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Vegetarian lunch box inspirations

Also known as garbanzo beans, this legume is best known as the main ingredient in hummus. But they’re also delicious when roasted or added to salads.8 Photos
(Photo: “Pilar’s famous chickpea salad” ©by miamism 2011 via Creative Commons/WJLA)
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Quinoa salad is a delicious, protein-rich lunch option for young vegetarians.

 ABC7's Back to School Week has you covered when it comes to creative lunch box options. Check out some of our ideas for kids who are exploring the vegetarian side of lunch.

Does your kid have a hankering for tofu? A craving for seitan? If so, it’s likely you’ve got a budding vegetarian in your home.

It’s estimated that one in 200 kids now consider themselves vegetarian. Some are being raised in veggie-minded households. Some simply don’t like meat. And others are likely developing their own personal beliefs about the practice. Whichever it is, putting together a meat-free lunch can be healthy and hassle-free.

Meat-free options

“These days parents and kids alike have an alternative to just about every type of meat or animal by-product out there,” notes Charis Smith of MOM’s Organic Market. “Some are better than others, but we've come a long way!”

Long gone are the days when every sandwich had to encase some floppy, round slice of turkey, ham or baloney. These days there’s Tofurkey, vegan bologna and eggless egg salad. It may sound like a stretch for most, but for vegetarian lunch-packing-parents, meatless meats can be lifesavers.

Get creative

“I'm all for creativity. Rather than taxing your own brain too much, allow the kid(s) to pick and choose a couple options,” suggests Smith. “Or better yet, challenge them to come up with something they think they will like and go shopping together for the ingredients.”

Packing protein

Creating a well-balanced lunch box is a challenge that all parents face. But for vegetarians, getting protein into your kid’s midday meal means shopping outside of the meat aisle.

Click here for some of the most popular protein-packing foods among young veg-heads.

And click here for a yummy tofu egg salad recipe that your kids will love.

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