Back to school

With the school season in full swing, I am constantly looking for new ways to make easy and fast school lunches.  I have developed a list of suggested staples for your pantry and refrigerator for school-aged vegan children:

Pantry:

Pirate’s Booty Lunch box sized bags
Larabars (our favorites are PBJ and Peanut Butter Cookie)
Orchard Bars
Applesauce (we like the Peach flavor)
Fruit Roll Ups (the Simply Fruit kind)
Toaster Pastries
Granola
Walnuts, Almonds, Dried Fruit

Refrigerator:

Minis -- mini apples, pears, oranges (clementines), cucumbers, tomatoes
Coconut yogurt
Vegan Jello
Soy Pudding
Almond milk
GoodBelly juices

Freezer:

Mini waffles
Boca Chicken Patties
Edamame

My secret to quick lunches is to make extra dinner every night and store leftovers in color-coded Ziploc containers.  Pink for my daughter, green for my son.  In a smaller color-coded container, I put the fruit we ate for dessert that night.  With the main entrees all ready (and I do mix them up a bit so the kids don’t have the eat last night’s dinner for lunch all the time), and the fresh fruit all chopped and in its place, all I have to do is pick out a veggie and a snack!  If I’m feeling adventurous, I make the lunches from scratch and use our Laptop Lunchboxes.

Of course, a lot of these food items are not high on the “healthy” list, so I try to leave them as a last resort.  However, as long as 75% of the meal is fresh fruits and veggies, I don’t have too many qualms about throwing in a natural toaster pastry every once in a while.  And my kids always come home with comments from teachers, such as, “can I live at your house?  Your food looks yummy!”  Their friends do notice that our food is different, but so far that’s worked in our favor: “oooh, what is THAT?  Can I have some?”  (smile)

 

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