It’s that time of year again. It’s time for another school year! As vegan parents, school lunches can sometimes be overwhelming. Often times, even at the age of four, other kids in my daughter’s class would ask her, “What is that?” or “Why do you eat that?” Kids are very inquisitive and want to know about things. Here are few tips to help prepare your kids for questions they may receive when they return to school and pop open the glorious vegan lunch you have prepared!
Tunaless Salad is a simple, quick, and nutritious lunch idea.
Simply ask your child, “Why do we eat this way?” It will spark an interesting and informative conversation, and as parents we will indeed be education by the responses we receive. It opens up an amazing dialogue about food choices and being different, not better than anyone else, but different. You can make this conversation age appropriate as well and use teachable moments often. You can also make it fun and “role play” different scenarios with your child.
Coconut Chocolate Energy Bites are a great snack to pack for any school day!
Learning About Ingredients
When shopping for food and preparing vegan meals and vegan school lunches, allow your child(ren) to participate as much as possible. At first my daughter did not like tomatoes, but when shopping at the store I asked her to help me pick out good tomatoes, and when cooking I asked her to help me mix the tomatoes into the recipe. When combined with other ingredients, she realized that they work together to make delicious meals. Now, she will pick up a slice of tomato and eat it by itself. Learning food likes and dislikes is a continuous process that travels with us into and throughout adulthood. When children help pack their own lunches, it instills a sense of pride and reinforces the fact they they can make healthy food choices. This also carries into adulthood. Studies show that food preferences are formed in early childhood and affect an individual’s eating habits for life.
Homemade Dark Chocolate Trail Mix is a wholesome energy-boosting snack.
Talk to the Teacher
Make it a point to have a thorough discussion with your child’s teacher about lunches, snacks, etc. When there is a class project, party, field trip, etc. that involves food, ask the teacher to give you plenty of notice so that you can send in a substitute or make other arrangements. Keep the lines of communication open, and it will make for a great school year.
Fresh fruit is a great immune-boosting lunch item, and there are many quality vegan bars on the market as well!
Know When to Draw the Line
There is a difference between another child asking your child about the items packed in his or her lunch and a child teasing or bullying your child about his or her lunch. This kind of behavior should never be tolerated and should be handled immediately. Often times adults have this problem more often than kids. Kids are pretty open-minded. I had an incident recently where someone offered me a food item that contained meat, and I replied, "No, thank you. I am vegan." The person replied, "Oh, I feel sorry for you." True story! I educated that person thoroughly.
Wishing everyone a great school year! If you are a parent, guardian, etc., please share your school lunch stories and vegan school lunch ideas!
About Tabatha James
Tabatha James is a wife, mom, and children's book author navigating her way through a vegan way of life!