One of the biggest complaints I hear from parents who want to go plant-based is they can't get the whole family on board, but most especially the kiddos.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard, "How do I get them to stop eating cheese?!"
Exasperated plant-based parents unite! I've pulled together a collection of 5 plant-based school lunches (that kids will actually eat) to show you how easy it is to get kids interested in a more fruit and veggie filled diet.
When making changes to kids eating habits, novelty is key.
Unusual sandwich breads (i.e. whole grain waffles or pretzel rolls) are a great place to start. Items they can dip are even better. Pasta in fun shapes? Now you're getting it. It doesn't take more time to make these lunches than the standard PB&J, just a little more creativity (which now you are off the hook for).
5 Plant-Based School Lunches (Kids Love!)
Each lunch suggestion here contains a healthy mix of protein, fiber, and fat to keep your kid full, focused, and energized during the school day. Up the portion sizes for bigger kids but don't forget to add healthy sides to round out the meal.
Day 1: Pasta Salad
This no-recipe favorite is so easy to throw together. Pasta from last night's dinner with Italian dressing, sliced olives, garbanzo beans, and kid-sized cherry tomatoes offer your kiddo a mix of complete proteins, healthy fat, and a serving of veggies they won't even know is there.
Day 2: Peanut Butter & Banana Waffle Sandwich
Kids feel spoiled getting to eat breakfast foods when it's not breakfast time (what kid does not love having breakfast for dinner). Toast up a waffle, halve it, and slather on the PB. Tuck cut bananas safely inside (and add a drizzle of honey or pure maple syrup for a sweet surprise). Fun and done.
Day 3: Chickpea Salad Sandwich on a Pretzel Roll
Think your typical tuna, egg, or chicken salad mix- with mashed chickpeas instead. Mash a can of drained chickpeas with a fork and add a little vegan mayo (I also like a bit of honey mustard for tang). Chop up a couple of sweet pickles, mix, and spoon into the roll. You're going to want the leftovers of this one.
Day 4: Refried Black Bean Tostadas
The creaminess of refried (black) beans is usually enough to make kids forget about cheese. For these, crisp up two street taco sized corn tortillas (laying flat in a toaster oven gets the job done in less than 5 min). Warm up pre-made vegetarian refried beans (the black bean variety are my fave). Since canned beans are a little...lacking in flavor...spoon in a little salsa, or add cumin, paprika, and chili powder. Salt to taste and spread on one crisped tortilla, topping with the other. Pack extra salsa for dipping, (but skip it if you're afraid it will end up all over the lunch box).
Day 5: Mediterranean Hummus Platter
To make homemade (and healthy) pita chips, I cut whole wheat pitas into slices and crisp 'em in my toaster oven (turning halfway through cooking). Slice up cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, celery- what ever your kiddo loves- and pack a container of hummus for dipping.
So there you have it! I'd love to hear how it goes when you try these out with your little ones- leave me a comment!