All posts by Vishaka Shivaram


Sure, Friendship Day falls on a Sunday, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate it at school. A few days before Friendship Day, we asked our little co-conspirators, i.e. the children who eat our meals every day to nominate 5 of their friends each for a Friendship Day Surprise. The nominations poured in, with heartening & sweet reasons why they nominated the friends they did. You can see a few responses below. This plot was open to all children in schools across Bengaluru.
And on Monday, 7th August 2017, our troops marched on and served free MonkeyBox meals to all the excited friends at school – made fresh, served warm. We, at MonkeyBox, are really grateful for this opportunity of not just making sure children get the healthiest, most nutritious food in school, but also that they get to show their friends how special they really are. That’s all for now! Watch this space for more.

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On Father’s Day, kids do their best to show their dads that extra bit of love and appreciation. And since we directly interact with kids on a daily basis, we decided to help them out.

MonkeyBox delivers fresh, nutritious, and delicious meals to school kids during their mealtimes, every day, and is a refreshing alternative to the average tiffin box. So, a few days before Father’s Day, we slipped the following note into the kids’ MonkeyBoxes, inviting them to do something special for their dads.


Father's Day

We asked them to do something simple: write a special message to their dads on the note, and send it back to us in their empty MonkeyBoxes. Out of over 500 notes sent, we received an overwhelming number of responses from the kids. Take a look at some of the cutest ones below – believe us, we had a hard time picking!


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What happened next was a surprise for both the unsuspecting dads and their excited kids. We delivered the notes to the dads on Father’s Day! The end result was a large number of euphoric dads, and tons of brownie points scored for their kids at home. To us, that sounds like a mission well accomplished.

Out of the many hundreds, here are responses from some very surprised Dads.

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responssAt MonkeyBox, we know the things that make kids happy. And nothing makes them happy like seeing a smile on their parents’ faces. We hope this little surprise did just that and a little more.

Some fun facts on milk

What’s the one liquid super food that you, give your child especially when you are pressed for time? 




We are absolutely sure that it is the humble milk. Be it flavoured or unflavoured, it is often the go to beverage during that morning school rush or before the dash to after school classes or even to calm a midnight nightmare.

Milk and milk products such as curd, cheese, ghee or paneer, milk and its products are so important that they form a part of each and every healthy meal that we eat. In fact, it is such an important food not only in India but worldwide that it has its own day!! Yes, World Milk Day is celebrated every year on the 1st of June and this day is dedicated to highlight the importance of dairy in the areas of sustainability, economic development, livelihoods and nutrition among the public.

Therefore, to do our bit, MonkeyBox will take you deep into that humble glass of milk and unravel some pretty awesome milk facts.

  • Did you know that milk provides almost one fourth of a child’s daily requirement of calcium? It is a treasure trove of nutrients especially calcium and protein and is required for growth and development of budding children. Milk also contains magnesium, selenium, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and vitamin B5.
  • Want to skip milk? Think twice because then you’d have to eat seven oranges or six slices of wheat bread to get the same amount of calcium that you’d get in a glass of milk (250 ml),
  • We all know that the calcium in milk helps build strong teeth and bone but did you also know that milk can literally save teeth? Well, next time if a permanent tooth inadverently gets knocked out, don’t panic. Just drop the tooth in a glass of cold milk and rush with it to you dentist. Milk helps preserve the tooth until a dentist can put it back in its socket.
  • Milk has been shown to be the best post-exercise beverage as it helps repair and build worn out muscle tissue. So make sure to hand out that tall glass of cold milk to your child after a period of intense and vigorous playtime. It will be absolutely refreshing and will curb the pangs to reach out for that soft drink.
  • Did you know that about 5 kg of milk is required to make just 500 g of cheese.
  • Is your child allergic to milk? Then try baking with it. A study has shown that over time, kids who were fed the baked products ultimately did better with uncooked milk than kids who were completely kept off milk.

After reading these, we are sure that you would make milk a part of your and your family’s healthy eating plan. Do go ahead share these with your children and help them savour every sip of that glass of milk or every bite of that absolutely delicious piece of cheese.

Happy World Milk Day! Mooo!!




7 Sunny tips for your sonny child!

It’s summer! Time for children to be excited and the earth to be scorched. Worried for your child’s safety? These 7 tips are sure to put the fun under the sun!

 sonny child


  1. Screen out the sun: Whoever said sunscreen is a purely cosmetic product needs to give such a thought a re-look. Children who engage in outdoor activities need sunscreen too. Opt for a product with a minimum sun protection factor of 15 and keep applying every 2-3 hours. More often if the activity is around water. Remember to apply them 20 minutes before you go out in the sun.
  1. Hydration, super important: Replace colas, canned fruit juice or even fruit flavoured beverages for coconut water, freshly squeezed fruit juice and buttermilk. Does your child find plain water, a bit too plain Jane? Then add wedges of lime, orange, pieces of watermelon, mint leaves etc to make the water flavour some and much more appealing to the little athlete playing away under the sun.
  1. Watch on the summer time diet: Summers for children would mean major relaxing in their diet patterns. For many, it could herald the time for fried foods and ice-cream. Although a little indulgence is okay, keeping a watch on the diet is supremely important. Know more about it in our related blog 8 Summer time diet tips for children.
  1. If rest is assured then rest assured: The sun may do more than just make your child sweat. It can zap your child off energy too. So ensure they get plenty of rest, at least for 8-10 hours a day.
  1. Cool clothing for cool summers: Ensure you opt for only cotton clothes. Also remember to pick out light coloured clothing to keep your child cool.
  1. Avoid the mid-day sun: The sun rays are the most damaging between 12 noon to 3pm. It is best to avoid venturing out at this time. In case you have something planned, then do arm your children with large brimmed hats and umbrellas.
  1. R.I.C.E to the occasion: In case your child experiences outdoor play related injury during summers, ensure they get enough Rest; Ice and Compression to the injured area; and keep the areas Elevated.




Lifestyle hacks to ace that test!

Exam period! The phrase is synonymous with stress among both parents and children alike. With all this going on, it is important for us to not forget about certain key lifestyle based hacks that can help your children ace those exams.



Eat breakfast daily

Breakfast, the first meal of the day is meant to provide fuel to the brain. Studies have shown that children did better on performance tests when they ate breakfast compared to those who didn’t eat or skipped it regularly.

Also, ensure that your kids eat breakfast made up of complex carbohydrates such as

idlys, stuffed vegetable paranthas and oats porridge, this helps in keeping focus and prevents decline in cognitive performance throughout the morning.

Don’t forget the Zzzzzz’s

Research suggests that adequate sleep on a daily basis is important for learning and memory. Lack of which is associated with negatively affecting the brain’s ability to assimilate information. Sleep is also important for maintaining mood, motivation, judgement and perception of events.

Keep the kids active

Being physically active has been linked with several positive health benefits. Besides reducing stress and anxiety, aerobic exercise particularly has been linked to be beneficial for brain building.

Also, when children are physically active they can help get past mental fatigue. Thus, by spending some time on play will definitely benefit their brain.

Inhale and exhale (relax and meditate)

Meditation provides soothing effects to the mind and body. A recent study has also found that regular practise of meditation increased the mental ability, focus and memory in school going children.

You can also have a routine to mediate along with your kids and let the positive energy flow.

Eat right to ace that test

Eating the right kind of food along with regular timely intervals has been linked with brain development and maintenance. You can read ‘Eat your way to a super functioning brain‘ to know more.








Eat your way to a super functioning brain!


As we brace ourselves for the exams and cram in that last bit of information, it is important not to ignore good nutrition. Food intake plays an important role in brain development and maintenance. Here are few tips for eating right during exam season for a super functioning brain:




Make sure not to skip any meals

The brain uses nearly a whopping 20% of the energy that we require per day. In order to be able to pay attention without distraction, a steady supply of glucose (energy) in the form of complex carbohydrates is a must.

Therefore include a variety of dishes such as vegetable kichidi- raita, ragi roti- peanut chutney, rajma curry-roti in your diet and ensure to eat on time.

Eat right

Foods rich in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, iron, zinc, vitamin B6 and B12 have particularly shown to help in improving cognitive performance. Hence, dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, amaranth), pulses (kidney beans, chickpeas), nuts (almonds, walnuts), milk products (curd); root vegetables (sweet potatoes) and so on should be included in day to day diet.

Snack smartly

Candies, biscuits, colas, chips and sweets, are great for the tongue but are high in refined sugar which gives an instant sugar rush after eating but with time you mood slumps and get cranky.

Choose healthy snacks such as bhel puri with veggies & sprouts, khakra with pineapple salsa, trail mix (consisting of almonds, raisins, and pumpkin seeds), as they release energy slowly and help in sustained attention and memory.

Guzzle in H2O

Dehydration can make one feel lethargic and tired. Thus, ensure to keep yourself hydrated with water during studying; as research has shown that drinking adequate water helps boost memory, attention and improves cognitive performance.

You can also make it fun by sipping  in flavoured water (just add lime and/or fresh mint to water), tender coconut water or lemonade and tell “goodbye” to dehydration.




Acknowledgement for your feedback


“Thank you all the Moms and Dads for dedicating your life to the kids”

Was having a discussion with one of parents whose kid has subscribed for #monkeybox . He said we are working on a very noble cause and we will succeed if we align our thinking to the thinking of a parent. “think like a mom and you will win”

that got me thinking.. we have been doing this now for just about 6 months (6 month old Kid- need lot of hand holding) and always feel that even though we get once in a while pat on the back and always get to hear suggestions of how to run this… which we are very openly accepting. got this feeling now how difficult it is for a mom or a dad to keep serving the kid without any appreciation. I mean how do we expect our parents to keep doing so much for us and we get on with our life without stopping for a minute to acknowledge their efforts .. its not that they ask for … but we at MB felt the need to appreciate their effort.

So just felt like wishing every MOM and DAD out there.. as a kid… Thank you so much for Everything and for Being There when we need you.

The Magic of Mangoes


The mighty mango, or the King of Fruits as it is popularly known, has a long list of praises in its kitty, but what is less known than its rich taste and seductive yellow-orange tone is the fact that it is packed with antioxidants, fiber, and Vitamins A & C – all pretty much in line with “healthy eating,” as the trend goes these days.

We all have our favourite mango recipes — those that employ a particular part of the wonder fruit, and those that spare none of it, from skin to stone. Raw mango thokku, pickle, gojju, aam panna, are all delectable in their own way, and yet it is the salt and chili-powder sprinkled Totapuri that brings us the full-bodied essence of it, not to mention a rush of school memories.

Take the ripe fruit and you can employ it in a zillion ways – in wobbly puddings and runny kheers, creamy smoothies and frothy lassis, pulp beaten down to leathery squares or slid into cake batters. And yet it is the whole mango, its flesh bitten into and relished with the earnestness of a child, while the juices trickle freely down from the elbows, is what appeals to the lots of us with a weakness for both the fruit itself, and a slice of our childhoods.

While the fruit is still in season, reach out for a naturally ripened batch in your favourite variety (and God knows there are enough), and enjoy its goodness. Or if raw mangoes are your thing, go all out for a peck of farm-fresh ones. Here are a few things to keep in mind, while you do that:

  1. Say no to carbide-ripened mangoes – you can tell them apart easily, by checking for uneven patches of skin colour. If the mangoes look uniformly yellow/ orange, they’re probably carbide-ridden.
  2. Always exercise moderation while feasting on mangoes – if you overdo it, it could cause a tummy upset. One way to counter that is to follow up mango intake with a glass of milk. Also, mango is best digested when eaten after a meal. When consumed on a hungry stomach, it could lead to stomach-related problems.
  3. Wash the mangoes thoroughly – raw or ripe – before use. Take care to clean out the sap from around the tips, and to chop off the tips of the mangoes before cutting into them. The sap causes canker sores on the lips and in the mouth, and not only are they a sore sight, they’re pretty painful too.
  4. While pickling or curing mangoes in order to preserve them and enhance shelf-life, make sure the mangoes and the knife/ peeler/ cutting board are completely dry.
  5. If you’d like to preserve ripe mangoes for use during off-season, you could freeze the pulp and thaw just before using in juices or desserts.


Looking for a quick-fix mango recipe? Try this instant mango pickle, which takes just minutes to put together and leaves you with a pitch-perfect aftertaste, long after you’ve relished it with your meal.

Instant Mango Pickle

Peel and chop 2 small raw mangoes. Heat 2 Tbsp sesame oil in a frying pan. Add a teaspoon of mustard seeds and a pinch of asafoetida/ hing. Once the mustard seeds pop, add salt to taste, a tsp or two of red chilli powder and 1/4 tsp each of turmeric and powdered fenugreek/ methi seeds. Now take the pan off the heat, stir in the mango. Wait for a few minutes and enjoy!




It is Time to go Bananas on Mangoes!

We sure are with our all-mango day and we are giving reasons for you to be so too!

mango edit

Summer is here and among all the things, it is the season of the much loved fruit, the mango! This brilliant yellow fruit boasts of a pleasant aroma, unique flavour and wonderful nutrition profile. This wonderful fruit is said to have originated from the sub-Himalayan plains of the Indian sub-continent, also a reason its botanical name is Mangifera Indica! Little known to all, mango has some nutty relatives: This wonderful sweet fruit belongs to the family of Anacardiaceae, a family that also includes the tropical trees of cashewnuts and pistachios!

MonkeyBox understands the love for mangoes that children share and hence are commemorating a day only to this King of Fruits. Right from infusing the healthy steamed idlis with mango to exploring the natural tart and sweet taste of mango in chats; our Monday menu can be officially renamed as Mango-day!

Vital stats of the beloved mango

Fresh mango season starts from April and lasts until August

Each fruit measures 5 to 15 cms in length and about 4 to 10 cms in width

The outer skin in unripe mangoes are green but changes to golden yellow, crimson red, yellow or orange-red depending on the type of mango!

The flesh of the mango is sweet with many tender fibres radiating from the seed.

Did you know, a high-quality mango fruit should typically feature no or very less fiber content and minimal tartness.”

Types of mangoes!

Every Indian state has a rich history of producing different varieties of mangoes. Have a look at this table

Indian State The Mango Heritage
Himachal Pradesh Chausa, Dashehari, Langra
Haryana Dashehari, Langra, Sarauli, Chausa, Fazli
Punjab Dashehari, Langra, Chausa, Malda
Madhya Pradesh Alphonso, Bombay Green, Langra, Sunderja, Dashehari, Fazli, Neelum, Amrapalli, Mallika
Jharkhand Jardalu, Amrapalli, Mallika, Bombai, Langra, Himsagar, Chausa, Gulabkhas
Uttar Pradesh Bombay Green, Dashehari, Langra, Safeda Lucknow, Chausa, Fazli
Rajasthan Bombay Green, Chausa, Dashehari, Langra
Bihar Bathua, Bombai, Himsagar, Kishen Bhog, Sukul, Gulab Khas, Zardalu, Langra, Chausa, Dashehari, Fazli
Goa Fernandin, Mankurad
Maharashtra Alphonso, Mankurad, Mulgoa, Pairi, Rajapuri, Kesar, Gulabi, Vanraj
Gujarat Alphonso, Kesar, Rajapuri, Vanraj, Jamadar, Totapuri, Neelum, Dashehari, Langra
Orissa Baneshan, Langra, Neelum, Suvarnarekha, Amrapalli, Mallika
West Bengal Bombai, Himsagar, Kishen Bhog, Langra, Fazli, Gulabkhas, Amrapalli, Mallika
Andhra Pradesh Allumpur Baneshan, Banganapalli, Bangalora, Cherukurasam, Himayuddin, Suvernarekha, Neelum, Totapuri
Karnataka Alphonso, Bangalora, Mulgoa, Neelum, Pairi, Baganapalli, Totapuri
Tamil Nadu Banganapalli, Bangalora, Neelum, Rumani, Mulgoa, Alphonso, Totapuri
Kerala Mundappa, Olour, Pairi


Surprised that your favourite fruit had so many variants? Of these varieties, we list down the 10 most popular mango varieties that has us salivating every summer season.

  1. Alphonso or Hapus

Undoubtedly, the showstopper of all the mango variants. India’s most exported mango, this is the mango most of us had drawn or coloured as a kid. This has a perfect sweet taste and colour. Do you know, alphonso mangoes are names after Afonso de Albuquerque, a Portuguese soldier who established Portuguese colonies in Goa. This variant is one of the most expensive of all the produce.

  1. Banganapalli

This oblique oval shaped mango gets its name from Banganapalle town in Andhra Pradesh. Undoubtedly, this is south India’s most famous and favoured mango variant. The pulp of this mango is known to be tart yet pulpy without any fibres.

  1. Dussheri or Mallihabadi

This mango from the Northern part of India is known to be a fibreless fruit. Small and very sweet, this mango has a typical way to be eaten. It is mostly pulped and then sucked on!

  1. Chausa

The end of the mango season, around July-August marks the appearance of this mango variety. Chausa variety can be characterised by bright yellow skin and extremely sweet pulp.

  1. Totapuri

If you are a resident in the South of India, then you must have seen this mango being sold almost everywhere. This mango is named so because of the signature hooked tip like a parrot’s beak! It is not the sweet variety and hence makes for a great tangy addition to salads, pickles and even in the occasional sauce!

  1. Kesar

Behold the parent of the super tasty aamras. The striking part of the kesar mango is that it has a typical saffron aroma! In the mood for aamras, you know the variant of mango to pick up.

  1. Langra

Langra is one of the prominent and most superior variety of mangoes from North India. It gets this typical name, which means lame, because it first made an appearance in the orchard of a lame man.

Nutrition profile of the king of fruits

The brilliant yellow of the mango signifies the presence of vitamin A, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. 100 grams of mango provides 765 IU or 25% of recommended daily levels of vitamin-A. The polyphenolic compounds in mango acts like a great antioxidant warding off the free radical onslaught. Mango is also a rich source of antioxidant vitamin C, vitamin E, B-complex vitamins, potassium, and copper. Many of these vitamins and minerals are involved in the production of enzymes which also have antioxidant activities in the body.

Ripe versus raw, which to go for!

Even raw mango has a place of its own in the kitchen. Right from the very refreshing aam panna to the spicy pickle, raw mango is a hit in its own right. Extremely tart, the raw variant of this fruit is richer in vitamin C than its sweet, ripened self. Where sugars are concerned, your bet is right; raw mango has 60 calories per 100 g serving whereas ripe mango has 72 calories per 100 g serving.

Did you know, raw mango is an excellent cure for stomach upsets and indigestion. Add a bit of aamchur (dried raw mango powder) for not just a good ‘gut’ feeling but also for a good dose of vitamin C in the diet


There, we have given you enough reasons to include mango in the diet. For those of you who haven’t experimented with this tasty fruit, this is time to do so. We are doing our bit and making Monday worth looking forward to!




World Milk Day; A day dedicated to one of the most nutritious foods on Earth!


Importance of cow milk in children

While children younger to a year are not advised cow’s milk, whole cow milk can be given to children aged 1 to 2 years. This is because the fat in whole milk has shown to help in the brain development. However, depending on the child’s weight, skim milk can be preferred after the child is over 2 years. Additionally, imagine getting some important nutrients just from a glass of milk? Indeed, milk is a treasure trove of nutrients in the diet.

Nutrients contained in milk

It is known that milk is a good source of protein and calcium. Milk is the medium of vitamin D fortification too. Apart from this, milk is also a good source of vitamin B2, and vitamin B12. Among the minerals, milk provides iodine and phosphorus, important in bone-building. These are the nutrients for conventional milk.

Did you know, grass-fed cow milk (organic milk) is a rich source of conjugated Linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are shown to have a positive effect on immunity, reduces inflammation, body fat, blood sugar levels, and helps build lean muscle. We are not done highlighting milk nutrition. Milk is also a rich source of phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, isoflavones which act as antioxidants.

What about lactose intolerance?

Terms such as lactose intolerance have been thrown around quite often! Well, for the uninitiated, lactose is a kind of sugar naturally present in milk. Some people can’t digest this sugar resulting in a host of discomforting symptoms. So what about children with lactose intolerance?

Yogurt or fermented milk is one of the dairy option that can be fed to children. Apart from that, the market is flooded with low-lactose or modified lactose milk. Children could be fed other milk such as soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk among others.

Takeaway points

Although we may not realise but most of us rely heavily on milk for nutrition. Choose for organic milk varieties to derive maximum nutrition. Additionally, low fat or skimmed variants of milk can help keep the danger of weight gain away. All in all, celebrate this year’s world milk day with a glass of cold milk.