Back-to-School Vegan Lunch Ideas
So long, summer! With school starting (or just around the corner for a few lucky kids), most parents have back-to-school clothes, school supplies, and new backpacks on their minds. One thing you don’t want to overlook is making sure that your child has a complete, nutritious, and tasty meal while at school. Luckily for you, I’m here to help you pack a lunch with punch!
Load Up on Fruits and Veggies
Fresh fruits and vegetables are obviously great choices for packed lunches. To liven things up, add a small container of homemade hummus, vegan cream cheese, or creamy peanut butter for dipping. Pop the lunch box in the freezer overnight, or put a cold pack in it to keep everything fresh.
1 lb. chickpeas, cooked
3 cloves garlic
2–3 Tbsp. lemon juice
2–3 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped coriander
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt, to taste
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. paprika
- Put the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, water, parsley, and coriander into a food processor or blender and blend to a smooth paste. Gradually add the olive oil, stirring constantly. Stir in the salt.
- Pour the hummus into a serving dish. Drizzle the olive oil over it and sprinkle on the paprika.
- Serve at room temperature.
Makes 4 servings
Send a Complete Meal
Pack all the fixin’s for a cold pizza pocket or a build-your-own burrito in small containers. Once at school, your child can create his or her own lunch from scratch. This is a great way to keep the ingredients from getting that soggy texture that’s all too common in packed lunches.
Cold Pizza Pocket
1 whole grain pita pocket
2 Tbsp. tomato sauce
1 cup assorted fresh vegetables
1 Tbsp. vegan cheese, optional
1 tsp. basil or oregano, optional
- Tear pita in half, fill it with all the ingredients, and enjoy!
Makes 1 serving
2 Tbsp. salsa
1 Tbsp. guacamole
2 Tbsp. black beans
Cubed baked tofu, chopped lettuce, onions, peppers
1 soft tortilla shell
- Take your pick of fillings and place them on the tortilla. Roll it up and start munching!
Makes 1 serving
Dessert Can Be Simple
Happily for us, some fruits can be disguised as dessert to fool the unsuspecting student! Some of my favorites include dates, mandarin oranges, and strawberries. Or create a simple trail mix to please the palate and give your child extra energy during afternoon classes.
Simple Trail Mix
1/4 cup mini pretzels
1/2 cup mixed nuts
1/4 cup dried pineapple
1/4 cup raisins
1 vegan chocolate bar, roughly chopped
1/4 cup coconut flakes, optional
- Mix all the ingredients together. Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 2 cups
Brave the Lunch Line
Let’s be honest―it’s bound to happen: You’re too busy to pack a lunch, or your child forgets his or her lunch at home. Be sure to store a few dollars in your child’s backpack or locker, just in case. Asking your child’s school to provide vegetarian and vegan options is a great start, but it’s more persuasive if the request comes from the student. Take a look at peta2′s latest campaign, The Veggie Burger Project, to help you get started.