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Updated: September 18, 2009 16:11 IST

What's for lunch?

MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN
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RECIPE Here's a yummy lunch option for picky children

My son is not a picky eater. In fact, he's adventurous what with all the recipe-testing that goes on in my kitchen; he rarely gets the same thing twice for dinner. But when it comes to lunchbox fare, he is a challenge.

He was fine at preschool, when I'd pack him little containers of tofu tossed with soy sauce, marinated carrots and melon. But those items didn't fly in elementary school. I would make the usual stuff that he was happy to eat at home - tuna fish sandwiches, peanut butter and honey. They returned home in the lunchbox every day.

I knew that kids at school give one another stuff from their lunchboxes and that he was probably getting his fill of the barbecue chips he never gets at home.

We went through a period of buying stuff to make sandwiches together, which worked only for a while.

Finally, I stopped making his lunch and began to give him money for the school snacks that he seemed to prefer, if he ate at all.

But in the summer, at day camp, there was no school lunch alternative, so we revisited the problem. We decided on a few things that worked - some wraps, and a kind of peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Children need something sweet in their lunchboxes, too. My son doesn't eat apples and doesn't like cut-up fruit in the lunchbox, though he'll eat it at home. Muffins are a good solution.

You can get fruit and grains into them, but they're still a treat.

This recipe yields ten muffins. They can be frozen; thaw overnight or in the microwave before serving.

Savoury cheese muffins

These have the appeal of both a muffin and a grilled cheese sandwich. If your child will eat these with the peppers baked in, all the better.

Ingredients

Whole wheat flour: 3/4 cup

All-purpose flour: 3/4 cup

Salt: 1/2 tsp

Baking powder: 2 1/2 tsp

Large eggs: 2

Low-fat milk: 1/2 cup

Buttermilk: 1/2 cup

Canola oil: 2 tbsp

Extra virgin olive oil: 2 tbsp

Cheddar cheese, grated: 1 cup

Red bell pepper, seeded and diced

(optional): 1

Method

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the middle. Oil or spray 10 muffin cups. Sift together the flours, salt and baking powder. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl, and beat in the milk, buttermilk, canola oil and olive oil. Stir in the cheese. Quickly fold the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Fold in the bell pepper, if using. Spoon into muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full. Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes in the cups. Remove and cool on a rack.

NYT News Service

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