I’m always on the look out for healthy packaged foods I can put into my oldest son, Hyrum’s, school lunch. He’s in first grade (we home schooled him last year, but he’s in public school this year).
I wish I made lunches like the ones in this cookbook
, but unfortunately, most days it’s my husband putting the lunch together since I’m usually teaching classes at this time, so I look for fool-proof, convenience
items that he can throw together and that will complement a PB&J or Tofurky
There’s no getting around the fact that kids don’t want to feel marginalized or different in any way, so finding vegan friendly stuff to put in a bagged lunch can be tricky. It takes some creativity.
I don’t know what it is about packaging and plastic, but kids love it! Put something in a cute, little package, and my kids are crazy about it. Case in point: baby carrots. My kids like baby carrots, but if I were to give them the option of baby carrots in a sandwich bag, or baby carrots in this bright & colorful packaging, they would pick these.
(Costco now sells these pre-packaged organic carrots, love it!)
Certainly these pre-packaged carrots are more expensive. Question is, is it worth the price? For me it is, because those few extra cents per serving ensure that my kid, who already feels a little different about his food, can get a little excited about what he’s eating especially when he looks over at his classmates who are eating Lunchables or pizza.
With this in mind, I have my eyes open for vegan friendly products, and was thrilled when I saw these yesterday when I was out doing some shopping:
Sam’s club now carries fruit bites that are 100% fruit (no gelatin or other additives). The brand is Buddy Fruits, pure fruit bites, in apple and orange. 18 pouches cost $7.98, which is not bad. My kids have always wanted to get the fruit bites but I’ve never been able to find one that didn’t a) contain gelatin
or b) didn’t cost a ton.
The second product I found were carrot crisps. Like a potato chip, except dried, not fried! Here are the ingredients: carrots, potato syrup (I have no idea what this is, but sounds safe enough), & sea salt. Love that they had to throw in that it’s sea salt, not just salt. Gotta love green marketing, although I suppose it works, I’m a sucker for it.
Sure, you could give your kid an apple or an orange as opposed to the fruit bites. Or actual carrots instead of dried carrots. But where’s the fun in that? If you don’t have kids yet, I’m here to tell you, if you want them to LOVE a whole foods diet you have to make it fun.
The hard cold truth is, you’re competing with Sponge Bob lunchables and the Spiderman fruit bites. Because of this, your kid has to have a few fun things in their lunch box too. Not that just plain fruit like bananas and oranges aren’t great additions to a lunch box, but these things can add some flavor and fun to the mix (essential if you want your kids to stick with the healthy eating plan). Of course we can “force” our kids to eat certain things at home, but once they go to school, they can just throw it away if they aren’t convinced that it tastes good or they like it.
See? Just dried carrots. Crunchy and salty like a potato chip without all the oil. Nice. Plus a ton of vitamin A. Score. (The carrot chips are by Green Giant and are called Carrot Crisps). 15 bags for $9.98. Again, costs more than just plain old carrots, but, they’re fun! And your kid will feel proud to eat them at the lunch table.
Real question is, did they pass the kid test? Did my kids like them?
Amalia loved the fruit bites, but wasn’t crazy about the carrot chips. She’s three, which in my experience is when kids are at their pickiest, so I think this explains it. My boys loved the fruit bites and like the carrot crisps, but they like the fruit bites better.
This Week’s Giveaway
To enter this week’s giveaway to win a box of Buddy Fruits fruit bites (18 on-the-go pouches in a box) and Green Giants Carrot Crisps (15 snack packs in a box) click here
Question of the day:
Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which ones? When do you listen to podcasts most?
My favorite are:
- This American Life. I think I may be in literary love with Ira Glass. I enjoy the variety of topics, keeps my brain humming.
- NPR’s Planet Money. What can I say, I’m a geek and I like economics & business.
- The Compassionate Cook. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is my hero. Articulate and well-spoken, she makes veganism cool.
- The Moth. A story telling podcast, fantastic, and I highly recommend, although it does tend to have some pieces that are a bit too explicit for my taste.
I listen mostly late at night, after the kids are in bed, with a pile of laundry and mug of homemade cocoa, I’m good to go!