Balancing meals with the School time rush

My son is 8 years old. I am worried that he is unable to eat breakfast before he leaves for school. His lunch too is not balanced. Then at 4pm he has a big meal and again he is unable to eat a proper dinner. Could you please guide me with a balanced diet plan for him.

Please note that it is very unhealthy to begin your day without breakfast. A child on an empty stomach will not be able to concentrate in class and will not be able to think clearly. He may also be moody and bad tempered with other children in this state. Even if you have to wake up your child 15minutes earlier you must see that he does not leave the house without eating.

Here are some quick breakfasts.
A glass of milk with 2 slices of toast.
A cup of cornflakes with milk. Oats or ragi porridge with milk.
Bread and egg, bread and cheese, idli or dosa and sambar, are all quick to eat foods.
If this is not possible at least a glass of milk and a small banana is the minimum required.
In such a case then a sandwich may be sent to school for the 10am break.

Ideally I would recommend the proper breakfast and then some fruit and snack for the 10am break. Please try to organize and plan that snacks like chocolate, pastry, chips,frys,etc. are consumed at the 10am break and not so much in the late evenings as they then get stored as fat at night. If my husband brings a packet of chips in the evening I tell my children to put it in their basket for tomorrows snack at school. The same goes for bars of chocolate or cookies and cakes. Heavy, fatty snacks like chips or chocolates must be restricted to only twice a week.

Please do not however send only snacks for their lunch. Lunch tiffin must be a properly balanced one. They must learn from a young age that breakfast and lunch are proper meals and not get into the habit of light eating in the earlier part of the day and heavy eating in the evenings which is one of the major factors contributing to the great rise in incidents of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

Lunch suggestions- Rice, sambar and pallya (cooked vegetables). Chapati, thick dal and sabji. Lime rice or pulav with chole. Chapati rolled with vegetable and shredded non-veg. Chapati with egg and vegetable burggi(scramble), Noodles, vegetables and egg or paneer.Curd rice plus palya or sprouted moong sabji.

4 pm is tea time and not lunch time so please do not serve lunch at this time . A glass of milk or curd lassi is a must and then biscuits or sandwiches may be eaten here. At 6pm after play a fruit is a must too. Then dinner is a balanced meal again. Roti or rice with dal or pulses and a vegetable dish must be the base. Curds and non-veg can be added and a salad has to be served with dinner.

If making a continental dinner the balance must be right. Pasta must be served with some vegetable and white sauce, cheese or egg. If bread and soup, the soup must have milk, egg or non-veg or sprouts in it. Those sitting up late to study may have a fruit and milk later but please do not indulge in chocolates, cookies, ice-cream late at night.

Remember food should be distributed as breakfast + snack 40%, lunch + tea 40% and dinner 20% . If it is breakfast 0-10%,lunch 20% and dinner 70% you are paving the way for obesity and disease. As we begin this new academic year let us resolve to establish a healthy eating pattern for our children and ourselves.

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