Happy Herbivore Blog

Healthy School Lunches for Kids

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Have you heard about the Healthy School Lunch Initiave? It's fantastic. The Physcian's Commitee for Responsible Medicine has created a petition to help push Congress into giving kids healthier school lunches -- and vegetarian options. Even if you or your child is not a vegetarian (or vegan) but you're tired of the deep-fried, overly processed and unhealthy muck schools are serving these days, sign the petition!

Tell Congress that students deserve healthy foods—more vegetables, fruits, vegetarian foods, and healthful nondairy beverages. (Both parents and students can sign the petition!) You can also "fan" the iniative on Facebook.

I have been a huge supporter since I first learned about this revolution and was thrilled when PCRM asked me to devise a few healthy vegan lunch box lunch menus! Kid-tested and parent-approved, your kids will love these healthy vegan lunches!

Menu #1

- Crispy Chickenless Nuggets (+ dipping sauce)
- Kale Chips
- Grapes
- Pumpkin-Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
- Water or 100% Juice Box

Menu #2

- Mock Tuna Salad Sandwich
- Apple
- Carrot Sticks
- Black Bean Brownie
- Water or 100% Juice Box

Menu #3

- Baked Mini Corn Dogs (+ dipping sauce)
- Jicama Slices
- Kale Chips
- Pumpkin-Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
- Water or 100% Juice Box

Menu #4

- Chickpea Noodle Soup (in thermos)
- Orange
- Celery Sticks
- Carrot Cake Cupcake
- Water or 100% Juice Box

Menu #5

- Hummus (with mixed vegetables for dipping)
- Apple
- Orange
- Chocolate-Zucchini Muffin
- Water or 100% Juice Box

PCRM is also hosting a contest, "What's on your tray?" To enter, post a photo of the worst school lunch (or the best vegetarian school lunch) on PCRM's Facebook page and explain why it's so great or terrible. Contest is open to parents, teachers and students.  The winning photo will be posted on HealthySchoolLunches.org and the winner will receive a free "Plant Power" lunchbag!

What are some of YOUR favorite, healthy lunch items? Please share!

Closing Thoughts on Low Fat Raw

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

A huge part of my motivation for doing raw week was curiosity. Despite my struggles this week, I feel it was still a successful experiment because I learned quite a bit and have answers to all my lingering questions...

* Is a low fat raw vegan diet possible? Yes, absolutely. I'm not the first to try it. There are plenty of low fat raw foodies out there (such as Steve PavlinaFrederic Patenaude and this guy). There's also a book called the 80/10/10 diet.

* Is it expensive? I spent a comprable amount of money but came home with double the bags. This is not surprisingly, leafy greens and produce take up a lot more space than a can of beans. Had I bought raw nuts, raw seeds and some of the more specialty items, though, I would have easily overspent our typical budget.

* Does it live up to the hype? I expected my digestive system to hum along smoothly this week and it didn't. I felt burpy and gassy -- and I never feel that way normally. On the upside, green juice gave me a huge boost when I drank it!

* Was it "easier"? The foods were definitely easier to make and fairly "instant" to prepare, which I liked. What I didn't like is all that I had more dirty dishes than normal and I was constantly dirtying up things I loathed cleaning like my Vita-Mix and food processor.

* Is it practical? For me, no. But maybe for someone else. I've never been a calorie counter, so I found it annoying to have to monitor myself every day. I'm also not a planner. I buy the same staples at the store every week and make meals on the fly. It cramped my style to have to plan a week's worth of menus and also plan for meals days or hours in advanced (stuff needs to soak for hours, or dehydrate for days, etc).

* Is it greener? I think it depends on where you live. This week I had to buy produce that came not only from different states, but different climates. I live in cold New York, we just don't have much growing locally this time year. To have only bought what was local would have left me with only a few foods to eat! (If I was still in LA, where there is an abundance of produce in season year round, well, that would have made all the difference!)

* Is this for me? An obvious no. But, I knew this going in. I love cooked food and I've always been a carbohydrate addict. I do love salads, smoothies and fresh juices, and they will always be a part of my diet, but not my whole diet.

* Would I recommend this diet/lifestyle? Absolutely. If you're interested or curious, I highly recommend you give it a try. Just because it isn't right for me, doesn't mean it's not right for you. Two friends of mine, Gena and Mike, are both raw. They're thriving and they love it. Even in my little raw week circle there have been great successes. While I've had my struggles, others have been very successful and are really enjoying the high raw regimen.

* Where will I go from here? I'm still really excited about low fat/fat-free raw food; I want to continue explore it and try my hand at more recipes -- just at a sporadic and more gradual level. Maybe this summer, when it's way too hot to cook, I'll get a chance to do more un-cooking!

I'm also looking forward to sharing recipes for raw chili, raw ice cream and raw pasta bologna with you next week!

Raw Day 4

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

I woke up at 7:00 a.m. and had an apple and a banana. (Organicgoddess suggested I just eat fruit for breakfast, and not soaked grains, for optimal digestion, so I decided to give it a try). All was well, except I found myself starving by 10:30.

Lucky for me, right about then a friend tweeted this raw cinnamon roll smoothie. Since I love my ww ff cinnamon buns, and I enjoyed these live cinnamon buns (from 30-Minute Vegan) a while back -- I just had to try the smoothie.

I combined 1 banana with 1 cup raw almond milk, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp pure maple syrup (I thought that would taste more "authentic" than the agave) and a few dashes of cinnamon. I'm not sure how much it tasted like a cinnamon roll -- but it was delicious (and creamy).

For lunch I made a raw kale salad (or "kalad" as I accidentally tweeted today) with peaches. I used two entire bunches of kale, a little salt and a big fat peach. 

I had the munchies again at 3:00 and ate a handful of dehydrated apple rings I bought at Trader Joes. 

Dinner. was. cooked. To make a long story short, I had dinner plans but thanks to the weather, I never made it there. I was trapped underground on the subway for half an hour (and managed to only go 3 stops) when I gave up and rerouted myself home. Another hour later I was actually home and so hungry and weak I felt fait. I grabbed a sprouted ww tortilla from the fridge, opened a can of fat-free vegetarian refried beans and voila roll-up in the mouth. No sooner had I eaten one, I went back for another and still another. 

Then Scott asked me to tape an episode of beerfingers with him (which meant I'd have to drink two beers...) and that was that. So, I guess I flunked out, again. At least this time it was willfully. Sort-of.

Anywho, I'm going to give the raw regimen one more day, (I think) but I'm pretty certain Day 5 will be "quits." We're tentatively going snowboarding all weekend in Vermont. It's already plenty difficult to just eat vegan up there, let alone raw. Plus I'm not sure I could sustain the energy I need to vigorously snowboard for 8 hours a day on just fruits and veggies alone... (I burn, on average, 3,000 calories a day snowboarding) but we'll see!

Either way I'm working on a "closing thoughts" post that should be pretty informative -- so swing by to check it out! I can't wait to read your thoughts!