Let's set the scene. Cool kid sits down at cool table at lunch, surrounded by cool friends and unzips cool lunch box revealing a mountain of...SCARY TOWN inside. Colorful packaging of cookies, candy, energy drinks and snack packs cleverly graffitied with the latest marketing craze. Having worked in our schools, I see it all the time. Our kids are up against it all in the school cafeteria, let me tell you.
Let's be honest. I fight a sometimes winning and sometimes losing battle with this one. It can be daunting to pack a healthy, energy sustaining, nutritious lunch that will win over our kids' taste buds yet not make them feel like all they’re missing is a sign taped to their back that says “kick me”.
I find having a stocked pantry, the right hardware and some good preparation help me stay on the winning team of packing healthy lunches. It might help empower your kiddos to seek their help with lunch packing. If you’re struggling with what to pack, I’ve scoured the internet and come up with some ideas that might help you out...see if they can pick out a few things to try from the list below.
Pancakes and maple syrup
Crepes with their favorite nut butter- check out regular, whole wheat & gluten-free from thevegancorner.com
Chocolate Peanut butter Overnight Oats- see recipe below
Mock Tuna Sandwiches
Noodle Bowl- whisk soy sauce with rice or apple cider vinegar and maple syrup to taste and add to hot noodles
PB & J Donut Sandwiches- like these from Fork & Beans
Bagels and vegan cream cheese with optional sliced cucumber
Vegetable Sushi -I’ve done my homework and found this is all the new rave at the lunch table, even in elementary school. Watch Cristy's video on how to make you're own!
Soups in a good thermos & crackers
Catsadillas- Check out a cute creation from Fork & Beans
Ramen noodles such as Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods or Lotus Foods
Beans & rice (or quinoa)
Pasta and marinara sauce
Vegan cheese/veggie quesadilla
Vegan grilled cheese
Cucumber & hummus sandwich
Apple & Nut butter sandwich
Nut butter banana rolls- Spread nut butter on tortilla, add thinly sliced banana, roll up and cut like sushi
Veggie Pinwheels- Spread vegan cream cheese on tortilla, add small diced vegetables, roll up and cut into pinwheels. Alternatively, add layer of salsa for a Mexican kick.
Bean burritos- or try this one with an Italian twist from veggiesdontbite.com
Bagel sandwich- load up with your favorite fillings such as vegan cream cheese and vegetables, guacamole or avocado, lettuce, tomato and vegan mayo, hummus and veg, precooked pizza toppings or your favorite nut butter and jam
Breadsticks & marinara for dipping
Wraps- load up with fillings such as shredded vegetables, baked beans, refried beans, lentils, chickpeas, corn, whole grains, roasted potatoes, hummus, guacamole, vegan ranch, cherry tomatoes, tahini, ect.
Fresh cut veggies and hummus
Salad on a stick- favorite veggies cut and threaded on skewer; serve with vegan ranch or favorite dressing
Easy to eat fruit (grapes, berries, pre-cut & peeled fruit) and non dairy yogurt for dipping
Muffins- try these blueberry oatmeal Muffins from Happy Herbivore!
Wholly guacamole minis
Individual hummus containers
Snack bars- Lara, Clif bars, Luna, Kind (check labels to be sure they don't contain dairy)
Roasted chickpeas - try these from Dreena Burton's Plant Powered Kitchen
Pretzels and nut butter
Homemade trail mix- dried fruit, nuts & seeds, granola, Oh’s cereal, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, pretzels
BPA free water bottles
Bento boxes, planet box, tiffin boxes or other safe reusable lunch box with small compartments
Thermos containers usually around $15
An assortment of packing containers
Smaller containers for dips and sauces
Wax paper sandwich bags, reusable snack bags or other collapsible snack bags
3 TIPS FOR LUNCH PACKING SUCCESS
Jeanmare and Cristy are creators and contributors of the Living Simply Nourished Blog. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee!), find a cozy spot, scroll around, read some stories, find some inspiration, and enjoy!
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