Let's hear what fellow holistic nutritionist Laurie, with her specialty in pediatrics, has to say.
The Book: Vegan Lunch Box: 130 Amazing, Animal-Free Lunches Kids and Grown-Ups Will Love! by Jennifer McCann (Da Capo Press/Lifelong Books, 2008)
Review by Laurie K. Meher, RHN
Preamble/Overall Feeling: This cookbook focuses on vegan lunch options for kids and adults alike. The author, Jennifer McCann, kept a blog where she photographed her son’s lunches for a year; this cookbook is a compilation of these meals and many more. The book is separated into two parts; Part One has a variety of menus and Part Two Lists the recipes. In the first part the menus include Quick and Easy Meals, meals that are fast to prepare, Rise and Shine, for meals that you can take the time to create, Ready and Waiting, meals that you can make the night before as well as menus with an international focus and for special occasions. I appreciated her respect for the struggle that parents have to make meals when it seems like there is little time in the day, so the Quick and Easy options are helpful. I also like that she has some meals to make the night before or that made a large amount that you could freeze. This is a useful way for a busy family to get meals together. The recipes in the second section have easy-to-find ingredients and are fairly simple to put together. Some of my favourites are the recipes for Lentil-Rice balls, Split Pea Alecha (Ethipian Stew) and Samosas.
Best Bits: This book focuses on variety, colour and flavour, which I like. It is important for parents to realize that we do not have to feed our child the same thing every day, especially if our families have a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. The menus are well-rounded offering good sources of vegetable protein. Jennifer offers some creative and tasty ways to make up legumes and some items can be used in several different ways, which makes meals easier to throw together. She also makes lunches and menus that replicate what the other kids are eating: calzones, muffins, cookies, even croissants! I also love the international options because it helps get kids excited about meals that offer flavour and nutrition.
Less-Wonderful Bits: I wasn’t too happy with the amount of soy products that used in here. While I appreciate the convenience of soy products, I don’t feel that vegan deli slices, hot dogs, cream cheese or soy yogurt are any healthier than the animal versions. I understand that it is hard to find substitutes that are easy and quick for lunches, and I was looking for something that would give me other ideas, beyond those soy products. I was also surprised by the fact that many menus included candy or processed desserts. I would like to see parents getting away from including these sugar treats in their kids lunches altogether.
Whole foods focus?: Sure, for the most part.
Vegan-Friendly?: Yes, completely.
Eco-Conscious?: Definitely (Promotes non-animal eating and reusable containers!)
Web Presence?: Yes.