Vegetarian Journal's Foodservice Update

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Vegetarian Journal's Foodservice Update
Healthy Tips and Recipes for Institutions

Volume IX, Number 3 Summer 2001


Question: I run a combined preschool and day camp. More and more of the parents are asking for vegan snacks. It's not feasible for me to prepare a variety of snacks - our kitchen and refrigerator areas are small, and time is short. What kind of snacks will appeal to both veggie and non-veggie kids?

Answer: Kids are kids and most enjoy crunchy, colorful, smooth, and tasty snacks. We'll assume that you plan your snacks around the other meals you serve, so that all the nutritional bases are covered. For example, if breakfast is oatmeal, raisins, and bananas and lunch is humus, pita bread, and carrot and celery sticks, then the snack should have some vitamin C (which is lacking in the otherwise nutritious meals). So, think about orange smiles (orange wedges) served with a strawberry dipping sauce (purée frozen, thawed strawberries with a bit of orange juice concentrate). Or cut up three different colors of bell peppers (loaded with vitamin C) and serve them with bite-size shredded wheat or whole grain crackers.

The more participation they're allowed, the more kids will enjoy their snack time. Let them build "pebbles on a log" by stuffing celery with peanut butter or soy cream cheese and sprinkling raisins, chopped dates, or dried cranberries on top. Dipping is always fun. Dips can include peanut, soy, or almond butter, soy cream cheese or sour cream, blended tofu (especially a flavored variety), mashed avocado, and various flavors of hummus. Sweet dips can be made by puréeing bananas with fresh or frozen fruit, or by using soy yogurt or soy cream cheese. Good "dip sticks" can include cut up carrots, celery, peppers, mushrooms, and cucumbers, as well as pita wedges, breadsticks, pretzels, crackers, and apple or pear sections.

If you're looking for a hot snack, try macaroni tossed with tomato sauce (you can make it "creamy" by mixing in some silken tofu or soy sour cream), small pieces of baked white potato or sweet potato, or small portions of veggie hot dogs or burgers on whole wheat buns. If the kids are old enough, cook up some fresh or frozen corn on the cob for a quick snack.

Make up a "house blend" of crunchy snacks by mixing several types of cold cereals (look for whole grain, no sugar varieties), pretzel pieces, and smashed healthy cookies with dried fruit. For a sweet snack, keep sorbet on hand. You can serve it in cones or topped with chopped fruit. Fruit salad, made with a combination of fresh, frozen, and canned fruits is fast to make, as are romaine or spinach salads topped with croutons. Pretty soon, you'll find you won't be thinking about "veggie" snacks at all! You'll just be looking forward to snack time.

Excerpts from the Summer 2001 Issue:

Click here to go to the main foodservice page (Vegetarian Journal's FoodService Update and Quantity Cooking Information with links to each issue).

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June 28, 2001

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