Back-To-School: Vegan Lunch Tips for Kids
While everyone else seems to be worrying about whether or not their child is going to keep their face mask on at school, I have decided to take matters into my own hands and control my kids health the best way I know how, by boosting his immune system through food! Whether your family is vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian, there are simple choices to help get everyone on board with plant-based food options. I have compiled a list of my best lunch packing tips to share with all of you and I really hope it will help lighten your stress load going into this already overwhelming school year...
1. COLOURS: Focus on adding a variety of coloured plant foods. If you have a picky eater and want to save yourself from a great debate, fruits will do just fine in this case because it’s all about the colour. If they won’t eat green veggies, try green grapes or kiwi instead! Each colour you add contains a different variety of vitamins, minerals and health benefits. This is single handedly the most important thing we can do to help improve our children’s gut health and boost their immune systems right now!
2. OPTIONS: Rather than asking, “What do you want for lunch tomorrow?” which basically gives our kids permission to say “Oreo’s please!” At least that would be the option mine would choose anyway... Try asking, “Would you like apples or watermelon with your lunch tomorrow?” This gives us control in making sure they have healthy choices, but also gives them the control they desire because they get to choose from a list of available options.3. NO NEW FOODS: I don’t mean do not give them new things to try EVER, but what I do mean by this is, keep new foods out of the lunch box and save those for home. When you are introducing new foods, I always recommend giving it in a small serving to prevent waste and also overwhelm. Generally, every single kid will ask, “What’s that?” before they even consider putting it near their mouth and by serving the new option at home, YOU are the one who gets to answer and provide them with the information you want them to have. If you send a new food to school with your child for the first time, it would probably go a little something like this…
Your child: “What’s this green stuff?” (Let’s say it's broccoli in this case)
Other child: “Ew that’s broccoli, it tastes like mouldy socks”
Would you eat it after that description? I sure wouldn't!4. MAKE IT FUN: I always include a treat, whether it is something I baked at home using Outcast Plant Strong Protein (which adds a ton of extra nutrients from upcycled produce), or something I bought in a package. Baking allows me to have full control over the ingredients, which I love, but I don’t always have time for that. When choosing packaged treats, a few things I like to look for are:
- Short and easily readable ingredient lists (you should not have to google an ingredient to find out what it is!)
- Very little or NO processed sugar. Look for things sweetened with dates, raisins or fruit purees.
- Make sure it contains fiber. Fiber is a tell-tale sign that there are minimally processed wholegrains included. Less fiber usually means more processed and less nutrients are included…
We have so much to worry about when sending our kids back to school this year already, let’s not add packing lunches to the list. Don’t forget to wear your mask, wash your hands and eat more plants!
By: Hailey Croft