Taking it to go

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Summertime is a great time to go on day trips -- the zoo, the theme park, the beach, etc.  The problem is knowing what you’ll eat while you’re out and about.  There are a great number of resources to help you find restaurants that serve vegan food at your destination -- Happy Cow is one of them -- but most of the time, you might want to play it safe and just pack a lunch.

I have quite an extensive collection of lunch containers -- bento boxes, StayFit containers, takeout containers from Garbanzo and Noodles and Co, etc.  The greater the variety, the greater the inspiration!  Why be limited to paper bags and Ziploc baggies?  The lunch pictured above contains the following:

From top left, clockwise:

  • Alfalfa sprouts, fresh mint from my garden, baby carrots, tomatoes, and vegan Caesar dressing in the bear container (a la Dollar store)
  • Blueberries, raspberries
  • Back to Nature crackers with We Can’t Say It’s Cheese spread and a mint sprig, baby carrots and a tomato half for decoration
  • Melon
  • The baggie (ok, so sometimes you just need a baggie) contains walnut/nutritional yeast “parmesan” cheese.

This meal will serve myself and my three kids just fine.

A few helpful hints:

  1. START with the fruits and veggies.  Make sure you include freshly cut veggies with a dip if you like and whatever fruit is in season.
  2. Make the food look FUN -- my daughter was watching me make this lunch and was stealing nibbles -- I had to send her out of the kitchen!
  3. Make sure it will travel well -- tightly packed lunches stay appealing -- if you can keep your lunch upright then that’s great, but let’s face it -- car trips usually do a number on the whole presentation aspect!  So if you’re not sure it will stay in place, at least make sure the foods you group together will taste good together!  (My carrots might end up getting cheeezy but that actually sounds good!)

Have fun and don’t let meal planning get in the way of your summer activities!