It’s been a big week for our family! The news about FESTER’s dispatch to our publisher are small potatoes compared to the bigger journey: Our son is now a schoolboy! It’s been a big transition, helped by the kindness and wisdom of his new teachers at Red Bridge SF. This also means that we have to roll up our sleeves and make school lunches – enough calories, nutrition and flavor to sustain and gladden a little boy until the afternoon.

I’ve talked to a few experienced school-lunch-packers, as well as read the oldie-but-goodie Vegan Lunchbox. I think the winning formula for us is going to include:

  • 1 whole grain mini-pita with a wholesome filling (avocado, nut butter, cashew cheese);
  • a container or two with a hearty and tasty starch + protein + veg (brown rice sushi; quinoa pilaf; rice and chili; chickpea or lentil pasta);
  • a container or two of raw or lightly steamed vegetables and fruit;
  • a sweet treat: dried fruit and/or a slice of quickbread (zucchini bread, banana bread, pumpkin bread, black bean brownie);
  • a water bottle.

I’m trying to be more organized ahead of time, and I think what this means is that every Sunday we should:

  • batch-cook a grain
  • batch-cook a bean
  • make sure we have cute vegetables and fruit for snacks
  • bake a batch of mini-pitas and freeze them
  • bake a quickbread, slice, and freeze

My most successful school lunch this week was the vegan sushi and tofu combo you see above. In the little bag are slices of green apple and cucumber sticks. There was also an avocado-filled mini-pita and dried blueberries. If you are plant-based, tell me what you’re sending to school with your kids in the comments!

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