If packing a school lunch for your kid is stressing you out, you’re not alone. The challenges of school lunch preparation and grocery shopping were highlighted in a 2021 OnePoll survey for HelloFresh.
Despite advances in meal-planning apps and online grocery shopping, more than half of parents previously reported grocery shopping as a stress point. According to past data, 59 percent of parents were stressed merely contemplating the task of packing school lunches, a sentiment that grew out of pandemic-era at-home learning.
Meal planning and preparation were reported as daunting tasks, with 44 percent of parents expressing concerns about handling all meals for their children, especially those returning to in-person schooling.
Luckily, two years later, we have help from public figures such as Alicia Silverstone, Sai De Silva, and Tabitha Brown, all mothers with school lunch solutions for the modern parent grappling with these challenges.
Alicia Silverstone’s vegan school lunch
Alicia Silverstone, known for her commitment to a vegan and eco-conscious lifestyle, believes in creating well-rounded, nutritious meals for her son, Bear. According to Silverstone, packing a lunch that your child will enjoy can be challenging but is crucial for both the environment and your finances.
Silverstone’s approach is summarized in a simple mantra for Bear’s lunch: “grain, protein, and vegetable.” Her go-to grains include brown rice, quinoa, and gluten-free brown rice bread. For proteins, she favors black-eyed peas, fried tofu, and non-GMO edamame. Vegetables often include steamed broccoli and baked sweet potatoes.
In terms of snacks, Silverstone recommends a range of products such as Beanfield’s Bean & Rice Chips and Uncle Eddie’s Vegan Cookies. She emphasizes the importance of choosing items that are organic and non-GMO. However, she also urges parents to be mindful of the packaging and carbon footprint of these products.
“Even though these items are vegan and are on the healthier side, please be mindful that they are still mostly wrapped in some kind of plastic and have a higher carbon footprint than something you make at home,” Silverstone said in a post on her blog, The Kind Life.
By following Silverstone’s guidelines, parents can provide their children with lunches that are not just tasty and nutritious but also mindful of the planet.
How Sai de Silva does back-to-school lunches
Social media influencer and cast member of The Real Housewives of New York City, Sai De Silva has unveiled her back-to-school preparations for her children. In a recent Instagram Story, she showcased picture-worthy vegetarian lunches made for her daughter, London, and her son, Rio, ahead of the new school year.
In the lunchbox, de Silva packs a variety of healthy options such as sunflower butter sandwiches, fresh strawberries, veggies and hummus, and granola bars.
“Back to the lunchbox making,” Sai noted on Instagram. “What I feed my vegetarian kids…” While one child received a banana, the other got “nutritional yeast covered popcorn,” a vegan staple that completes the meal.
Tabitha Brown takes on kid-friendly vegan snacks
For more ideas about school-time snacks, Tabitha Brown shares a treasure trove on her YouTube hit show Tab Time. Each kid-centric episode includes a “snack time” segment in which Brown, alongside her friends Starla the spatula and Bernie the oven mitt, prepare healthy vegan snacks.
And each snack comes with a healthy dose of wisdom.
Brown’s dinosaur trail mix features banana chips, coconut shavings, pumpkin seeds, cereal puffs, dried pineapple, dried cranberries, almonds, cashews, and the star ingredient: dinosaur crackers, an accidental addition that teaches children to experiment with food.
Another segment is inspired by Brown’s love of music, during which she crafts Singing Pretzels by dipping pretzels into vanilla yogurt, making eyes using raisins, and freezing them to complete the playful snack.
“I use cashew yogurt,” she says. “You use whatever you want because that’s your business.”
In addition to dairy-free yogurt, Brown helps kids become familiar with other popular vegan staples.
In another segment, Brown prepares Sweet & Salty Popcorn Basketballs by mixing together pretzels, dried cranberries, apricots, golden raisins, almonds, vegan butter and marshmallows, along with popcorn kernels.
The resulting vegan snack also comes with commentary that teaches children about embracing the conflicting emotions of winning and losing.
Outside of her popular Tab Time show, Brown is making vegan food more accessible to parents everywhere through her ongoing partnership with Target. Initially launched last January, Brown’s food collection at Target included convenient meals such as chickpea chili, butternut squash bisque, and three refrigerated meals: Potato Salad, Garlic Pasta Salad, and Creamy Lemon Dill Pasta Salad.
Slated for a permanent return to Target next year, the line also included easy-to-pack snacks such as popcorn and trail mix, along with a selection of vegan sausages and ravioli for easy weeknight dinners for when the kids get home from school.