Being a vegan or vegetarian in middle and high school (or in any public space) can be a difficult chore of finding delicious things to bring. My go-to lunch used to be two white buns from the local grocery store because they wouldn’t spoil, and they seemed filling. They weren’t. By the time I got home, I was so hungry I would wolf down most of the contents in my fridge before supper.
Lunch and snack time at school need not be a challenge, and vegan food options have come a long way from baby carrot sticks. Here are a few great choices that are a CINCH to make and they will keep your brain and stomach satisfied.
Snack Sized Hummus and Crackers
Whether you are into the traditional garlic hummus or enjoy the Mediterranean red pepper hummus, chickpeas in any form pack an amazing protein punch. They help sustain caloric intake from carbohydrates, which keeps your body going longer all day. Keep your hummus in an insulated lunch bag and it will stay cool all morning. Try to pack crackers with lower sodium content so you aren’t reaching for your water bottle (or a soda) every 10 minutes.
Banana and Almond Butter Bites
Although these are made frozen, they can be enjoyed up to 2 hours after taking them out of the freezer. It is recommended that they be placed in an insulated bag or thermos.
- 1 banana
- 1/3 cup almond butter
- 1 tsp. of almond milk
- 1 tsp. of shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
- Set up a plate and lay wax paper on it.
- Slice up banana in about ¾ inch slices.
- Mix almond milk and almond butter together in a medium sized bowl. The mixture should be a fondue consistency, thick enough to dunk in the banana slices in without them breaking, and thick enough to keep the almond butter on the slices. You can also drizzle the mixture onto the slices if you want less almond butter.
- Lightly dunk the slices in the mixture using a fork.
- Lay the slices on the wax paper and plate and sprinkle with shredded coconut.
- Place in freezer for 2 hours or more.
- Take to school in insulated container. Eat as snack. Make classmates jealous.
Grapes and Raspberries
Ever feel like you really need sugar but you want a healthy alternative? Grapes are high in natural sugar and help to hydrate the body. Grapes contain a mighty antioxidant called polyphenol, the reason many people have a glass of red or two with dinner. Raspberries are another amazing fruit that contain vitamin C, of course, but also gallic and ellagic acid, which have anti-inflammatory properties. All these properties work together to promote heart health and blood circulation, which is certainly conducive to better brain function.
Cucumbers are one of the most hydrating vegetables. They are great for your skin and may even help reduce anxiety, thus keeping you cool when your crush walks past you in the hallway.
Below is a simple recipe for a Dill Cucumber Salad that my grandmother used to make all summer.
This recipe makes 2 servings.
- 2 – 3 regular sized cucumbers
- White vinegar
- Sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- Fresh dill (as much or as little as you prefer)
- ¼ sweet onion
- Extra virgin olive oil
- With a mandolin, or if you have extraordinary knife skills, thinly slice your cucumbers. If you have English Cucumbers you can leave the skin on, but it is recommended you slice the tough skin off field cucumbers.
- Put the cucumbers inside a bowl and sprinkle with a small amount of sea salt. Place in the fridge for about an hour. Drain the cucumbers, so they will absorb the other ingredients.
- Mix in the chopped sweet onion, a little more salt, ground black pepper, and dill. Drizzle 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive and 1 tbsp of white vinegar. Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for a stronger taste, or take for lunch as is.
- Enjoy and bring mints.