Vegan Lunch Box – Back to School

 

Summer is packing its bags and getting ready for a vacay of its own. Fall is right around the corner and that means pumpkins and cobwebs line all the grocery stores and people are dusting off their Chelsea boots. But before we commit ourselves to all things spooky, one this has to happen first: going back to school. I’m sure most of you are aware, but in case you didn’t know: school lunches and childhood obesity are in a state of emergency. I wanted to showcase some kid-friendly back to school vegan lunch ideas that you can prepare instead of trusting your kid’s wellbeing to their school’s sketchy mystery meat.

Growing up in American public schools, I ate meat like most people. I ate the canned fruit covered in syrup, the cardboard crusted pizza, and the bland mashed potatoes on a flimsy styrofoam lunch tray like everyone else. Back then, I didn’t think it was anything other than normal, and sadly, I probably enjoyed some of the meals. Little did I know, that the styrofoam plate that my food was on probably had more nutritional value than the ‘food’ that was on it.

And therein lies one of the many cogs in the wheel of obesity and heart disease that rolls across the entire United States. Childhood obesity rates have remained at around 17 percent for the past decade. Approximately 14 percent of children (ages 2 to 5) enrolled in WIC were obese. Nearly one-third (31.3 percent) of children ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese. And 13.9 percent of high school students are obese (source). These statistics are from 2016, everyone.

Approximately 22 million children under 5 years of age are overweight across the world. In the United States, the number of overweight children and adolescents has doubled in the last two to three decades, and similar doubling rates are being observed worldwide (source).

But you know what? I can show you better than tell you how bleak it is.

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I feel like we need to take a moment of silence for those atrocious facts and those photos. These were taken at various schools throughout the U.S. So depressing.

If you’re not afraid to learn the truth about how schools in the U.S. torture kids in the lunch room, I’ve linked some great studies and articles below.

I say all of this to say that I decided to put together some vegan lunch box ideas for everyone from ages 1 to 92. Whether you’re packing up your lunch for school or for work, these are all fairly simple recipes that can be mixed and matched however you see fit. It may seem pretty bleak right now, but if we just take a little time to look after ourselves and each other, we can turn this ship around before it completely capsizes. If you stir up a desire and a passion for health inside yourself and support that desire with a solid foundation of general nutritional knowledge, you can change the entire trajectory of your health, your kid’s health, and the health of your kids’ kids.

Check out my recipes after the jump!

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Vegan Smores Skewers

Raiding the fridge and the pantry for any and all processed snacks was a rite of passage for many American children, myself included. Bagel Bites, Fruit Roll-Ups, Pop Tarts, Dunkaroos, Tang (!) I could go on and on. Basically, the best part of going to school for 8 hours a day was the opportunity to come home and eat yourself into a processed sugar food coma and watch TV.  until your parents came home and it was time to eat dinner.

Fortunately, I lived an active childhood so I was able to counteract the negative effects of eating my share of processed snacks. Children in this day and age that are so inundated with processed food and a lack of physical activity and sunlight, aren’t so lucky. In America, the rates of childhood obesity and Type II Diabetes in children has skyrocketed. Nowadays, kids eat a sugary breakfast before going to school, eat God knows what during their government mandated lunches, graze on processed sugars and trans fats with a blue light from their phone replacing sunlight once they get home, and then they proceed to eat even more processed food for dinner.

Very. Very. Bleak.

The good news? It doesn’t have to be this way. With just a little bit of extra preparation on the parents’ part or even with some initiative taken by kids themselves, we can all craft way healthier after-school (or anytime) snack ideas. Check out my recipe below for vegan smores skewers that no one can mess up.

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5-Minute Vegan Banana Chia Pudding

One of my mom’s favorite dessert recipes to tackle, aside from the perfect cheesecake, was banana pudding. I remember going to the store and grabbing that big yellow box of ‘Nilla wafers, the bananas, the jello. Nothing beats the smell of bananas, vanilla wafers, and whipped cream combined. Before I went vegan, I was also a big fan of Marie Calender’s Banana Crean Pie. Back then, I didn’t care that Mrs. Calender’s pies were loaded with Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening (trans fats) and Sorbitan Monostearate (synthetic wax), all I knew was that I liked the taste.

Nostalgia for my mom’s cooking, and a desire to make a healthier, more nutritious banana dessert inspired me to tackle a 5 minute vegan banana chia pudding recipe. No offense to Mrs. Calender, but please step away from her pies. Check out my recipe for 5 minute vegan banana chia pudding after the jump.

Enjoy!

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Vegan Tacos 5 Ways

Vegan tacos are the perfect way to add some variety into your meals if you are newly vegan It is also a great dish to use for weekly meal preps because you can pre-cook various fillings, toppings and sauces and simply store them away in the fridge for easy access through out the week.

Today, I am showing you how to make 5 different vegan taco recipes that are as delicious as they are simple. Battered cauliflower tacos, jackfruit tacos, quinoa as taco meat tacos, and finally, black bean and potato tacos are all listed below for your tastebuds’ pleasure. There’s also a video tutorial at the end of this post.

The best things about vegan tacos? The possibilities are so vast that I can assure you I will probably do a part two to this recipe so I can try out more combinations. You can make the various fillings simultaneously for the sake of variety. If you do that, these servings will last you 2-3 weeks but you can increase or decrease the servings as necessary.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions, try any of these out, or let me know if you have your own go-to vegan tacos recipe you’d like to share.

Let’s get started!

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DIY Non-Toxic Hand Sanitizer

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Is conventional hand sanitizer doing more harm than good? Learn how to DIY hand sanitizer for family and friends.

Have you ever accidentally tasted your fingers after applying hand sanitizer and almost lost all your tastebuds? Then this post is for you.

Damn you, ETHYL ALCOHOL!

I’m going to show you how to DIY hand sanitizer that is vegan, easy, and cruelty-free. But first, what’s wrong with conventional hand sanitizer?

Ethyl Alcohol is the main active ingredient in almost every conventional hand sanitizer on the market (even the ‘green’ ones), usually reaching percentages as high as 70%. There’s even more alcohol in the inactive ingredients in most conventional hand sanitizers in the form of Isopropyl alcohol.

There have been many studies on the effectiveness of hand sanitizer and some doctors suggest that over-sanitizing leads to antibiotic resistance. In a 2011 study by the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found that health care employees who were most likely to use hand sanitizers over soap and water were nearly six times more at risk for outbreaks of Norovirus, which causes most cases of acute gastroenteritis.

Sad news for all you germaphobes out there.

Not only are conventional hand sanitizers potentially harmful, but they can leave your hands feeling extremely dry. I’m talking scrubbing the floors all day Cinderella-style dry. After all, the active and inactive ingredients in most hand sanitizers can double as industrial cleaners, no wonder they are so drying.

Here’s another reason to give up conventional hand sanitizers: they’re shady. Legally, companies are not required to disclose all of the ingredients used to make whatever fragrance is added to the product. What does this mean for you? It means that you could literally be rubbing an unknown toxic soup onto your hands, and then inadvertently into your mouth, onto your food, and onto your kids….

Yikes.

Are you put off by conventional hand sanitizer yet?

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