Did you hear that school bell ringing?
It’s time for your kids to go back to hitting the books after weeks of hitting the pool! Following this time off, finding new and fun vegan school lunch ideas may feel like a daunting task. After all, you have a lot on your plate (pun intended)!
Don’t worry; that’s where we come in.
We’ve rounded up the most delicious, easy, and kid-friendly vegan lunch recipes for back-to-school! We promise there’s something for even the pickiest kiddos. Let’s get started!
Nutritional Requirements for Kids
Children’s diets should be well-rounded and nutritious! Balanced meals help ensure that children develop the intellectual development and physical growth they need to thrive.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that well-planned vegan diets are healthful and appropriate for all ages. If you are raising a vegan kiddo or simply trying to introduce more vegan meals into your child’s diet, it’s important for meals to be balanced!
If you’re wondering about the best ways to raise your kids vegan, MiiRO’s got your back with our comprehensive guide, but here’s a quick refresher:
Each meal should include at least one vegetable or fruit. Whole grains and high fiber breads are also preferable over their more-refined counterparts! These days, healthy eating looks a little different from the food pyramid we may remember. There’s more of a focus on whole grains, fiber from whole fruits, and protein.
Kids’ Lunchbox Hacks
No one wants to fuss over an improperly packed lunchbox. The last thing you want your child to worry about is whether their lunch is as cold as it should be or if their pretzels were crushed into dust! Packing a lunchbox or bento box for back to school just takes a little planning:
- Food that needs to be cold should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Reusable cold packs are perfect for that! Insulated lunch boxes are also a great investment.
- If you are packing a kids’ lunch that needs to be chilled, you can keep the lunchbox in the freezer overnight, too! This will help lunch stay as cool as possible for as long as possible.
- Pack fragile items like crackers or pretzels on top. Heavier foods and snacks fit wonderfully on the bottom!
- Consider a lunchbox with multiple compartments, like a bento box. That way, you can keep food separated with ease.
- Remember any utensils your vegan child will need! Reusable cutlery and a healthy number of napkins are awesome ideas.
- Use an insulated thermos to keep warm foods, well, warm.
- Only pack what you know your child will eat. Serving sizes vary by kids’ ages, activity levels, and more. Make sure they have enough food to sustain them through their school day, but not too much that leftovers get thrown away.
Brainstorming Vegan Kids Lunchbox Ideas
There are some things to keep in mind that can help make packing your child’s lunchbox a little easier! You know your kid best, so catering well-balanced, simple vegan meals with their preferences in mind is always a good way to go.
What are your child’s favorite fruits?
What are your child’s favorite vegetables — or do you have to sneak in veggies?
What are your child’s favorite vegan protein sources? Do they prefer deli-style mock meats, or are they into bean cuisine?
These prompts can help narrow down what kinds of yummy vegan lunches your kid will want to munch on.
Simple Handheld Vegan Lunch Ideas
When it comes to packing a vegan school lunch, handheld options can be fuss-free and appetizing.
Sure, the humble PB&J is always a go-to staple — but there are so many more possibilities when it comes to vegan lunches! Burritos, wraps, sandwiches… hungry yet?
Chickpea “Tuna” Sandwiches
For a delicious and simple make-ahead option, this mashed chickpea delight is the way to go. We love these cute little beans.
Customize your fillings with this tasty bean burrito recipe! You can make a big batch ahead of time and thaw them out as needed.
This is another easily customizable option that will make eating vegetables fun. We’ve been eyeing this easy vegan sushi for our kids’ lunchbox (and ours, too).
English Muffin Pizzas
Have a little pizza-making party by putting together these English muffin pizzas. The topping combinations can be as fancy or simple as you’d like.
Summer rolls can be a great choice for a refreshing lunchbox treat. These crispy teriyaki tofu bites are a crowd-pleaser wrapped in lettuce or a tortilla!
Fruit Forward Vegan Kids Lunchbox Ideas
Fruit is nature’s candy, and we love what it offers by way of antioxidants, fiber, and nutrients. Ensure your kids get their fruit fix with these fruit snacks that are easy to take on the go!
Fruit that travels well in a lunchbox includes:
- Apple slices
- Dried fruit strips
- Freeze-dried berries
- Squeezable applesauce packets
There are even lunch mains that can serve as mouthwatering vessels for fruit. Rice cakes topped with nut butter and sliced strawberries are one yummy option, or you can try this tasty Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats recipe that’ll be even tastier with a banana on top!
Try a Smoothie, Too!
If your vegan child has a thermos that keeps beverages cold, a smoothie is a delicious addition to their school lunch.
Our favorite smoothie recipes come from an easily customizable formula: Two cups of fruit (or one cup of fruit, one cup of neutral veggie), one cup of liquid, and a small amount of thickener (like dairy-free yogurt or nut butter).
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Feeling tropical? Try one cup of mango, one cup of pineapple, some almond milk, and plain dairy-free yogurt instead.
- Maybe your vegan kid wants a standby favorite? We recommend one cup of strawberries, one banana, a cup of water, and two tablespoons of peanut butter.
- What if your child doesn’t eat as many vegetables as you’d like? Here’s a way to get more greens into their daily diet — smoothie-edition: One cup of mixed berries with a cup of frozen spinach, soy milk, and dairy-free yogurt.
Sneak Veggies in Your Kid’s Packed Lunch
If your child’s nose scrunches at the thought of broccoli, we’ve got you covered. Let’s explore some vegan school lunch ideas that have a healthy dose of veggies, while still appealing to your picky eater.
Hummus can be eaten with crackers, bread, carrot sticks, celery… you name it! Multiple servings of veggies are incorporated in this vegetable hummus recipe.
Fritters are almost as fun to make as they are to eat. Crispy vegetable fritters paired with hummus are a tasty and nutritious addition to any back-to-school lunchbox!
This pasta salad looks fun and brightly colored when it’s filled with various finely chopped veggies. It’s like carrot confetti! Eating the rainbow means you can get some of those wonderful phytonutrients, too.
Ants on a Log
Sure, the vegetable in this equation is a little more obvious. But with how fun decorating celery can be, there are endless possibilities.
Peanut butter and raisins are classic, but what about almond butter and cut-up dates? Cashew butter withDark Chocolate Chips?Include your kid when putting together these tasty treats for a fun activity before school begins.
Zucchini muffins are a favorite for picky and non-picky vegan eaters alike. They’re perfectly sweet, with nutritious veggies involved!
Vegan Friendly Snacks
Round out the rest of your child’s vegan lunch by including some snacks like the ones below!
- Edible Cookie Dough
- Granola bars
- Potato or veggie chips
- Trail mix
- Whole grain crackers
- Vegan peanut butter chips
- Energy bites made from oats, peanut butter, and dates
- Vegan jerky
- Dairy-free yogurt
Add Vegan Peanut Butter Cups as an Extra Treat
In addition to the snacks listed above, our Vegan Peanut Butter Cups are the perfect way for your kids to wrap up lunchtime. These delicious plant-based sweets get their nostalgic flavor from a mix of perfectly churned peanut butter, silky cocoa butter, and smooth chocolate liquor, plus just a pinch of salt.
The best part? There’s no added sugar, so you can feel good about the sweet treats you’ve packed for your precious little ones.
Vegan Bento Box Ideas
We all know that getting specific servings of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber is crucial to maintaining good health.
To craft a well-balanced bento box or lunchbox, we suggest combining some of the previous recipes with each other and adding some snacks!
For example, pack up a bean burrito, some grapes, and pretzels. You can also mix and match with English muffin pizza, trail mix, and some dried fruit.
We suggest sticking with a theme for a fun back-to-school treat. Create a vegan bento box made up of easy vegan sushi, crunchy snow peas, and Asian-inspired trail mix. Yum!
Making your vegan kids’ lunchboxes the envy of their classmates will be a cinch.
Back-to-school doesn’t have to be complicated and stressful. With these easy vegan kids’ school lunch recipes and ideas, your child’s lunch will be a treasure trove filled with nutritious, effortless, and delicious lunch ideas.