Going Vegan? Your Preschooler Is Sure To Love These Plant-Based Lunch Ideas
Well-planned vegan diets offer plenty of protein, vitamins, and minerals that people of all ages can rely on for good health and optimized energy. Maintaining a vegan diet may even decrease the chance of developing diabetes and cancer as time goes on. But to gain these benefits, a plant-based diet must consist of whole foods and forego packaged items that are filled with salt, sugar, fats, and artificial flavors and colors.
Getting your preschooler to eat their fruits, veggies, beans, and whole grains at lunchtime can be a challenge when their friends may have lunchboxes full of cupcakes, turkey sandwiches, and chips. Here are two tasty plant-based lunch ideas that will keep your little one happy during lunch, so they don't feel like they're missing out:
Hardy Hummus Rafts
Made of chickpeas, hummus is packed with protein and fiber that will keep your child energized throughout the day. Hummus also provides a healthy dose of folate, thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin which are all essential for good health and strong bones. Hummus rafts make for a fun meal that should meet your little one's nutrition needs without making them feel like they're eating rabbit food. Here is what you'll need to make zesty hummus rafts in your kitchen:
4 tbsp hummus
4 celery sticks
¼ cup raisins
4 basil leaves
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Chop the basil leaves into small pieces and put them in a small bowl. Add the hummus, raisins, and vinegar then stir until well combined. Fill the celery sticks with the hummus mix and then wrap each piece of celery in plastic wrap. Serve with a few whole grain crackers and some all-natural fruit leather.
Black Bean Burgers
Black beans offer optimal support for the digestive tract and colon. They're also packed with phytonutrients, which are known to help repair DNA damage and detoxify the body. Black bean burgers are easy to make and fun to eat – you can make several servings worth and keep the leftovers in the freezer to use for lunches in the coming weeks. Here are the ingredients you need to make a batch eight burgers:
2 cups of freshly cooked or canned black beans
2 cups of rice that's been cooled
2 tsp vegetable broth powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried herbs
½ tsp salt
Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and use a fork to mash the ingredients until they become mushy and well combined. Once mixed, use your hands to form eight burger patties and place them on a nonstick baking sheet that has lightly oiled. Bake the patties for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until they start to brown.
Serve each patty on a bun with lettuce and pickles if your preschooler like them, along with homemade fries and a piece of fresh fruit. To make the fries, just cut a potato into small wedges and toss them in a tablespoon of oil before baking them with the patties. You may have to leave the fries in the oven for about five minutes longer than the black bean patties.
These recipe ideas should help your preschooler adapt to a whole food plant-based diet more easily, and ensure that they don't end up going hungry during lunchtime because they're too busy drooling over their friend's meals.
Contact a school like Sammamish Montessori School for more help.