4 Tips For Making Vegetarian Lunch Prep A Breeze
It’s that time of year again- lunch-making time! While we have all been anxiously waiting for the kids to go back to school, we aren’t necessarily embracing the fact that there will also be lunches to prepare. Preparing school lunches has to be one of the biggest frustrations for moms. Are you with me on this? Especially when they come back uneaten. What can you do to alleviate some of this frustration? You can facilitate the process by following a few simple rules to make quick and easy vegetarian lunches:
1. Plan, plan, plan
Each week make a list of the lunches you want to prepare including the fruit, vegetables and snacks. Add these to your grocery list so you have all the items on hand.
2. Keep a well-stocked pantry
Have canned chickpeas, black beans or kidney beans and couscous, rice and quinoa. To make weekday preparation a little easier, take some time on Sunday to empty beans into storage containers for the fridge and cook up some rice or quinoa, also to keep in the fridge. If time permits, combine beans and grain with some vegetables to make a salad. Store in the fridge for easy portioning the night before.
3. Get your kids involved
Ask your kids what they would like to take to school for lunch. Half of the challenge is figuring out what to send. If your kids tell you what they want, that’s one less thing for you to think about. Ask kids to chop veggies or wash and cut fruit. They should share the task, after all it is their lunch.
4. Ensure each lunch is well-balanced
Balanced macronutrients mean kids have enough fuel to focus at school. Include the following:
Protein – tofu, beans, eggs, seeds or seed butter, edamame, hummus
Fruit – apples, oranges, bananas, kiwi – whatever your child likes. Cutting the fruit into bite-sized pieces makes it easier for kids to eat.
Vegetable – any vegetable will work though try to choose one that isn’t the same colour as the fruit. Ie. don’t send carrots and oranges together.
Homemade treat – prepare homemade treats like cookies, granola bars or squares
Lunches really don’t have to be complicated, here are a few suggestions, just add a homemade treat and you are all set.
- Couscous and chickpea salad, carrot sticks and an apple
- Brown rice and black beans, cherry tomatoes and orange slices
- Quinoa with diced carrots and peas, celery sticks and blackberries
- Whole wheat tortilla with hummus, red peppers and cucumbers, snap peas and a banana
- Stir fried rice with edamame and broccoli, cucumber slices and diced mango
Here is a great healthy treat to pack: Granola Cookies
Karen Gilman is a Certified Holistic Nutritional ConsultantTM and mom to two teenage (yikes!) girls, one vegetarian, one not. For Karen, preparing vegetarian meals for the past 30 years coupled with the Diploma in Natural Nutrition from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, has provided her with the insight and tools to provide help to families whose children are vegetarian. If you have a vegetarian in your household grab a copy of her FREE e-book Vegetarian Teen Basics For Busy Parents here: https://www.nutrilicious.ca/ or for a complete guide to vegetarian lunches, download a copy of Karen’s Vegetarian Lunch Box here (http://eepurl.com/dEL_qr).