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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Vegan school lunch boxes, eat your colours and 5+ a Day



Carrot and cucumber sticks, grapes, blueberries and Cape gooseberries, Olive focaccia (homemade)

When I was living in Japan I learned to present lunch boxes including a spectrum of at least 5 colours.
I try to do this with the kids' lunch boxes now, and these days the 5 + a Day is also promoting 'colours', which is a good way to make food more interesting. Of course here in NZ lunch boxes are stuffed down the school bag and tossed around, so I could never make them like these super pretty bentos, (I also wouldn't have the time in the morning or late at night!) but sometimes I do them for a lunch at home.

Now it is a complete coincidence that these lunch boxes are all Vegan (and containing mostly raw food!), often the kids would have cheese rolls and homemade pizza, and often a milky chocolate drink or a drinking yogurt too, but as they have so much milk and yogurt for breakfast everyday that they can do without for lunch!

My problem has been trying to have 5 different colours as the season is getting colder, especially for the blue! The first photo was taken a couple of month ago, and the rest followed every couple of weeks. When there are blueberries around it is so easy, now most of the berries they have are frozen, good for smoothies and cereals and desserts, but not school lunches.


Avocado sushi, cherry tomato, banana, kiwi gold, feijoa, mandarin, grapes

If I don't have blueberries I try to put a few red/black grapes, is a pity that they are all imported, but so are the bananas. For the rest I always try to be seasonable and use fruit and veggies that grow in NZ, the tomato here was from my garden. Sushi only happens if there is some left over after dinner the night before: I could never get up at 5am to make it fresh!


Baguette with green salad and hummus with Dukka, banana, mandarins, kiwi gold, dried prunes

When I don't use grapes I try to add something close to purple/blue, like dried plums. Hummus is also another favourite filling, if they could my kids would have a hummus rolls every day, and they don't seem to be fussed if it smells of garlic.


Baguette with rocket salad, hummus and broad beans, orange, grapes and Cape gooseberries

Hummus again, this was just over a week ago, believe it of not I had broad beans in the garden, an unseasonal plant that followed its own schedule! Not enough for a meal, but enough for a couple of rolls. The Cape gooseberries too are from the garden, incredibly enough they are still going!


Dolmas (rice wrapped in vine leaves), carrot sticks, cucumber and cherry tomatoes, banana, grapes and mandarin

Winter is progressing and the lunch boxes are becoming a bit repetitive: mandarins, banana, carrot sticks and grapes seem to dominate, and I occasionally buy cherry tomatoes even if they are grown in hothouses (but so are most cucumbers, I guess). The dolmas came from a can, a very occasional purchase, but it does add variety and, yes, the kids love those too!

I am dreaming of cherries and strawberries and blueberries and plums and colorful capsicums which make it so easy to add colour, but I also guess that winter is the time when we should overdose with oranges and yellows.

And if you have kids please tell me, what goes into their lunch boxes this season?

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

27 comments:

  1. Molto bella l'idea dei cestini colorati e vegan, da copiare anche per un pranzo veloce casalingo. Noi ci avviamo verso l'estate piena, mi fa piacere leggere i tuoi post invernali, sono rinfrescanti. Laura

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    1. E a me fanno invidia i vostri con tutte le verdure e frutta estive :-)!

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  2. Mmmmmm I would have been very happy with a lunch box like that when I worked. Diane

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  3. Hi Alessandra, thank you for linking to my blog :)! I think if I have to prepare bentos early in the morning before I go to work, I also wouldn't be able to make the bentos I usually make as I would not have the time (and probably the motivation too ;)). As you know I just make bento for fun in my free time.

    Your bentos look so healthy and colourful. I love them! I'd say, perfect for a picnic...:)!

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    1. My kids love your bentos, tomorrow they will be disappointed to find that their Baby Bell cheese has not been transformed it into an "angry bird' :-)!

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  4. Deliziosa presentazione, piacerebbe anche a me avere la pazienza di prepararmi un bento così :-)

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  5. One of my Sons favourite lunches is grated carrot with raisins in wholemeal pitta bread. He still takes a packed lunch to collage 4 days a week. A few friends dine out on tuesday if they have money.

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    1. Pita bread is great, yes we do lot of pita too :-)

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  6. io non ho figli ma ho due nipoti e una sorella (la loro mamma) molto attenta a far mangiare alle sue figlie sempre verdura e frutta, tanto che le bimbe chiedono sempre a fine pasto: "Ma la fruttina mamma dov'è?".
    Qui però non si usa il cestino per il pranzo, hanno la mensa scolastica e le mamme concordano il menù con gli insegnanti, in base anche a eventuali intolleranze o allergie.
    i tuoi cestini sono bellissimi, e in effetti il fatto di colorare il pranzo lo rende molto più appetibile, complimenti :)

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    1. Mi piacerebbe che qui ci fosse la mensa, in inverno avrebbero proprio bisogno di una minestra calda, invece di mangiarsi un panino fuori (non possono mangiare dentro, se piove stanno sotto ad una verandina, seduti dove possono, non ci sono tavoli...). C'e' un negozio che vende cose, ma non sono un gran che, e molte non sono sane per niente :-(.

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    2. scusa Ale ma la "schiscetta" termica non ce l'avete da quelle parti? non puoi procurartene una così la mattina scaldi bene il pasto ai tuoi figli, e per l'ora di pranzo è ancora almeno tiepido così possono gustarsi un cibo migliore di un panino. Che ne dici? Se non ne trovi davvero mi offro di mandartene un paio volentieri. Fammi sapere.

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  7. Belli, invitanti, buon week end

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  8. Your lunches look great. I'm always trying to find healthy, colourful food to pack for my kids. I love this site: http://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com.au/

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  9. Caspita m'è venuta voglia d tornare a scuola pure a me! :-)

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  10. Bellissimi i tuoi cestini!
    Qui in Italia oramai è (quasi) estate e fragole ciliegie,pesche, albicocche, angurie, meloni , ribes, lamponi la fanno da padrone.
    Il problema del pranzo a scuola si è risolto da solo: le scuole sono terminate!!

    Buona domenica

    loredana

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  11. Beati voi, ho voglia di albicocche, ciliegie e anguria!!

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  12. Ma che meraviglia questi cestini alessandra!! io non ho bambini, ma li farei volentieri per me per andare in ufficio questi pranzetti! devo dire che mangio molta verdura, ma non ho mai provato a tenere questa regola dei 5 colori...molto interessante! ora farò più attenzione...cia, buona domenica! no, forse lì è già finita...buona serata!

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    1. A quanto pare se mangi tutti i colori copri + o - tutte le vitamine e antiossidanti (si chiamano così in italiano??) che ci sono. Solo la vitamina E sta in pochi frutti (il mango per esempio), ma c'e' nella frutta secca e semi.

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  13. mio figlio è grande , aveva la mensa a scuola, non la ricorda con simpatia ne deduco che il cibo fosse di scarsa qualità ! I tuoi cestini sarebbero stati graditi!

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    1. ehehehe, anche le mense peggiori in Italia sono sempre più buone di molti ristoranti cari qui!!!
      Io ero in Emilia e andavo alla mensa solo una volta alla settimana, ma si mangiava benissimo.

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  14. Mine really like having a warm thing for their lunch and I found some metal thermal food flasks at the Warehouse that seem to work for them. So, I put various forms of pasta in, occasionally a frankfurter (cut up), sometimes leftovers from dinner. I haven't tried soup yet because I'm afraid my 5 year old will spill it but maybe when she is a bit older.

    Mine like dried apricots and nuts, banana chips too.

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  15. Yes I would like to give them something warm/hot for winter, it has been so cold recently... need to find a good thermal flask :-).

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  16. super super lunch boxes!! wonderfully healthy - I think I've come to the end of my lunch box making career - I wish I had had such great inspiration years ago!!
    Mary x

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  17. Sarei anche disposta a tornare a studiare pur di avere un box come quelli che fai tu? Che ne dici, mi iscrivo ad un corso dalle tue parti?
    Un saluto.

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