Yesterday I was speaking to someone about how I am now 100% plant based and consume no animal products at all. Before this year I was vegetarian for 5 years, having previously been veggie as a youngster too, but now I’ve cut all animal products out. My husband has been meat and dairy free (an ovo-vegetarian) for six months since trying Veganuary in January. The kids pretty much ate what we ate and we stopped giving them meat this year too, but we were still at first giving them a small amount of dairy. But now my husband has stopped consuming it, along with the increasing research I am doing into its negative health effects, we have decided the kids are now officially ovo-vegetarians too. This means they do not eat meat or dairy, but they do still eat eggs and a small amount of fish. I’d rather hubby and kids didn’t eat fish at all, but it’s a compromise. We don’t buy it to have at home, but we have one chip shop visit a week, usually a Friday treat, and they will have some cod bites.
As for the eggs, I was originally going to eat these as we have our own chickens in the garden! We treat them well and give them organic soy-free feed so they are much better quality than shop bought eggs. I then made the decision to go totally animal product free, but hubby and kids didn’t. So they still eat eggs, but almost all the eggs they eat are from our chickens, unless they eat out or have mayonnaise. We never need to buy eggs at home as we have plenty from our chickens.
Anyway, the person I was speaking to about all this was wondering what I do for the kids’ lunches. Bella was having the free school dinners as she’s in key stage one. I stopped this a couple of months ago or perhaps it was longer, as soon as I wanted her to stop consuming dairy and meat. She actually didn’t mind as she loves taking a healthy lunch box. She calls it her picnic lunch!
Reuben is at both a playschool and a nursery. At playschool he has to take a lunch box and at the nursery they usually insist the children have their cooked meals (at an extra cost of course!), but I was allowed to choose a lunch box as I said he was vegan and they didn’t provide vegan dinners. At that time I thought it was just easier to say vegan than explain what an ovo-vegetarian was and blah blah blah, plus I wasn’t sure the kids were going to continue with eggs or fish at the point of telling the nursery.
Reuben has always had this thing with bread. He will not touch it. He’s never had it so he might even like it, but he refuses to try. He does eat toast so it’s not that he totally hates the stuff! We tried to trick him into eating a sandwich by giving him toast sandwiches then one day giving an actual sandwich hoping he would just eat it. But no. He was not fooled! He won’t eat bread, wraps, pastries, thins, even doughnuts! Basically anything that looks like bread is off the menu for him.
So for his lunch it’s usually pasta pots with nut free pesto (I’m not sure they’re allowed to take nuts in any form in their lunchboxes) and veg or crackers like Ryvita or Kallo with various spreads. Sometimes they have a little salad pot. I also add in a fresh piece of fruit, cut up veg, dried fruit, Goodies biscuits or a Goodies snack, sometimes breadsticks and very occasionally a homemade energy ball or slice of refined sugar-free vegan chocolate cake!
Bella will have sandwiches, though she usually just gets the same as Reuben as it’s so much easier to make the same lunches at the same time. She does love an egg mayo sandwich or a vegan cheese sandwich.
When I mentioned a sandwich to the person I was talking to, they queried what on Earth would you put in a vegan sandwich? I mentioned a few things and then later I asked my husband if he could think of say 20 vegan sandwich fillings. He mumbled ‘probably not’. So I wanted to set myself a challenge!
I am typing this and thinking as I go along, as I want to see if I can come up with one more. Can I think of 21 vegan sandwich fillings that are fairly easy to create for lunch, the kids’ school lunchboxes or Ben’s work lunchbox? So here I go. Below are 21 easy(ish) vegan sandwich filling ideas without soy or added sugar.
21 easy vegan sandwich filling ideas
- Red pepper, spinach, pine nuts and hummous (Perfect in a pitta too)
- Shredded carrot, shredded lettuce and hummous (1, I love hummous, can you tell? and 2, wouldn’t this make a delicious wrap?)
- A slice of vegan cheese, lettuce and mayo (I recommend Violife cheese made from coconut oil and Mayorice which is made from rice milk)
- Grated vegan cheese, diced onion and mayo (mix this altogether to make a batch of sandwich filling – use Mayorice and Violife cheese)
- Almond butter and jam (I love Meridian 100% nut butters and St Dalfour 100% fruit jam)
- Stuffing and cranberry (Cook up a batch of stuffing, most shop packet mixes are vegan, and mix with cranberry sauce. Meridian do a refined sugar-free cranberry sauce)
- Avocado, courgette, shredded lettuce and cucumber (Another amazing wrap filling too. I love raw slices of courgette. It’s amazing in salads and thinly sliced in sandwiches. Spread the avocado on the bread to act as the spread for everything to stick to)
- Marmite and spread (It doesn’t always have to be complicated. We use the Pure spreads, either olive or sunflower, but they do a soy one too if you eat soy. Marmite is vegan friendly and has vitamin B12 added)
- Vegan sausage, tomato puree, lettuce and sliced tomato (Kind of like a BLT, but a SLT for vegans! We love Dees vegan sausages which come in a variety of flavours and are soy-free)
- Peanut butter and banana (This would make a great slightly toasted sandwich and is one the kids will love. Get a 100% nut butter to make sure there’s no horrible added sugars. I recommend Pip n Nut, Whole Earth or Meridian. Some supermarkets like Tesco even stock their own 100% pure nut butters now including cashew and almond butters)
Whoop I thought of 10. Now it’s getting tricky, but here goes!
- Jam (Not so inventive, but sometimes the simplest sandwiches are the best. If I could get Reuben to eat a blinkin’ sandwich then this would be his favourite filling. We choose St Dalfour jams which are 100% fruit and no added cane sugar in sight. They have some yummy flavours and my favourites are the wild blueberry or raspberry)
- Falafel, hummous and shredded lettuce (The amazing food brand Gosh do loads of falafel style balls in all sorts of yummy flavours. This is the perfect pitta filling too)
- Sun dried tomato, hummous, olive and red pepper (My mind can’t stop thinking of hummous…)
- Cashew cheese and cucumber (Have you tried cashew cheese? It’s the best!)
- Grilled mushroom and courgette slices with tomato and garlic puree (A great toastie too)
- Grilled aubergine, mixed peppers and carrot strips with green vegan pesto (We love Meridian and Le Conserve Della Nonna pestos)
- Avocado, slices of beef tomato and grated carrot (Super refreshing for summer)
- Cashew butter and wild blueberry spread (This amazing spread is by St Dalfour)
- Tomato puree, sliced beef tomatoes and sundried tomatoes (One for the tommy lovers!)
- Roasted butternut squash, wilted spinach, carrot puree and a sprinkle of superfood hemp seeds(I’m drooling at the thought of this in a wrap…)
I made it! Just one more to think of…
- Falafel, shredded red cabbage, and smashed avocado with lime