This is a guest post from Georgia Bamber is a health and wellness advocate, writer, endurance athlete, business owner, mother and lover of good food. She hopes to spread the word about the importance of eating a plant based diet -for our own health and the health of the planet. Here she shares with us her tips for making a plant based lunch.
I learnt a frightening piece of information not long ago. Did you know that evidence of the early stages of heart disease, fatty streaks, can be found in virtually every child eating a standard Western style diet, based on meat, dairy and eggs. How scary is that?
Even worse news, these fatty streaks will likely turn to full blown plaques by the time our kids are in their 20’s and 30’s and potentially to heart attacks and strokes when they are in their 40’s and 50’s. This is a pretty sobering thought, and I know not the future that anybody dreams of for their kids. Check out this video from nutrtionfacts.org if you would like to know more.
The root of the problem lies in the fact that we are all eating too much saturated fat, animal proteins and processed foods. But you can help your kids turn this around by helping them to eat a plant strong diet.
Packing a healthy plant based lunch for school will go a long way to improving your kid’s health. Studies in the US have shown that eating plant based lunches at school boost energy levels, lengthen attention spans and even improve test scores!
That all sounds good… but isn’t packing a plant based lunch a hassle?
Well if you are like me, life is pretty hectic. I don’t like spending hours fiddling around making fancy lunches. I like things to be quick, simple, healthy, and of course delicious. After all, there is no point packing a lunch that no-one is going to eat!!
(this was my lunch from Playgroup this week- Kylie)
Packing a plant based lunch is a breeze once a few ideas up your sleeves and some ready prepared key ingredients at hand. You will be whipping up plant based lunch boxes in a flash.
So to get you started, here are some of my favourite ideas for plant based lunches and snacks.
Salads: If you are cooking pasta, rice, quinoa or any other grain for dinner make some extra and you have the basis for a delicious packed lunch. Combine with some chopped veggies like lettuce, tomato, sweet corn, shredded cabbage and carrots, and maybe throw in some chickpeas or beans – mix with a little salad dressing or other favourite sauce and lunch is done.
Soups and stews: There is no easier lunch to make than one that is made up from leftovers. I always make double batches of veggie soups and stews so that there is enough leftover to pop in thermos for lunch the next day. The kids love this, especially on a cold winters day – so nice to tuck into something warm for lunch.
Leftover roast potatoes or sweet potatoes can make a tasty lunch too, so always pop in a couple extra of these if you are making them.
Wraps and Pita bread: These can be filled with a whole range of healthy plant based ingredients: chopped salad veggies, baked beans, chickpeas, leftover roasted vegetables, hummus, guacamole, wholegrains, and grated carrots, for a few ideas. There are so many different combinations the kids won’t get bored.
Veg and Dips: a great way to get extra veg in is to pair it with a delicious dip. All time favourites of course include hummus and guacomole but other bean dips and things like salsa are great too. Carrots, cucumbers, capsicum and even tiny florets of broccoli and cauliflower make great, tasty dippers.
Fruit: Every good lunch box should definitely have a piece of fruit or two tucked in. I have found that the easier I make it to eat, the more of it goes down. It is worth taking the extra time to chop it up into bite sized pieces.
Muffins and cookies: It’s always nice to get a treat with lunch so I always make sure to make homemade muffin or cookie. To make it easier on myself I always batch cook these on the weekend and pop them into the freezer ready to go on school days.
Snacks: Roasted chickpeas, trail mix, healthier muesli bars (or homemade), bliss balls, seaweed snacks, rice crackers, wholegrain cereal and popcorn are all great little healthy snacks that your kids can take to school.
Plant based lunches really take no longer to prepare than the regular kind. They might take a little be more thought at first, but once you get into a routine it will be easy. And how great to introduce your kids to a whole new range of foods and set them up with healthier eating habits for life. They will thank you one day I’m sure.
If you would like more information about why eating a plant strong diet is fantastic for your health – check out my free email course here.
It will teach you all about the basics of plant based nutrition. It is eye opening stuff, so definitely worth your time.
You can find Georgia: