This post is in partnership with Daiya Foods, but all opinions are my own.
It took a while, but I think I’m finally (sort of) getting into the swing of things in terms of having a little one at school all day everyday for the first time ever. Because I work from home, I had visions of both my productivity levels soaring and myself feeling more rested one Essley started Kindergarten because I’d have more free time; but the truth is that things like having to get a 5 year old who likes to sleep in up and ready every morning, getting to the bus stop on time twice a day, driving to and from activities after school, and packing lunches every single day can take some getting used to. (There is also the fact that Essley’s little brother, who doesn’t start back at preschool until next week, no longer has his summertime playmate all day and is in sudden need of excessive and constant attention… but I’ll save that for another day.)
I will say that the task I most dreaded about this new school routine – packing lunches – turned out to be something I actually enjoy. While I may not be an over-achieving Pinterest parent who cuts every sandwich and piece of fruit into intricate shapes perfectly arranged in a Bento box, I do get creative satisfaction out of coming up with unique ideas to incorporate into Essley’s lunches. And it’s even more fun when I can challenge myself to keep as much as possible in each lunch plant-based. Essley isn’t a vegetarian like I am, but she often prefers plant-based foods. I make her a lot of plant-based sandwiches using vegan bread, Daiya Slices, and guacamole, but sometimes I just like to think out of the (lunch) box. I recently came up with some fun shish kabobs using Daiya Cheeze Sticks and other ingredients, and they ended up being a huge hit. I make two versions: a savory sandwich version, and a fruit-filled ‘dessert’ version. Now we include them in her lunch several days a week, per her request.
Plant-Based Lunch-Kabobs, 2 Ways
1 Daiya Cheddar Style Deluxe Cheeze Stick
Vegan Bread (many breads are vegan and/or plant-based; just check the ingredients)
Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
1 Daiya Mozzarella Style Deluxe Cheeze Stick
Cut both Daiya Deluxe Cheeze Sticks into cubes. Cut bread into small squares and romaine lettuce into small, foldable pieces. Cut tops off strawberries and tomatoes in half. For the sandwich-kabob, layer Cheddar Style Cheeze Stick cubes, bread, tomatoes, and romaine lettuce onto a skewer and repeat until filled. For fruit kabobs, layer Mozzarella Style Cheeze Stick cubes, strawberries, and grapes until filled. So easy, cute, tasty, and fun!
You guys already know how much I adore Daiya and their seriously delicious, better-for-you plant-based comfort foods, so it’s probably no surprise that we’ve fallen in love with their new Deluxe Cheeze Sticks as well. Whether I’m making these kabobs or just throwing one in Essley’s lunchbox, Daiya Cheeze Sticks are the perfect school lunch staple. Available in Cheddar Style and Mozzarella Style flavors, they’re great for a quick snack on the way to activities too. They are also dairy, soy, and gluten-free, and a good source of calcium. And most importantly, both of my kids love them. (So do their parents!)
If you guys haven’t tried Daiya Cheeze Sticks yet, head over to your local grocery store and grab some now. No really, do it! You can thank me later. You can find them – and items from Daiya’s other yummy plant-based line (their Shreds, Slices, and Pizzas are other favorites in our house) – at more than 25,000 grocery stores in the U.S., including Whole Foods, Kroger, Meijer, Safeway, and Publix, as well as most natural food retailers.
If you try these fun lunch-kabobs, I’d love to hear what your kids (or you!) think!