OT - Vegetarian Lunch Ideas

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Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427
OT - Vegetarian Lunch Ideas

This is totally off topic, but I need help thinking of some good vegetarian lunches to send with my 3yo to preschool. He is going to preschool at my ILs synagogue where they keep strict kosher, and the lunches that we send need to be vegetarian. Dairy products and things like honey are okay, but any meat is off limits, as is anything that might have animal based gelatin (like most marshmellows.)

We are allowed to do nuts, so I know that nut butter sandwiches are going to be a staple, but I don't want to *only* do PB&Js. So, anyone have any other ideas? Here is what I have come up with so far (I will also be throwing in some fruit and/or veggies):

1. PB&J
2. Bagel and cream cheese
3. Yogurt - although I am trying to figure out what "starch" I would send with it. At home I usually give him yogurt, fruit, and toast, but cold toast doesn't sound that good.
4. Maybe pita, veggies and hummus. He loves hummus, but I don't know if he would "get" what he was supposed to do with it if he just opened his lunch box to a little tupperware thing of hummus and then a bag of veggies and pita. He's only 3. Then again, there will be adults there to help out.

Any other good ideas for portable vegetarian lunches that a 3 year old would like and "get"?

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
Posts: 1984

We send a lot of veggie lunches for our kids.

Faves in our house include hummus....for sure.

We also do a variety of cheeses and fruits. Hard cheeses, soft cheeses, etc. Cooked pasta goes over well with a bit of dressing and chopped veggies in it. We do the whole grain omega 3 pastas.

Once in a while they love a bowl of cereal for lunch-- we just send a bowl of cereal and a side of milk (or they can buy it.)

We use a lot of almond butter, too, to mix up the usual PB & J-- almond butter with honey is yum-o!

We'll send a variety of nuts-- cashews, almonds, etc coupled with fruit and veggies.

A protein smoothie in a thermos is a fave with my 8 year old-- there are probably kosher protein powders, right?

We do send yogurt, too. I don't think you "need" a starch-- most yogurts have so much sugar in them.

Our kids also love Odwalla and Luna bars-- most of them (read the labels) have a good bit of protein in them-- but some of them have too much sugar IMO.

And we do whole wheat pita wraps with all sorts of things tucked inside. Easy to eat and make.

Happy packing! You must have come to a conclusion about the preschool debate. Smile I hope he loves it!

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

With yogurt, I usually make it into a parfait with fruit & granola.

Pasta salad with cheese & beans in it

If you tuck a leaf of well-dried lettuce inside the pita, then put the hummus in, it won't leak through. Blum 3 Also instead of putting it in a baggie, put it in a taller narrower container so it stands upright & the hummus won't leak out.

Hummus also makes a good filling for a wrap sandwich. You can cut them crosswise into little pinwheels, kids love to eat fun shapes.

Lentil soup or black bean soup in a thermos (Progresso brand are both vegetarian)

Black bean dip with chips & cheese & veggies

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Yay, thank you for the great suggestions! I probably sound like a weirdo, but I am actually looking forward to packing his lunches - it seems so "grown up". (for him, not me - I pack my lunch every day.) LOL

We went to Target last weekend and he picked out a Spiderman lunch box. I'm thinking that I will probably need to get him a little thermos too.

And yes, DH and I talked about it a bit and decided to go for it. I toured the school and they seem super super nice, and we talked a little bit about the religious teachings and she said that they do celebrate religious holidays and whatnot (which is fine, we celebrate them with DH's family anyway) but most of it is more "values" based - basically be nice to each other and being good citizens. DH and I share those values, so that's not an issue. Smile Plus he's going to be in class with his cousin, and spend the mornings before school and the afternoons after school with his Oma (who he adores.) I'm excited for him. I think he's going to like it

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

I'm glad you feel good about the preschool decision! Oh, one more thing to add is that Tiven loves those Pasta-Roni things, they cook in about 6 or 7 minutes in one pot. Sometimes if we're not rushed in the morning, DH or I will cook up one of those for her with a cupful of frozen veggies tossed in at the end.

Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

Nutella and banana slice (or plain) sandwiches are super delicious as well. We were lucky to stock up on it this week as Target accidentally priced them at $1.85/jar when they're usually over $3.50.

zefroim's picture
Joined: 05/18/06
Posts: 126

Sorry if I'm repeating. I didn't read the previous posts, just quickly lising what we eat for lunch that would be appropriate.

PB and banana or apple wraps
cream cheese and strawberries or banana
cheese and crackers
yogurt, fruit and a veg
black bean and colby jack roll-ups

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

Egg Salad Sandwiches, Cheese quisadillas premelted cut in 1/4ths. bagels with cc/veggies or swiss.

Can they accept fish?

b525's picture
Joined: 06/06/07
Posts: 298

Regarding the hummus and dip: My friend pre-cuts the veggies, puts the hummus in the bottom of a little tupperware container and then stands the veggies (peppers, carrots, etc) up in the container. So, the end of the veggie is already sticking into the hummus, but there's a clean end sticking up for him to grab.

Also, if you show him what you're doing ahead of time, he'll get it easily. My 2 year old knows about dipping, presumably because he saw his brother doing it. So, I'm thinking that, if you say, "Here's how I'm packing your lunch. All you have to do is ___________." Maybe allude to "big boys" or something. That always seems to work in our house... Smile

My boys also like to eat nuts. Sometimes, if I think my boys need something crunchy with their yogurt, I give them these amazing chips. They're "all natural" from a company called Food Should Taste Good. They're a multigrain tortilla chip that is made with flax, sunflower, and sesame seeds, quinoa, soy, and brown rice. They're not too fatty, low sodium, some carbs, but also 3 gm protein per serving. We LOVE them and they're decently priced at Costco, where we buy the giant bags. They also sell in regular grocery stores, but are more expensive, of course.

My boys will happily eat plain bread, too, if it's yummy. We use Pepperidge Farm 15 grain bread (seeds and nuts on the crust). It's quite tasty even with no spread and might give that starchiness you're looking for.

Glad to know you're happy with the preschool choice. Sounds like a great situation for everyone!

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Thanks for even more great ideas! I feel more prepared now.

Rivergallery - Some people say fish is okay with dairy, some not, so as the outsider I probably won't risk it.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

I've never heard of no fish with dairy. Every good Jewish deli I've ever visited serves lox & cream cheese together on a bagel. Blum 3 And with fish there isn't the concern of kosher slaughter that there is with meat & poultry.

"Of the things that are in the waters, you may eat anything that has fins and scales. Lev. 11:9; Deut. 14:9. Thus, shellfish such as lobsters, oysters, shrimp, clams and crabs are all forbidden. Fish like tuna, carp, salmon and herring are all permitted."

I don't pack egg salad sandwiches for lunch because Tiven complains they get soggy, but she eats it from a container with a spoon or spoons it onto chunks of bread.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Spacers - I don't know - that's just what my MIL said when I asked her about fish with dairy. "Some people say it's okay, some don't." I think I would be more comfortable saying "I feel fish is okay, therefore I will pack it" if I were actually part of the congregation/Jewish faith. But as someone coming in as an outsider, in some ways I feel more constrained to try to be respectful of everyone else's beliefs since I can't really say "Well, I believe..." I mean, I believe that meat with milk is perfectly fine, so who am I to comment on fish. KWIM?

Anyway, it's no biggie. You ladies have given me tons of totally veggie ideas that I think T will love, so if I find out at some later date that that everyone else is sending tuna fish I can rethink it, but for the time being I have lots of great ideas.

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 781

Tomato and cucumber salad

Grilled cheese and tomato sammich

Eggplant and zucchini slices roasted in the oven and put some yogurt in some bread and make it a sammich

An olive oil, paprika, and tomato paste based dish with potatoes, onions, green peppers, and carrots. Add some toasted bread on the side to soak up the yummy sauce.

Corn on the cob, veggie burger, fruit

Stuffed green peppers with a rice filling

Dolma (grape leaves stuffed with a rice filling... Time consuming but oh so worth it).

Borek (fillo dough stuffed with a potato, onion, and paprika filling. Also time consuming but oh so worth it).