We are in to our second week of the school year. Because there are no vegan options on our school lunch menu I pack lunch for M to take to school every day. Like last year I am always looking for ideas to keep M's lunch fresh, new and exciting for her. Just in time for the start of the school year, Lindsay the Happy Herbivore, posted her ideas for great packable vegan/vegetarian lunches. She's got many many great ideas for fantastic kid-friendly lunches. If your school, like many, also has less than vegan friendly lunch options please visit this site, and sign the petition to get healthy vegetarian school lunches available for our children.
In addition to packing lunch every day, I also have to pack a healthy snack for school. Because the snack must be packed in the backpack, and left hanging on a hook for most of the day it needs to be non-perishable and durable. It also needs to create little mess and be able to be eaten in a reasonable amount of time. Therefore, things like yogurts (soy of course) and fruits are not good options. Fruit, except for apples, typically gets smashed and bruised in the backpack. M has an aversion to bruised fruit, and right now she is missing more teeth than she has left, so whole apples aren't the easiest thing for her to eat. We've found that bars typically fit all of the requirements for afternoon snack. She loves Larabars, but they are expensive and not practical to take everyday (especially when mommy has a Larabar habit that she has to feed daily). Chocolate Chip Oat Bars are a good choice, and she took them quite often last year (she was always the envy of the class when she brought these....the teacher was even known to ask if she could break off a bite!!). But, as always, I'm trying to find or develop new snack options.
When thumbing through the latest issue of Yoga Journal magazine I ran across a recipe for chewy granola bars. To my delight these granola bars were totally nut free, meaning S could enjoy them as well. You could of course add nuts to these, and they would be great. I didn't follow the recipe exactly, it called for a lot of dried fruit and crystallized ginger, that I didn't think my kids would eat, and I think the trick to getting kids to eat healthy is to disguise it as a treat. Hence, my version, chewy chocolate granola bars. You can take this recipe, use the method, and develop a plethora of variations on this granola bar......enough snacks to last the entire school year. Once the were ready, I cut them into bars and wrapped them individually in wax paper, ready to go in the back pack all week.
**Remember, taking a few minutes before bed each evening to lovingly prepare a healthy lunch for your child means so much to them. It only takes a few minutes and ensures that your child will have a lunch well suited to a successful day at school.