Monday, June 22, 2009

School Lunches

The Boy has been in preschool all this past year. Last week was the final day of the standard school year and today marked the beginning of summer school. The summer school hours are a bit longer than standard school hours and I neglected to read the fine print that announced each child will be provided a free lunch if they don't bring their own. 

I already send him to school every day with juice and 3 snacks, but nothing substantial enough to be considered lunch. So today, when his teacher pulled out his lunch bag and saw there were only snacks inside, she assumed he would be one of the children receiving a free lunch.

Well, today's free lunch was chicken nuggets. Ack!

Thankfully, she remembered that we are vegan, and didn't allow The Boy to eat any chicken. It was an issue, though. He saw all the other kids eating chicken nuggets and wanted to eat some, too. He thinks he eats them at home, but it isn't real chicken, of-course. Unfortunately, because he's a special needs kid, I can't really explain the difference in a way he'll understand. At least not yet. So now I need to come up with some creative lunches to pack for him. Perhaps, when the school lunch menu becomes available, ones that mirror what the other kids will be eating so he doesn't feel left out.

When he's home, I cook for him and he eats a hot lunch. Sometimes he'll eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but most of the time he gets a freshly cooked meal. But, they don't have access to a microwave there and, beyond PB&J sammies, I'm at a loss as to what sorts of things I can send him to school with. If anyone has any experience sending your veg kids to school with packed lunches, I'd love to hear what sorts of things worked best for you.

In the interim, I ordered the following two books:

Better Than Peanut Butter and Jelly: Quick Vegetarian Meals Your Kids Will Love by Wendy Muldawer and Vegan Lunch Box: 150 Amazing, Animal-Free Lunches Kids and Grown-Ups Will Love! by Jennifer McCann. I'm hoping I'll get some groovy ideas from these babies that'll help me come up with things The Boy will eat and enjoy. As we experiment, I'll report back on what works and what doesn't. This should be interesting and hopefully, fun. 

So, expect to see a couple book reviews and some lunch box food porn here in the near future and wish me luck. I have a feeling I'll need it.


Anonymous said...

I really hope that the two books you ordered will be helpful for you and your son. Pretty soon he will be packing lunches that all the other children will want to taste! Secretly spread the veganism!!!!

And, unrelated, you left a comment on my blog about the cookie recipe I posted and you said "Any recipe that will impress people's pants off is a recipe I need to take a crack at..." And I laughed because well, you know, crack, pants... !!! Funny.

Zoey said...

I can't wait to hear what you think about the two books that you ordered.

Alex said...

I was a vegetarian kid (whose parents used soymilk and didn't keep cheese at home. Dairy was a rare treat), and although that was thirty years ago, I still fondly remember brown-bagging it. Quite often, what I had were leftovers, bits of something we'd had for dinner earlier in the week. Green beans, corn and mashed potatoes, with a slice of cornbread.

Sandwich-wise, I loved Morningstar stripple sandwiches, cooked crispy at home, they stay crispy through lunch, as long as the lettuce is packed in a separate baggie. I also loved fake hotdogs, and my mom would occasionally make them into corndogs for me to take as a treat. Soup was another good one. My dad makes the most amazing lentil soup. Baked potatoes loaded with veggie chili were good. And "haystacks". Veggie chili layered with cornchips, tomatoes, and lettuce, and possibly (fake) cheese.

These days I'm fond of Yves fake turkey slices on sandwiches, but they're expensive. Their Canadian bacon is killer on an English muffin and topped with tomato sauce.

I always looked at other kids' lunches with disgust. It usually smelled like crap, and I was convinced at the age of five that white wonder bread, mayonnaise, and twinkies were going to give them all cancer. I still haven't changed my mind. :)