Do you want to know healthy vegan lunch ideas for school? You’ve come to the right place! Many kids struggle with getting a great lunch in the school cafeteria. This blog post can help you find a great vegan lunch idea your child will love!
Summer always seems to disappear quickly, and back-to-school days find parents scrambling to get the kids ready. One thing you can check off your to-do list is finding healthy school lunch recipes.
If your child is vegan or vegetarian, that adds to the challenge. Don’t despair! With our handy list of recipes and ideas, creating easy, tasty school lunches will be a breeze.
And, if you like the idea of having all of our best school lunch ideas, tips, and tricks in one neat package, you may want to check out our Healthy Plant Based School Lunches E-Book.
Here are some of the tips that will keep you sane from the first day of school to the last:
1. Keep your lunch-making supplies together.
Keeping everything you need for prepping lunches in one place makes for a much more efficient morning “rush hour.” In one cabinet, you can store the lunch boxes, sandwich bags, thermoses, plastic spoons and forks, toothpicks, and small plastic storage containers. I also keep packaged snacks with these supplies for easy access.
2. Stock up on cold packs.
Make sure you have plenty of freezer packs available at the start of the school year. Somehow these things never make it back into my freezer in the evening, so having spares is essential. I like these slim ones that are easy to stack together in the freezer.
3. Vary the types of bread used for sandwiches.
Bagels, rolls, pita pockets, English muffins, raisin bread, and even fresh flour tortillas or “wraps” can add interest to standard sandwich fare. Check out our sandwich and wrap recipes for ideas.
4. Consider a thermos.
Dishes that taste just as good warm or at room temperature are more successful than those that need to stay hot (but usually don’t).
If your child’s school has a microwave available, your thermos offerings can include macaroni and cheese, soups, and leftover casseroles.
5. Make fruit appealing.
Fruit packed into lunch boxes can come home uneaten unless you try some simple tricks. Small chunks of fruit, such as strawberries, grapes, melon, tiny seedless orange sections, and such, served on a skewer (long cocktail toothpicks are perfect), are always eaten.
Similarly, apple slices are more likely to be eaten if you supply a tiny container of peanut butter to dip them into.
6. Raw vegetables are better with dip.
When sending carrots (or baby carrots), celery, bell peppers, etc. – cut them into strips and add a tiny container of your child’s favorite dressing or dip.
Natural store-bought or homemade hummus is a great choice, as is vegan ranch dressing. Add wedges of pita bread for dipping, too.
7. Cereal is an unexpected treat at lunch.
Pack some nutritious cereal in a lidded bowl-shaped container, and your child can add his or her favorite nondairy milk to it (vanilla almond milk is particularly good with cereal) when it’s time to eat.
Teamed with a banana, this makes a filling meal. And it’s always fun to eat breakfast at “weird” times.
8. Make wholesome homemade muffins.
Muffins are always a crowd pleaser, and it’s super easy to make tasty ones that are actually healthy too.
Check out these Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins or these Magic Vegan Muffins for starters.
Pack a wedge of vegan cheese or a container of coconut yogurt, plus fresh fruit to go along with them.
9. Salads in pita bread or in wraps appeal to kids with more adventurous palates.
Augment simple salads of lettuce, tomato, peppers, and cucumbers with chickpeas, chunks of baked tofu, chickpeas or other beans, and grated nondairy cheese.
Keep pita sandwiches fresh by wrapping them first in foil, then placing them in sandwich bags.
10. Expand on PB & J.
Try cashew, almond, or sunflower butters, and no-sugar added fruit spreads or apple butter for a change of pace.
11. Pack a veggie burger.
Veggie burgers make a surprisingly good packed lunch. Serve it on a whole grain roll or English muffin, with your child’s favorite condiments for a fun surprise.
12. Faux meats can expand lunch box variety.
Vegan deli slices might especially appeal to teens. “Chicken” or “turkey”-style slices on soft whole grain bread appeal to tastes of any age.
Veggie Deli Heroes with Herb Mayonnaise are a great choice that will appeal to older kids and teens.
13. Vegan “Tuna”or “egg” salads.
These are delicious stuffed into pitas or in sandwiches. Check out these recipes for “Tofuna” Salad Sandwich Spread; Tofu Eggless “Egg” Salad; and Sharon’s Chickpea Salad or Sandwich Spread) to get you started.
14. Pasta salad is an appealing lunch option.
Use small shapes such as elbows, wagon wheels, shells, or tiny tubes, which pack well into containers.
Add your child’s favorite veggies—steamed broccoli, peas, corn and carrots, plus olives and their favorite dressing can add up to nice lunch box fare.
Check out all my favorite pasta salad recipes here.
14. Wholesome homemade cookies.
Cookies make a perfect after-school snack when served with almond milk. And the next day, you can pack the extras in their lunch box. Check out these vegan cookie recipes to get baking!
Snacks packed for school, whether for snack time or as an extra treat for the lunch box, should be simple and neat.
Explore natural foods stores for packaged snack ideas. Their cookies, cereals, fruit bars, and such, are often naturally sweetened and low in fat.
Similarly, natural chips, rice puffs or crisps, and other crunchy snacks have less salt and fat than their supermarket counterparts.
Prices can sometimes (but not always) be a little higher, but you’re getting more value for your money.
These easy No-Heat Vegan School Lunch Ideas are perfect for high school, college & work. Healthy and packed on-the-go lunch box recipes.
Vegan School Lunch Ideas
It’s rather complicated to find a microwave when you’re in school, but that doesn’t mean you should live on sandwiches and celery sticks, right? You can eat healthy and delicious, just make these no-heat lunch boxes!
I have created 5 school lunch boxes, that have everything you need to power through lessons!
They contain fruits, snacks, grains, protein and veggies! And you can eat all of them cold
I guarantee, it will be much more fun to go to school when you have these babies with you! 😉
Happy Meal Prepping!
Drink: cranberry juice
Fruit: orange slices, blueberry
Lunch: Pasta Salad
- 1 cup cooked pasta
- white beans
- vegan feta crumbles
- chopped fresh basil leaves
- olive oil
- salt, pepper
Fruit: grapes, kiwi
Snack: candied pecans
Lunch: veggie sushi mix
Drink: iced coffee
Fruit: grapefruit, grapes
Lunch: super green wraps
- tortilla wrap
- Chinese cabbage leafs
- baby spinach
- giant white beans
- salt, pepper
Drink: apple-cherry juice
Fruit: banana, plums
Snack: dark chocolate
Lunch: Mini Artichoke Burgers
- mini hamburger buns
- marinated artichoke hearts (quartered)
- vegan cheese slice
- tomato slice
Drink: Lime-Mint-Blueberry Infused Water
Fruit: green apple, red currants
Snack: tortilla chips
Lunch: Mexican avocado salad
- black beans
- green bell pepper
- salt, pepper
- lime slice
Also, try these easy and quick vegan snacks in your lunch box
for extra energy!
5 Healthy Vegan School Lunch Ideas
How stressed do you get when trying to come up with healthy school lunches for your kids?
It’s even harder when you’re worrying about dietary restrictions or ensuring your children get a healthy lunch.
With the way school lunches provided at school are, and you’re reading this post, there’s no way you would want your child eating those school lunches. The schools most recent complaint about trying to improve their lunches are about struggles with reducing salt intake, getting more variety (flavors) in low fat cow’s milk for their students, and exemptions for offering whole grain bread¹.
I know it’s been awhile since I’ve been in school and my mom always packed me a pb&j, fruit, and some type of sweet. But, with packing your childs lunch YOU have control over what is in it; no relying on school-grade lunches for your child’s nutrients during the day.
I highly doubt schools will be offering healthy vegan school lunches anytime soon; I can hope but I’m not going to bet on it. So, for those us who want to raise vegan children; we’re on our own.
But, it doesn’t have to be all that stressful to come up with school lunches for your kids. With Elisa’s one simple trick for quickly planning school lunches, you’ll only have to ‘stress’ about coming up with ideas once or twice a month, if that!
To help you stress less while planning out your children’s school lunches, check out these healthy (vegan) kid friendly recipes for lunch!
Plus, I found an amazing website, that I have a link for at the bottom of this post, that focuses on fun and cute healthy plant based school lunches for kids.
1. “Veggie Faces” No-Bake Vegetable Pizzas and Wraps
This adorable pizza face is just one of many ideas from this post at twohealthykitchens.com. All of the options aren’t vegan, so make sure you choose the hummus option for the ‘sauce’, unless you have vegan cream cheese on hand! Don’t worry if this doesn’t look lunchbox friendly; the recipe creators solve this issue in a few different ways that your kids will love!
2. MINI VEGAN CARROT DOGS IN A BLANKET
At first glance, to someone wanting their kids to eat well and knows what is actually in hot dogs, this may not look like a great lunch option for kids. But, they’re not hot dogs! They’re marinated baby carrots! The recipe makes a lot, so make sure to add this into your weekly meal prep routine, as they do take some time to marinate. If you’re lucky you might be able to get them to last a week, with one child, if they don’t eat them all first! Find the recipe at karissasvegankitchen.com.
3. Vegan Baked Ziti Recipe
I’m in love with these little silicone muffin cups; they make perfect snack portions of larger meals! Add a few of these baked ziti cups to a container or thermos for kids to bring to school. They’ll get the comfort of being at home with this delicious and creamy baked ziti, without all the dairy. Psst…the ‘sauce’ for this ziti is made mostly of veggies
4. VEGAN CHICKPEA MAYONNAISE SALAD SANDWICH (GF)
Looking for a salad sandwich that’s healthy and doesn’t smell like eggs? Check out this VEGAN CHICKPEA MAYONNAISE SALAD SANDWICH. Use the filling in a pita, a wrap, or simply put it between two slices of bread. Super simple! And, it only takes 15 minutes to make (as long as you soak cashews overnight); so, it’s great if you don’t have much time or didn’t meal prep over the weekend!