Does Your Child’s Lunch Make the Grade?
A lot has changed since I was in school. When I was a kid, class work was done with a #2 pencil and a composition notebook; the “three Rs” were reading, writing, and arithmetic; and none of my classmates owned a cell phone, or even knew what one was. But one thing hasn’t changed, at least not enough: Although several school districts have begun observing Meatless Mondays or offering regular vegan options, many school cafeterias still serve mostly mystery meat, pizza boats, and chicken nuggets. Most schools flunk lunch!
What’s a vegan mom or dad to do?
Pack your child a lunch box full of delicious—and nutritious—vegan foods, of course! PB&J is fine once in a while, but there are plenty of other easy and inexpensive vegan meals that your child won’t want to trade, no matter how much his or her classmates clamor for them.
Hummus, for example, is a tasty, healthy, and versatile spread that can be served on whole-wheat bread or a bagel or in a wrap, with chopped tomatoes, lettuce, sprouts, carrots, celery, and/or green onions. It also makes a fun dip for pita wedges, crackers, and carrots, cucumbers, and other fresh veggies. I recommend Sabra brand hummus if you don’t have time to make your own.
The following are a few other simple lunch ideas:
- Spread some vegetarian ham with vegan cream cheese and roll up for a fun and easy-to-eat lunch-box treat.
- For a healthy alternative to egg-salad sandwiches, try eggless “egg” salad: Mash together tofu, Vegenaise, turmeric, salt, and spices.
- Prepare an easy pasta salad by combining cooked spiral pasta with diced cucumbers, tomatoes, and/or peppers and chunks of baked tofu or mock meats. For more ideas, check out PETA’s recipes, or see the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s tips on raising healthy and happy vegan children.
I can’t guarantee that your son or daughter will get good grades, but I bet you’ll get an A+ for lunch!