Written by Deborah on September 5, 2012 – -
Packing healthy lunch boxes for your children can sometimes seem like a daunting task. Can school lunches be both balanced, nutritious, delicious, and healthy? Yes! All it takes for you to develop a few good habits, and soon enough, you’ll be able to make healthy lunch boxes with your eyes closed!
A reader asked me the following question:
I would like to make my kids more raw vegan. What are good ideas for lunches at school?
I am restricted by the school to sending lunches that do not contain nuts, yet I need my children to get enough calories. What foods can I send with them?
Not only is health food sorely lacking from most school cafeterias, well meaning mamas are restricted in their options by no-nut policies. Nuts are fairly prominent in healthy diets like raw foods and Paleo meal plans, and eliminating them can make the seemingly difficult task of packing a healthy lunch box nearly impossible.
But fear not, resourceful moms everywhere relish overcoming obstacles for their bambinos’ benefit! Here are some tricks you can use.
Salads: Salads are amazing. Full of clean, pure water filtered by the plants themselves and loaded with many vitamins and minerals, salads are always on the menu at my house. And, they travel well too, believe it or not! Make a salad of chopped cucumber, red and yellow pepper, radishes, green onions, olives and tomatoes, and toss them with an olive oil/red wine vinegar/garlic/sea salt dressing. The longer it marinates, the better it is, so you can even make it the day before and keep it in the fridge. Or, make tabbouleh! Don’t forget that sea vegetables go great in salads, so don’t hesitate to sprinkled dulse here and there.
Don’t forget that veggies are a naturally “pre-packaged” food. Add a whole avocado to the lunch box, along with a wedge of lemon and a small packet of colored salt for fun. If knives aren’t allowed, slice the avocado lengthwise in half, coat the cut area with lemon juice, and reassemble it using cling wrap to keep it closed. All your child needs now is a spoon to dig out the yummy green flesh.
Patés: Usually referred to as nut patés, patés don’t need to be made of nuts. Check if seeds, like sunflower seeds, are OK. If they are, soak seeds for about 6 hours, rinse them, and blend them with seasonings. Try a raw vegan tuna paté for an amazing spread everyone loves. Tuck the paté in heart of romaine leaves with sprouts and shredded carrots, or other veggies.
A green light on seeds also makes hummus a great option, whether high raw with cooked chickpeas, or all raw using zucchini or sunflower seeds.
Chips and dips: If seeds are OK, flax seeds get the green light too. Make , and pack them in a small box along with tapenade (an olive dip from the south of France) and veggie sticks. You might want to check out these dips as well. And, if cashews are OK, Russell James’ is the bomb!
Sprouted breads and jam: Sprouted breads are easier to make than you think. Pack them with blended fruits and dates (the “jam”), or thinly sliced Dr Cow cheese (if cashews are allowed) with veggies.
Fruit salads: Chop in-season fruits and toss them with freshly squeeze orange juice. Speaking of which…
Fresh juices! Sure, fresh is best, but liquids are so easy to get down, and you can squeeze extra nutrition in the menu that way. If you’re organized, you can keep ice cubes made of specific drinks in the freezer, and add them to the bottle before your kids leave for school to keep the drink fresh. For example, freeze orange juice in ice cube trays. In the morning, squeeze some fresh orange juice, pour it in a bottle, and add a few frozen orange cubes. They’ll keep the drink fresh without diluting the flavor (these are cool for parties, too!).
Chia puddings: Chia seeds should be OK in most schools. Make a yummy chia pudding, but use coconut milk as the base (it’s not a nut, despite the name).
Chocolates! Mix ¼ cup melted cacao butter with ¼ cup cacao powder, add 2 T coconut nectar, and that’s it. Toss in goji berries for fun and added nutrition. Check out these recipes.
Raw oat cookies: Toss oats in the food processor with dried fruits to make delicious and super-easy cookies.
Kale chips! It’s been a while since I was a child, but I bet even regular kids will love them!
You see, you can make a lot of different foods for both high nutrition and variety. And, don’t stress too much. Remember that there’s just eating lunch at school, usually. You’re still in charge of breakfast, after school snacks and dinner!
Raising children is the most important and rewarding thing you do. You know how important nutrition is to their success. A healthy diet–one that avoids sugary snacks and processed foods–is a crucial element in a child’s academic success (not to mention his or her overall health).
Kids who eat well do better in school and are less likely to have problems sitting still, following directions, and focusing their attention. Shannon “Shakaya Breeze” Leone’s new book The Healthy Lunch Box is just what we need to inject a big dose of fun and interest into meal planning and lunch packing — not to mention eating!
To learn more about Joanna, access our free online community of thousands of raw food enthusiasts doing their best to raise healthy families and help their kids enjoy a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. You can also interact with Joanna at the Raw Mom Facebook Page!
A lot of moms packed their sweet little ones off to school this week. If your child returned to school, share your favorite healthy or raw lunchbox treats in the comments below.
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