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June 18, 2021 Friday 02:53:13 PM IST

Pudina Delight

Parent Interventions

“The right kind of food is the most important single factor in the promotion of health, and the wrong kind of food is the most important single factor in the promotion of disease.” Eating habits acquired during the youngest years persist into adolescence and young adulthood. Children learn to like foods they are provided repeated opportunities to taste. Their food preferences also are influenced by being told about food and rewarded for their food choices and they learn by identifying with their parents’ food choices.

 In today’s world, both the parents need to work to make their ends meet and families are small or nuclear. In such instances, the most ignored aspect becomes the diet and the most affected ones are the children, especially their ‘lunch’.  Everybody stresses the importance of eating breakfast, and making the dinner ‘light.’  So what about lunch?  Why is it important to have a wholesome lunch?

Importance of Lunch

Lunch is a meal that keeps us moving, it helps in regulating the blood sugar levels and maintaining the body metabolism. Most importantly, a well-balanced lunch would decrease evening junk food cravings in kids. Junk food craving in the evenings is a very common issue seen among school-going children, including teenagers. 

Fortunately, kids these days are smart and they know what is healthy and what is not, but in the evenings it is hard for them to control the cravings, because of the unregulated blood sugar (due to unbalanced lunch). And, this is what makes it problematic, the knowledge of a healthy diet and the cravings. This dilemma can lead to plenty of behavioural problems in adulthood and can even lead to eating disorders or other lifestyle maladies like obesity in the later stages.

Easy Cook

 So, what does a well-balanced lunch include? This includes a variety of dairy, meats/beans/eggs/nuts, grains/ whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. But let’s face it, who gets the time in the morning to prepare a 3-course or 5- course meal before work!  I have mostly seen school-going children carrying their breakfasts as lunch or buy their food from the school cafeteria, this being more common now. However, today’s scenario is a little different due to the pandemic. Working from home has made the parents even more stressful, so we need to cut them some slack. Parents have to juggle between cooking meals, their job and managing the child’s online classes, and all of this becomes an enormous task. Planning the meals considering all the food groups to make it balanced, well in advance would help to a certain extent. The simplest way is to remember is to retain this triangle:

Meals Ready: Pudina Rice

Serving Size: 3 to 4


• 1 cup uncooked Basmati rice

• Oil/ghee – 1 tbsp

• 1 cup pudina leaves or mint leaves (tightly packed)

• Onion – 1 finely chopped

• Tomato – 1 

• Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp 

• Bay leaf – 1 or 2 

• Cinnamon stick – 1” piece

• Turmeric powder – ½ tsp 

• Red chilli powder – 1 tsp (optional)

• Green chillies – 1 or 2 (according to taste)

• Salt to taste


1. Firstly, pluck the mint leaves, wash it properly and add one cup of tightly packed leaves

to the blender.

2. To this add 2 green chillies. Blend this into a coarse paste.

3. Now, heat a tbsp of oil/ghee in a cooker and add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick to


4. Once, this turns aromatic, add ginger garlic paste and 1 finely chopped onion and

sauté it till the onions turn translucent, now add 1 chopped tomato, turmeric powder

and chilli powder (optional) and sauté it until they are soft and mushy.

5. Now, add the blended pudina mixture to this and mix well.

6. Further, add 2 cup water and 1 tsp salt.

7. Also, add 1 cup basmati rice and mix well.

8. Cover and pressure cook for 2 whistles or until rice are cooked well.

9. Finally, pudina/ mint rice recipe ready to be served with vegetable raita.

Nutrition per serving of Pudina Rice:

Energy: 237 kcal | Carbohydrates: 52 g | Proteins: 6 g |Fats: 6g |Fibre: 2 g |Calcium: 6 mg | Potassium: 72 mg

Swathilakshmi Venu

Swathilakshmi Venu is Assistant Professor of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics at St. Teresa's College (Autonomous), Ernakulam

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