Some back to school lunch ideas with a multicultural twist

Its back to school time here in the US, and many parts of the world and if you are looking for some ideas to serve some multicultural lunches for your toddler, preschooler or kid, here are some ideas. These are based on stuff I used to like as a child and still like. Do add some ideas to this list so that we can have a good reference here for those days when we draw a blank.

Rolls: A Calcutta tradition, updated 🙂  In the US you call them wraps.

The covering:

  • Take a roti or a parantha or a whole wheat tortilla  (Just comment on this post if you need a recipe for roti or parantha)
  • You can use these dry or just saute them lightly on one side in a few drops of oil to make them crispier. I like the dry version.
  • If you like, you can beat and egg, and saute the covering in the egg and few drops of oil – thats how they often do it in the Calcutta road side stalls of my childhood.

The fillings: The variations on these are endless. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Take some boiled chicken, chopped onions, a little bit of garlic. Add salt and any herb you have in hand like Dhania or cilantro and saute all the ingredients together. Squirt some lime juice as you wrap it up.
  • You can use leftover cooked or roast chicken but its not really neccessary. I like the simple taste in this one.
  • You can add veggies such as chopped carrots, cabbage etc if you like to the above.
  • For a vegetarian filling: You can use potato (acts as a binder) mashed, carrots, peas, beans, soya bean chunks (instead of mashed) and use the same saute and wrap process as above. The
  • You can also use tofu/cooked paneer sauteed with bell peppers and salt

Quick Chow Mein

  •  Boil and drain the noodles according to package directions. Add a few oil drops to keep them from sticking together.
  • Add finely chopped veggies such as grated carrots, cabbage, beans, sprouts based on the childs choice and yours
  • Saute the mix with some salt or soya sauce
  • If you like you can add boiled chicken or chopped hard boiled eggs or chopped omlette to the mix.

Simple Sweet Semolina and Roti:

A little bit of a sweet favorite. You can make Suji as per the Indian and vegetarian baby food recipe post. Just serve sufficient amount in a container with roti/ parantha on the side. Makes a quick snack too, after coming home. You can serve some leftover veggies or salad on the side.

I also had written a post on multicultural toddler snacks and lunch ideas and had got some great suggestions in the comments section. Dont forget to look at the comments.


Last 5 posts by Khushi


  1. Sudha

    You can also make a roll with some modified cholle (boiled and cooked chick peas) and onions and garlic and maybe lemon juice. They fall out sometimes so maybe for older kids

  2. Anonymous

    Make idlis at home and cut them up into 4 pieces and put chutney on top of it..My son loves it

  3. Sands

    My daughter loves any kind of stuffed paranthas, potato, cauliflower,radish,peas,spinach, just about nay vegetable works.

  4. Khushi

    Hey, those are good ideas Sudha, anonymous and Sands.

  5. Khushi

    As a child, I loved stuffed paranthas and idlis. I think both these ideas will work very well. Cholle too was a favorite.

  6. joysree

    nice idea.if you put the covering over sauted and spreaded egg and just flip it.then add some lemon juice and black pepper crushed and simply will tastelike what we call mughlai paratha .

  7. Khushi

    Thank you for the Muglhlai Parantha suggestions.

  8. freewilly


  9. Khushi

    Freewilly, that is a great recipe. I also like the concept of keeping it in the freezer – it makes it so quick. Its a good point also on cutting veggies in fun shapes.

    Thank you.

  10. Riya

    Freewilly, I like the concept of freezing. Also, the multicultural lunch recipes. Calcutta rolls are always good to have. One thing is people forget just fruits are snacks too.

  11. Asha

    I am using some of these now over the summer!

  12. New Mom

    I tried the quick chow mein today and it was a hit. It has a bit too much oil though, I think I added some extra.

  13. Khushi

    Thank you all for your comments. Riya, freezing has become my friend over the last few years. Asha I am glad you are trying them.

  14. Khushi

    New mom, on the oil – I know what you mean. It looks like you will need more but then it turns out to be excess.

  15. Gulnaz

    Good ones and right on time.

  16. mk

    Nice ideas quite rightly said by Gulnaz. Upma too is good I think. My son started recently. the school have no nuts policy. So can’t pack peanut butter sandwich or give his dosa or idli with his favourite peanut chutney. Pls any ideas?

  17. Khushi

    Gulna and mk, thank you. I think cheese quesadilla or something with cheese may be a good bet. Also, pasta with tomato sauce or stuffed paranthas.


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