Post updated August 25, 2016
Attn: Parents! It’s the end of August and you know what that means – it’s back-to-school time. Many of us still have a few weeks left before the school year starts, but our favorite big box stores have already decked their aisles with bazillions of colorful notebooks, backpacks, and crayons – a not-so-gentle reminder that the carefree days of summer are over. Are you feeling the pressure to squeeze in some final beach days and barbecues before everyone readjusts to their new schedules? We’re right there with you.
If you’re like many moms and dads, one of your biggest back-to-school struggles is packing healthy lunches that your little ones will actually eat. Kids constantly change their minds about what they like (and don’t like), and it can be hard to keep up. That’s why this school year we encourage you to think outside the lunchbox to put together some tasty mid-day meals your kids will go nuts over. Of course, each of our suggestions aligns with a vegan meal plan to keep your kids healthy, active, and alert all day long.
Here are a few of our favorite vegan lunchbox ideas to try this school year, which are inspired by recipes from PETA Kids.
- Have your own snack making adventure: Kale, Potato and Sweet Potato Chips
- Make a veggie dog in a blanket. Wrap a veggie dog in a Pillsbury® Original Crescent roll and bake. Pack ketchup and mustard for dipping.
- Create crunchy PB&Js. Cut rice cakes in half with a sharp knife. Spread one half with jam and your kid's favorite nut butter, and then top with the other half.
- Make veggie kebobs with cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and baked tofu cubes. Pair with “ranch” dip (combine Tofutti Sour Supreme with McCormick Spring Onion Dip Mix).
- Build your own mini pizza. Pack a toasted English Muffin (Weight Watchers Fork Split English Muffins are vegan) a small container of pizza sauce, a sprinkle of soy cheese, and veggie pepperoni.
- Provide the fixings for vegan tacos. Fill your kid's thermos with vegan taco meat or refried beans. Pack taco shells and their favorite taco toppings.
- Make a better “Beefaroni” by mixing together macaroni, Smart Ground meatless crumbles, and tomato sauce. Pack it in a thermos to keep it warm until lunchtime.
Pair any of the above vegan lunchbox ideas with a sweet treat and an afternoon snack. Try fresh fruit, a soy yogurt cup, raisins or other dried fruit, pretzel sticks, nuts, and individual bags of bite-sized carrots or celery to see what your kids like best.