred it. Add mayo, tomato ketchup, roasted masalas which are ground into a powder (bhaja moshla), cucumber and chopped onion. You can add chilli and lemon juice and wrap it.

Easy tacos: In a chapati add tomato sauce, sauteed vegetables, and cheese. You can add paneer or chicken and put it in a sandwich grill. Serve with mayo.

Artificial Moghlai: In a batter of flour, milk and egg add abundant veggies. Make pancakes.

P.C Sayantika Sengupta

It is to be noted that peer pressure is the main setback. “X brings chicken nuggets to school daily. They are ready-to-eat packages found in the supermarket.’ Help your child to understand the differences between junk and healthy food. Explain how homemade food is far better than those available outside.

In the end, remember you are the mother. You know your child better than anyone else. Give them what they can eat. Don’t push too hard. Keep a watch on how much they are eating before leaving for school.


National Nutrition Week commences from September 1 till September 7. TSS women share their stories of tiffin box recipes and valuable advice.

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