It's almost that time again, my little ones will be heading back to school in just a few more days. While we're soaking up these last few days of summer vacation, because geez this summer went by so fast, I'm also getting organized and ready. Getting back to the normal routine after relaxing the last couple of months really helps make the transition a little easier on everyone. So, I'm thinking about school lunch and wanted to share some of my girls' favorite foods to pack along with some of my tips to ensure those lunches don't end up in the trash.
Keeping school lunch exciting can be a real challenge, even for the most seasoned mom, so you might think vegan lunches are even more difficult. It can be if we're going through a picky phase, but for the most part we've found lots of ways to keep everyone happy and satisfied.
One thing we started doing last year, was having our girls pack their own lunches. We set up three categories for them: main dish/protein, fruits/veggies, and snacks/treats. They were able to pick an option for the main dish, two for the fruits and veggies, and one for the snack/treat. We made sure to have plenty of options from each category available to them and each night they would set about making their choices keeping in mind those guidelines. We also gave them reusable containers to help with portion control. At first, my oldest wasn't really into it since I had always packed her lunch before, but after a few days she came around. They both really loved the freedom it gave them over what they were eating and I loved that it gave them ownership while teaching healthy eating habits.
I won't say that it completely solved the problem of unfinished lunches, but it definitely cut back on it. When a container did come back with leftover food it was mostly due to my oldest chatting too much and running out of time. Since it worked so well, we will be using the same strategy for this school year as well!
Here's a list of the foods my girl's enjoy taking, maybe it will help make packing your own little one's school lunch a little easier!
quinoa - quinoa tots, broccoli quinoa sticks, sweet potato spinach quinoa burgers
hummus with pita or a wrap with veggies - green pea hummus shown
tofurky deli slices
vegan cheese slices
walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, etc.
rice with veggies or beans
nut free mac 'n "cheese"
leftovers from dinner
rice cakes with nut butter, hemp seeds, chia seeds
nut butter and fresh fruit sandwiches
Fruits and Veggies:
apple slices with cinnamon - dusting the slices with cinnamon hides the harmless browning that happens when an apple is sliced so picky eaters are none the wiser!
dried fruit - mango, apricots, pineapple, raisins
homemade granola bars - pb chocolate chip, double chocolate mint oat squares,
granola- seedy apricot granola, double chocolate peanut butter granola
annie's bunny fruit snacks
muffins - GF banana mini muffins, cinnamon pear mini muffins
cinnamon raisin butternut squash squares
no bake peanut butter oatmeal balls
I hope you've enjoyed this list and maybe found a little inspiration for packing your own vegan school lunches!
Do you pack lunches and if so what kinds of foods do your little ones like to take?
Check out @weelittlevegans on Instagram to see what my girls will be packing the first week of school!
This post is great and you did a great job! I love how you break down the different components of a meal and give examples. Lots of good ideas here.
Thank you so much Cheri 💚 I'm so glad you found the post helpful!