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How to Make GOOD Vegan School Lunches

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With school starting for so many families, I want to share some tips and recipes to make the vegan shift as fun and long-term for your family as possible.

Check out videos and blog posts and tips below...

Videos:

3 Easy & Affordable Vegan School Lunches

How to Plan A Vegan School Lunch For Kids

Blog posts:

How to Make School Lunches Your Kids Will Actually Eat

Lunch Box Tip# 1: Fresh Fruit, Veggies, And Dips

Lunch Box Tip#2: 3 Reasons Water Bottles Are Better Than Juice Boxes

Try not to overthink vegan school lunches!

What are you already packing for your kids' school lunch? Work on replacing that meat, dairy, and eggs with healthier and more compassionate vegan options.

 

Quick examples:

  • Instead of a turkey sandwich with dairy cheese and mayo ---> Send sandwiches with vegan deli slices (Field Roast brand is good) and vegan cheese slices and mustard OR peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

  • Instead of dairy milk ---> Send chocolate almond milk, juice or water

  • Instead of Cheez-It crackers (contains dairy) ---> Send popcorn, pretzels or Ritz crackers (it's vegan)

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How to Make A Vegan School Lunch Your Kids Will Actually Eat

 

With school just starting for so many families, I want to share some tips (and easy recipes) on how to make sure your kids are enjoying a simple vegan school lunch.

When my family started this journey in 2010, my three sons would throw most of their lunch in the trash can. 

Real talk.

They complained that I never sent anything "good" and that no one wanted to trade with them because they didn't recognize hummus and kale chips.

This was very disappointing to say the least.

I wanted my boys to have as many fresh fruit and vegetables options as possible in their lunch bags -- and of course no meat, eggs or dairy.

 

Here's a simple formula that will make life easier for all...

Main Entree + Fruit/vegetable + Treat/junk food + Drink = Vegan School Lunch

The above formula gives balance and will allow you to give your kids healthy options and their favorite familiar treats that are vegan.

 

Examples of what each category in the formula looks like:

Main Entree: Peanut butter & jelly sandwich, pita pockets with sautéed vegetables and shredded vegan chicken strips (Beyond Meat is a decent brand sold at Target) and a bean burrito

Fruit/Vegetable: Grapes, apple slices & peanut butter, carrot sticks and hummus, mini salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomato, shredded carrots) with balsamic vinaigrette

Treat/Junk food: Plain potato chips, pretzels, and Oreo cookies

Drink: Water, chocolate almond milk and 100% fruit juice

 

This is just the beginning! The goal of this post is to give you the confidence to start (if you haven't already) with a vegan lunch that your kids will enjoy.

As time goes on, you will be able to get away with adding more healthy options to their lunch boxes.

Until then, be gentle with yourself and family as you navigate this better way of eating and life.

 

I did a video earlier this year with three simple and delicious vegan lunch. Check it out here....

I hope this is helpful!

What are your kids fave lunch meals?

 

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3 EASY & Affordable Vegan School Lunches ~Kid-Friendly (Video)

When we first started this vegan life, my kids would throw most of their lunch in the trash. They would complain that it didn't look like everyone else's lunch and how they just wanted "regular" food.

The key to simple and delicious vegan lunches your kids will actually eat? Make it as familiar as possible.  This is a lifestyle of abundance; not sacrifice. :-)

I came up with a simple lunchbox formula a few months ago to help you not overthink your kids' lunches.

Main Entree + fruit/vegetable + fruit/junk food + drink = Vegan school lunch

Read more about this and get more lunchbox suggestions on that blog post 

In this video, I put together 3 easy vegan lunches that you help you get started....


Lunch #1

Peanut butter & jelly sandwich, plain Lay's potato chips (yup, these are vegan) and strawberries

Vegan options for breads (This is just a short list-many more options are out there):

Cobblestone Mill Hoagie Rolls, Kaiser Rolls, Onion Rolls, Whole Wheat Bread
Dutch Country Soft Potato Bread & Whole Wheat

Arnold’s Potato Sandwich Rolls & Sesame Sandwich Rolls

Ezekiel 4:9 line of breads

Vermont Bread Company: Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread, Old Style Rye Bread, Organic Multigrain Bread, Organic Spelt Bread, Organic Soft Wheat Bread, Organic Soft White Bread, Organic Soft Multigrain Bread

 

Lunch #2

Vegan chicken pita pocket, orange slices & plain pretzels

Make sure you check the ingredients to ensure that there is no eggs/dairy in the pita bread you purchase. You can also make your own using this recipe

Vegan chicken brands (or you can just replace this item with black beans):

Beyond Meat

Gardein

Vegan Chicken Pita Pocket

by Brown Vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon of oil (to saute)
  • 1 medium bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 9 oz vegan chicken (Beyond Meat & Gardein are options) or black beans
  • 1 cup lettuce of your choice
  • Fresh cilantro, to garnish
  • 8-10 pita pockets

Instructions

In a large pan, saute the red bell pepper and onion on medium heat for about 6 minutes. Mix in the cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.

Add in the corn and vegan chicken (or black beans) and continue cooking for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Put a few pieces of lettuce at the bottom of each pita pocket and spoon about 2 tablespoons of vegan chicken mixture into each pocket.

Garnish with cilantro and enjoy

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Lunch #3

Pasta salad, hummus & carrot sticks, grapes and Oreo cookies (yup, the regular & golden Oreos are vegan

Here's the pasta salad recipe

You can buy pre-packed hummus or make your own using this recipe

Enjoy!

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How to Plan Vegan School Lunch for Kids (VIDEO)

If you're new to vegan life, the easiest way to transition your kids to vegan school lunches, is by veganizing (make a vegan version) some of the meals they're already enjoying.

Think about it like this.... if your kids love turkey sandwiches - start experimenting with vegan deli slices (I like the Field Roast brand) and use vegan mayo (Just Mayo is a good brand), lettuce, tomato & mustard to make their favorite sandwich vegan. Also, check the ingredients on the bread to ensure that it's vegan (no milk, eggs or butter). 

Try not to overthink it. You want to keep weekly lunches simple for you and delicious for them. :-)

I have an easy formula for making simple and delicious daily lunches....

Main entree + Fruit/Vegetable + Treat/Junk Food + Drink =                                                Vegan School Lunch

I talk about making school lunches and even show you how I put one together for my boys in this video...

Main entree - sandwich (peanut butter and jelly is a great option), burrito, taco, wrap (one with hummus, red bell pepper, lettuce & tomato is an easy option) or leftover soup from dinner in a Thermos

This is a pic of my youngest son, Brandon's lunch from when he was about 6

This is a pic of my youngest son, Brandon's lunch from when he was about 6

Fruit and/or Vegetable - any whole fruit that you have on hand - berries, banana, apple, pineapple, etc. Mini salads with lettuce, tomato, carrot & cucumber served with balsamic vinaigrette or any vegetable and hummus.  If you have older kids, a fruit and vegetable is probably a good idea because they eat more. Smaller kids should get one or the other so they don't waste food.

Treat/Junk Food - Don't skip out on the treat because kids love trading snacks! I know I used to back in the day. Plus, I think it's important for some of their food to look familiar.

Vegan junk food options mentioned in the video: Oreos, plain Lay's potato chips Earth Balance vegan cheddar popcorn, Late July chips (not all of their products are vegan; check the ingredients)
Clif Bar (not all of their products are vegan; check the ingredients) and Stacy's pita chips (not sure if all of their products are vegan; check the ingredients)

There are so many healthy junk food options out there! You can also check out PETA's accidental vegan list for some familiar (not healthy) snack options 

Drink - Water is best but I used to give my boys an organic juice box one week out of the week. You can also send your kids to school with almond or coconut milk (they even sell chocolate flavored versions of these) in a Thermos or drink box.

Remember to keep it simple, get the kids involved and have fun!!

 

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