The Whole-Food Plant-Based Answer To “What Do I Send to School???”
Frankly, I was not too fond of getting back into the whole school routine. Neither were my kids. We had the most beautiful long summer holidays and loved spending all the time together. The house still feels empty without the kids. Sniff. Anyway, I have a couple of more weeks before I go back to work and I will use this time to 1. ride my road bike, 2. write posts, 3. cook new dishes, 4. organize the launch of my soon-to-be-available-whole-food plant-based family cookbook which I am really excited about, 5. finish our food related interactive children’s book which will hopefully be available at the same time and 6. work on the kids/ website which will feature whole-food plant-based cooking videos for children (and prepared by our children- we have so much fun making these videos! Something always goes wrong or at least not as planned and we are cracking up). Looks like I have a couple of intense two weeks ahead of me, filled with projects though that I absolutely enjoy.
Back to the inevitable school start. To get back into the groove preparing all the school foods, I made a list for of our children’s favorite snacks and lunches and put it up on my fridge. I thought you might be interested what ended up on this list. I hope it will give you some new or interesting ideas and will help you solve the “what I am going to send to school today” dilemma.
A lot of the puddings and layered snacks I pack into small mason jars. It looks pretty and I’d rather place foods in glass or aluminum containers instead of plastic.
- Hazelnut chia pudding with cinnamon and blueberries http://plantbasedhappy.com/?page_id=6090
- Overnight steel cut oats layered with fresh berries and drizzled with maple syrup (I would leave out the banana slices from the recipe and just go with the berries) http://plantbasedhappy.com/?page_id=983
- Polenta fries with aioli (now that’s quite a fancy snack) http://plantbasedhappy.com/?page_id=4956
- Simple guacamole (my kids like it simple with mashed avocado, chopped tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro and salt and pepper) with corn chips (you can find some pretty healthy ones)
- All sort of fruit salads (spice up the salad with chopped mint leaves or drizzle a bit of cold peppermint tea over the fruits). Great combos are grapefruit, oranges, pomegranate seeds and mint leaves; peaches, mint and blueberries; pear and raspberries.
- Apple slices with homemade nut butter (my kids love almond butter) http://plantbasedhappy.com/?page_id=605
- Leftover pancakes with maple syrup in a small container on the side to dip (the dipping makes it so special) and berries on the side (you’ll find all kinds of pancake recipes in the breakfast section, but the banana oat pancakes are the most popular ones) http://plantbasedhappy.com/?page_id=393
- Trail mix
- Tapioca pudding with berries http://plantbasedhappy.com/?page_id=269
- Waffle triangles with fruits
To make things a bit more interesting, use different types and shapes of bread like rolls, slices or wraps. My children prefer lunches that don’t look too “weird” compared to other kids’ lunches so I try to keep it fairly simple. What they like to eat at home is not what they necessarily want to take along to school. They are not keen on getting negative remarks from other children. I also try to stick with seasonal vegetables to have a natural rotation in their meal. You can also break the routine by cutting the veggies into different shapes or grate some of them.
- Grilled whole grain sandwiches with homemade pesto, grilled zucchini and eggplant, mint leaves, tomato slices and baby lettuce leaves. For the pest, I would reduce the amount of oil and garlic if used in a sandwich http://plantbasedhappy.com/?page_id=1589
- Sandwich with mashed avocado, lime juice, cilantro, pumpkin seeds and greens
- Toasted garlic bread (slightly toast bread, add a drop of olive oil, rub a garlic half on it and add a bit of sea salt. Sub fresh garlic with oven roasted garlic to avoid garlic breath ), veggie sticks on the side (tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber)
- Toasted sandwich with almond butter, pecan nuts, banana slices and manuka honey
- Sandwich with basil lemon spread, roasted sunflower seeds and lettuce and veggies (cherry tomatoes) on the side http://plantbasedhappy.com/?page_id=4067
- Leftover pasta or gnocchi in an insulated container
- Plant-based tacos. Roll up leftover taco filling, add cilantro, lime juice in a whole wheat tortilla and toast it in a panini grill (or pan).
- On and off the kids love to have fake meat nuggets to school because so many other children have chicken nuggets for lunch. I usually make my own seitan nuggets, but for emergency lunches I keep a store bought version in the freezer. Send to school with corn and peas on the side… and a bit of ketchup in a separate container.
My kids prefer something naturally sweet, so you can pretty much use all of the cookie, brownie and cake recipes from the dessert section on the main page. Cookies and brownies are always great to take along, as are fresh fruits. Also, leftover breakfast often times comes in handy, e.g. pancakes or waffles. When the kids have an afternoon activity right after school, I often times take a smoothie along, either homemade or bought (and it’s always a green one!).
Hope this was a bit of help!