Ranch, Honey Maple & Vanilla Yogurt Dips

My toddler is about to start her second year of nursery school. This time last year, we were preparing her to be away from family for the first time! Although I wanted her to eat healthy, plant-based foods like we did at home, I was daunted by the task of packing lunches daily. But, very quickly, it became my favorite hobby. I loved making simple fruits and veggies extra cute and enticing–to get her to eat them–but also to show her the love and comfort of home while she adjusted to an unfamiliar place. I learned to prep lunch the night before so I had enough time to carefully cut cute shapes out of fruit, toast bread to the right crispness, or prep condiments.

My favorite part was the arrangement. I got a small, stainless steel box with moveable plastic dividers from Ukonserve so that everything would stay in place. (The box pictured is Sarah (our food stylist’s) favorite, from OmieBox. The adorable farm animal-themed sauce cups are from Midoriya, my favorite local Japanese market, but are also available here.)

The box is packed with a main dish, a vegetable, and cut fruit. Her favorite mains are PB & J, mini pizza (made on an English Muffin half), and nuggets. There is always dip. From early on, I discovered that if she had something to dip her food in, she was twice as likely to eat it, and the odds were better that the lunchbox would come home empty.

Coconut yogurt is our number one dip choice, for the flavor, satisfying good fat and probiotic value. In the beginning, I’d put a couple plain spoonfuls in a cup. Since then, I’ve developed infinite variations of yogurt dip. Here are her three favorites.

lunchbox yogurt dip vegan

Creamy Maple Mustard Dip
(Makes about ½ cup)

Tangy mustard is balanced by sweet maple syrup and creamy yogurt, for a dip both kids and adults will like. This is our favorite nugget accompaniment! Some of my favorite vegan nuggets are the Whole Foods Chickenless Nuggets, which are now seitan-based and have the most authentic style. Hillary’s nuggets are millet based and hearty, without being similar to meat. Earth’s Best veggie nuggets are great because they have actual chunks of vegetables like peas and carrots! And a yummy, potato flour crust.

½ cup Anita’s Yogurt
½ tsp brown mustard
½ tsp maple syrup
pinch sea salt

In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients until smooth. Serve immediately or store in the fridge, stirring again just before ready to use.

vegan kids bento

Buttermilk Ranch Dip
(Makes about ½ cup)

This easy, dairy-free twist on the classic American favorite is perfect for raw vegetables like carrots sticks and snap peas. Make extra for your grown-up salad!

⅓ cup Anita’s Yogurt
3 tbp vegan mayo
½ tsp dried Italian herbs
½ tsp white vinegar
pinch sea salt
optional: 1 tsp minced chives

In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients until smooth. Serve immediately or store in the fridge, stirring again just before ready to use.

Vanilla Dip
(Makes about ½ cup)

This lightly sweetened dip makes fresh fruit twice as yummy. Be sure to cut the fruit into chunks that are big enough for little hands to grip.

½ cup Anita’s Yogurt
½ tsp pure maple syrup
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients until smooth. Serve immediately or store in the fridge, stirring again just before ready to use.

lunchbox yogurt dips

Tags :