Vegan Deli

Vegan Deli  by Jo Stepaniak

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Raising Vegetarian Children
by Jo Stepaniak, M.S.Ed., & Vesanto Melina M.S., R.D.

Raising Vegetarian Children

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Do you have questions about being vegan? Send them to Jo using this easy form. She would be happy to address your individual concerns as well as general inquiries about vegan ethics, philosophy, practical applications, and living compassionately. Jo cannot respond to questions about nutrition or answer questions that have already been addressed in the Archives

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Portable Vegan Lunches

question.gif - 1.4 K I am in high school and have been a vegetarian for over half of my life. It has always been easy for me to avoid eating meat because I could always eat the side dishes. I really want to be come a vegan but I am young and feel that it will be hard for me since I am such an active person. For instance, what can I eat at lunchtime at school that will fill me up but is not a slice of pizza or a candy bar?

answer.gif - 1.3 K A large number of young adults, including high school and college students, are drawn to veganism for a variety of reasons. It's quite likely this age group is the fastest growing segment of the vegan movement. There are many people -- just like you -- who have successfully transitioned from vegetarian to vegan, even though they lead active lives with demanding schedules. Of course, the shift is always easier with the support of like-minded family members and friends and an abundance of information and ideas. But even if you are the only vegan in your family, neighborhood, or school, it is still possible to be triumphant in your passage.

For most vegans, unless they live in an exceptionally vegan-friendly town, it is much easier to fix something to eat at home than it is to find something edible and satisfying in the school cafeteria. Even though you may feel rushed in the morning, it is important that you eat a well balanced breakfast. A nutritious morning meal that fills you up can go a long way toward boosting your energy and getting you through the day.

Whenever possible, pack a lunch for yourself. Sandwiches are always quick and easy -- try bean spread, nut butter and jelly, vegan cheese, baked or smoked tofu, or seitan-based luncheon "meat." Before or after dinner, cook up frozen prepared veggie burgers, hot dogs, vegetable pockets, or burritos to bring for lunch the following day. Carry a thermos of boiled water and a packet of instant soup or a meal-in-a-cup and prepare it just before lunchtime. Alternatively, before school in the morning, heat up leftover or canned soup, baked beans, or spaghetti with tomato sauce and pack it into a wide-mouth thermos designed specifically for hot foods. Make or buy a bean dip (such as hummus) and bring pita bread and some vegetable sticks. Small boxes of cold cereal along with soy milk in aseptic packages and fresh fruit make a simple, easy-to-pack lunch. If you have time after school or on the weekend, make a big batch of soup, pasta salad, or rice salad to use throughout the week.

Keep a stash of ready-to-eat foods in your backpack: fresh and dried fruit (such as raisins, apricots, and fruit leather), fruit juice in small bottles or aseptic packages, soy milk or rice milk in aseptic packages, vegan pudding cups, granola, trail mix, soy nuts, plain popcorn, pretzels, baked corn chips, crackers (plain or spread with nut butter), and vegan sports bars (such as Boulder Bars or Clif Bars). If there is a natural food store near you, take the time to look over the shelves, aisle by aisle, to find new and exciting portable foods. Don't forget to look in the deli case and freezer section, too. There are many prepared foods that travel well and frozen items that you could heat up at home in the evening and take to school cold the next day. Some natural food stores even have their own bakery and may offer vegan cookies and muffins.

Being vegan is not vastly different from being vegetarian. You are already most of the way there. With just a little extra forethought and planning, you should have no difficulty making the change. And, once you do, no matter how hectic your life is, being vegan will eventually become comfortable and effortless. After a while it will no longer be a process -- it will simply be an integral part of who you are.




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