Crissandra “Angel” Hall is a single vegan mom of four. You may recognize her three girls as the acro yoga trio known as DZ Vegan Kid Athletes on Instagram, but what their back-bending poses don’t reveal is the dedicated woman behind the camera. In addition to being a full-time mom, she’s a full-time nurse, and when the pandemic hit, she was sent across the country to hot spots such as New York City, NY and Austin, TX. After weeks away from her family with intermittent cross-country flights to attend her children’s birthdays and gymnastics competitions, she continues to show up for both her family and her patients. Even though many of us see a light at the end of the tunnel, essential workers are still essential, and they deserve every kindness we can spare. This Mother’s Day, let’s treat all moms—not just our own, but those working in these essential roles. Here are nine vegan things that can make a working mom’s day. 

1. Peanut-free vegan protein bars

Nurses and moms alike are constantly rushed, and when there’s no time to sit down for a meal, a plant-based protein bar is a reliable go-to. Hall is allergic to peanuts, and she brings up a fair point: if you’re donating to your local nurses, it’s best to err on the safe side and go peanut-free. Her favorite pick-me-up snack is Garden of Life’s Organic Fit High Protein Weight Loss bars. The vegan S’mores and Chocolate Coconut Almond only taste like candy bars—nutrition-wise, they fuel far better than something out of a vending machine.

2. Frozen vegan proteins

When a nurse or busy mom does get a bit of time to herself, she doesn’t necessarily want to spend that time cooking. Hall relies on certain store-bought staples to toss together a tasty and satiating meal. She prefers food on the spicy side, so Gardein’s Nashville Hot Chick’n Tenders are a comfort at the end of a long day. If you’re dropping off food for essential workers, incorporate a few non-spicy options as well for workers with more sensitive palates. 

3. Cheesy vegan snacks

Sure, even vegan Cheetos aren’t the healthiest of options, but it’s no secret that hospital workers are frequent vending machine shoppers. Curb the demand for animal-based goods by offering up a veganized version of their favorite packaged snacks. Hall is a big fan of PeaTos—particularly the Fiery Hot flavor. Bonus: they contain four grams of protein and three grams of fiber! 

4. Chocolate and caramels

A little something sweet can brighten anyone’s day, but nurses and moms need something they can pop on the go. Make up a basket of individually wrapped vegan chocolates and caramels that nurses can divvy up and stuff in their pockets to savor in between patients. Hall recommends No Whey Chocolates and Cocomels.

5. Fresh fruit 

A fruit basket may seem old-fashioned, but amidst the steady rotation of packaged foods, essential workers crave a bit of freshness. Plus, many fruits provide a natural energy and hydration boost. Hardy fruits such as perfectly ripe bananas, apples (not Red Delicious—the name is an oxymoron), dates, tangerines, and mangoes are all stellar options. 

6. Vegan hair care products

High-stress jobs do a number on your hair—just look at every US presidents’ before and after shots. The gray sets in quickly. Hall explained that nurses are also under a heavy amount of stress and that can lead to early grays and even thinning hair. Every mom deserves to feel beautiful, even if her hair is under a nurse’s cap. Hall is in love with Donna’s Recipe hair products by Tabitha Brown. From vegan biotin hair vitamin gummies to strengthening hair oil, Brown’s collection will help revive even the most stressed-out locks. 

7. Resistance exercise bands 

With multi-day shifts, nurses rarely have time for a dedicated hour-long workout. Particularly for those who travel like Hall, they need something that’s fast, effective, and portable. Hall recommended a set of resistance bands which she relies on to keep her in shape no matter where she is. A few squats and bicep curls complement the constant rushing required of every nurse (and mom). 

8. Juices and wellness shots

Hall swears by her immunity shots from Kor and Pressed Juicery. She told us, “I love these because they’re strong, potent, and have helped me stay healthy while looking after tons of COVID-19 patients over the past year and more.” A steady stream of juices also provides quick, immunity-boosting nutrients to nurses dealing with at-risk patients. A package of green and citrus juices with a few drinkable vitamin C wellness shots is more than just a thoughtful gesture—it could allow these workers to stay healthy and continue their essential work. 

9. Love

Okay, yes we know it’s cheesy, but it’s Mother’s Day, after all. If your mom goes in for the hug, don’t stand there like a stiff. Embrace the embrace. Like any solid relationship, find ways to say “I love you” every day. These little reminders can make anyone’s day. And if it’s not your own mom, show some appreciation either with a friendly smile, a thank you note, or a full basket stuffed with all of these vegan goodies. Actually, all three would suit just fine. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the essential workers. 

Tanya Flink is the Digital Editor at VegNews as well as a writer and runner living in Orange County, CA.

Photo credit: Crissandra Hall