Ok I’m just going to say it – it is really hard to make vegan lunchboxes for school. And if your school is nut free? Ugh, impossible!
I have been making vegan school lunches for over three years now, and while it still takes planning, I promise you it does get easier. Although I do have a little sigh of relief on the days my 4 year old is allowed to take nuts….. Nothing like choc hazelnut spread as a sure way to get lunch eaten!
Readers ask me about vegan school lunches about ten times more than anything else (yes, even more than protein!) so I thought I’d write up the tips I’ve learnt over the past three years in the trenches…
Tip 1: Try to Make your Kid’s Lunches Look “Normal”
I know we’re all edgy militant rebels (you gotta be a bit against the grain to go vegan, right?) but sometimes things are a bit easier for our kids if their lunches look kinda like what the other kids have. Now I’m not saying you need to use fake meat everywhere, and packets of chips, biscuits and the like. You can still do healthy and wholesome. Maybe just aim more for sandwiches, pizza and a muffin, rather than leftover lentil casserole.
Tip 2: Make Your Kid’s Vegan Lunchbox Fun
Ok disclaimer, when I say fun, I’m not saying you have to cut up all of those cute food shapes and make it a masterpiece (I seriously look at those lunchbox pics and wish I had the time…. But I really don’t). Just make your kid’s lunchbox the cool one.
Last year I was at a class playdate, and some of the other parents found out we were vegan. After some incredulous questions about whether my kids were vegan, I was then asked what they have in their lunchbox. (Let me tell you, they were definitely looking for a response of lentil casserole and wheatgrass patties, so that they could tell me that their kids would never eat that). Well, I started to describe the pizza, choc chip cookies, sausage rolls and muffins that my kids get in their lunches. By the end of it, most of them were telling me that I should start a business preparing kids’ school lunches, because they sounded so good.
So, the key is, make your kids lunchbox cool and everyone will forget it’s vegan.
So having told you how cool my kids lunches are, I’m sure you’re asking how to make yours cool too? Well, sign up below and I’ll send you exactly what I’m making for my kids each week.
Tip 3: Make Your Own Vegan Lunchbox Snacks and Treats
I always include a treat for my kids like a muffin or a muesli bar. But I always make them myself. It’s can be so expensive to buy them – if you can even find nut free ones, that is.
I make up one or two snacks for the week, and then just freeze them. If you’re super organised, you could even make up four or five at the start of each month. It’ll take 2 hours tops, and then you’re all set.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are 8 of my kids’ favourite nut free snacks to get you started.
Tip 4: Let Your Kids Pick What They Want
Within reason. Of course. I’m not saying give them free for all in the chips and lollies aisle. My four year old is one of these kids who will absolutely love something one day, and then swear he hates it the next. So, each time I go shopping, I buy a selection of things that he likes. Then when it comes time to make his lunch each day I let him choose what he wants in there. Sure, we sometimes have half a lunchbox full of his favourite tofu, but at least his lunchbox generally comes back empty!
So those are my top tips on how to make your kid’s lunchbox vegan. If you’re looking for great lunchbox ideas, I’ve put together my 5 most popular nut free vegan lunchbox recipes. You can download a free copy here.