Quick and easy vegan lunch ideas for kids for every plant-based family. A list of a variety of options to break out of that bored lunch phase!
PlanetBox gave me products for free to try for this post. The opinions and text are all mine.
This post was originally published on December 14, 2015.
Making lunches can be one of the things I dread the most. As easy as it sounds, it's not my favorite. I think this mostly stems from boredom, the effort it takes and the lunch coming back uneaten.
Vegan Lunch Ideas For Kids
It's easy to get into a lunch rut, and as creative as you think you are, your brain may not cooperate when you need it most. So this list of easy vegan lunch ideas will keep you from hating the every day lunch making task!
How do you pack a healthy lunch for kids?
We use the Planetbox metal lunchboxes for our everyday lunch. There are many great lunchboxes out there but we tried and loved these, and they have lasted us for a long time.
I like to have my kids help make lunch, or even do it on their own, so the compartments are great in guiding them with packing. For a complete review of the Planetbox items we use, please scroll down to the very end of this post, past the recipe card.
What should a vegan eat for lunch?
When it comes to plant-based lunches, we like to focus on mostly whole foods with a little treat thrown in. Anything that doesn't include animal products (dairy, meat, eggs, honey) works if you want a vegan based lunch.
And extra bonus, kids can help make their lunch with most of these vegan lunch ideas! And if you want breakfast or snack ideas, Vegan Recipes for Kids has you covered.
Fruit and veggie ideas for a vegan lunch:
- Fruit of any kind, we do whatever fruit is in season
- zucchini & yellow squash, cut into sticks or rounds
- broccoli (both raw and roasted, see recipe card below for roasting instructions)
- cauliflower (both raw and roasted, see recipe card below for roasting instructions)
- green beans
- Asparagus spears (slightly blanched, see recipe card below for blanching instructions)
- roasted radishes (see recipe card below for roasting instructions)
- thinly sliced lettuce or cabbage
- apple nachos (put the caramel dip and toppings in it's own container)
- veggie tots
Main vegan lunch ideas for kids:
- avocado sandwich (avocado, bread, and a touch of lemon pepper if your kids are adventurous)
- nut/sun butter banana rolls (spread butter on tortilla, top with thinly sliced bananas, roll & cut)
- cooked pasta with chopped veggies (see recipe card below for instructions)
- nut/sun butter & jelly sandwich or burrito (put on bread or in a pita or tortilla)
- hummus & cucumber sandwich (spread hummus and top with thinly sliced cucumber)
- vegan spinach grilled cheese sandwich or quesadilla (fresh spinach and vegan cheese grilled into a sandwich or a quesadilla)
- bean (& optional vegan cheese) burrito
- vegan quesadilla with beans
- veggie pinwheels
- rice salad (favorite rice mixed with veggies, works great with leftover dinner veggies)
- veggie burger nuggets (I use my veggie burger recipes but bake them into nuggets)
- mashed chickpea sandwich
- Grilled Burritos (these have become a huge favorite!)
- any leftovers from food they actually ate (dream big my friends, dream big)
- bagel sandwich (fits perfectly in the big container area)
- open faced bagel with vegan cream cheese, you can top with thinly sliced fruit or veggies (cucumbers, tomatoes, peaches, fresh figs, etc)
- open faced rice cake sandwich (spread rice cake with peanut butter, vegan cream cheese or hummus and top with thinly sliced veggies, nuts, dried fruit, seeds)
- mashed bean and avocado roll up (mash beans on tortilla, mash avocado over beans, roll and cut into pieces)
- pita bread or bagel pizza (spread pizza sauce on top, add thinly sliced veggies if desired, sprinkle vegan cheese on top and bake in toaster or regular oven)
- seaweed snack roll ups
- Mexican pizza
- polenta quesadillas
Snacks and extra treat ideas:
- beans (simply freshly made or rinsed canned beans on the side)
- dried fruit
- dried fruit and sunflower seed mix (or nuts if they can have them)
- homemade trail mix (dried fruit, seeds and/or nuts, oh's cereal, other favorite dry cereal, coconut flakes, etc. all mixed together)
- dry cereal
- granola (try this homemade granola, it's amazing!)
- granola bar or Larabar (if not nut free)
- apple butter sandwiches (nut/sun butter in sliced apples)
- hummus (see me Greek hummus recipe or my white bean hummus recipe)
- crispy tofu (I simply do the tofu portion of this recipe)
- ants on a log (spread nut/sun butter in a celery stick and top with raisins or dried cranberries for red ants)
- muffin or healthy breakfast type cookie (like these banana oatmeal cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, or breakfast cookies, and these apple cinnamon muffins)
- waffle sticks (waffles cut into sticks)
- raw treats like bars or balls (see my raw superfood balls, brownie batter bites, or these pumpkin pie protein balls)
- chocolate avocado pudding (take out caramel layer)
- freeze dried fruit
- fresh fruit and treat skewers, not for small children due to wooden skewer (cut up fruit into cubes and put on a wooden skewer switching off between fruit and chocolatey treats like balls mentioned above or chocolate covered fruit)
- crispy chickpeas (see recipe card below for instructions)
- cranberry crumble oatmeal bars
- vegan parmesan potato chip rounds
- banana oat blender muffins
How else can I incorporate vegan meals into our diet?
I have many guides and lists of ways to make vegan meals an easy part of your eating plan. Here are a few of my favorite:
- Vegan Benefits - A Low Stress Approach
- 30 Healthy Vegan Recipes
- Easy 7 Day Vegan Meal Plan
- 5 Day Raw Food Reset
Easy Vegan Lunch Ideas For Kids- Individual instructions
- 2 cups your kid's favorite veggies (like broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, etc)
- drizzle your favorite oil or broth (for roasting)
- dash sea salt
- your kid's favorite spices , optional (we like garlic powder, oregano, and smoked paprika but many kids don't want any)
- 2 cups your kid's favorite veggies
- dash sea salt
Cooked pasta with chopped veggies:
- 8 ounces pasta of choice , gluten free if needed
- 1 cup chopped fresh veggies of choice (like zucchini, squash, broccoli, etc.)
- dash sea salt
- 15 ounces canned chickpeas (one can)
- drizzle your favorite oil , optional
- dash sea salt
- your kid's favorite spices , optional (we like garlic powder, oregano, dill, parsley, and smoked paprika but many kids don't want any)
- Cut veggie into cube sized pieces.
- Toss in a drizzle of oil or broth if oil free, sea salt, and your spices of choice if using.
- Spread evenly on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Roast at 450 F/230 C for 30-40 minutes until veggies are crispy.
- Cut your favorite veggies into large pieces.
- Get a large bowl of ice water ready.
- Bring water with a dash of salt to a boil.
- Drop veggies in and let boil for 2-3 minutes, until just tender.
- Drain immediately and plunge into ice water to remain crispness.
Cooked pasta with chopped veggies:
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Put chopped fresh veggies into pasta strainer.
- When pasta is done cooking, drain over chopped veggies in the strainer. The heat of the water will slightly blanch the veggies.
- Mix with vegan cheese if desired and/or a dash of sea salt.
- Drain chickpeas. If using oil, then rinse with water and dry. If not using oil you don't need to rinse or dry.
- Toss with oil if using, sea salt and spices of choice if using. You can also wait to toss with spices until after they are baked so that the spices are fresh.
- Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake at 400 F/205 C for 20-30 minutes or until crispy. Start checking at 25 minutes as ovens vary.
- Times are based on an average of the 4 methods included.
- Nutritional value is based on an average calculation and is not exact.
Recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite, visit our site for more great plant-based recipes.
Nutrition and metric information should be considered an estimate.
Review of the PlanetBox lunchboxes:
Planetbox gave me these products to try at home back in 2015, I did not receive payment other than this to write this post. I still use these all as of the time I updated this post!
I used the PlanetBox setup for two weeks to see what I loved, didn't love, and got feedback from the boys on what they thought. First off, their water bottle, the BottleRocket, is top notch. Seriously.
Don't even get me started on most water bottles out there. This one is uber easy to clean, the boys can open and close it without a tantrum (key), and they are sturdy (made of stainless steel like the lunch box).
For the lunchbox, we used the Rover, it comes with two cute containers as well (note: the containers have been updated so see their site for the newest version with the silicone tops which I think are way better than the ones we have). It is also easy to open/close, and best part of all is that it is easy to clean! The one we were using before had deep containers and it was so hard to get in there with a dish brush (I hate sponges but that's a post for another time).
But this one has deep enough containers to hold food but shallow enough to clean easily. Perfect happy medium. Yay! An added bonus is the adorable customizable magnets the kids can use to decorate the top.
My boys really love picking theirs out each day and I feel it makes them own their lunch a little more. So overall, I would totally recommend the PlantBox. We love them and am so happy to have made the switch. I see these lasting for a very very long time, especially with the addition of customizable magnets!
I have a autistic daughter and very interim trying these options for school lunches. Thanks for all the excellent ideas. I’d even do these .
So happy to hear they are helpful Susa!
I love all these ideas! Im so visual so this is fantastic. Im so excited to try these options as they will be extremely helpful to me for my 3 year old. What brand of tortillas do you use? I would love to start incorporating them into his lunch.
Thank you Michelle! I mostly use the Mi Rancho brand for the kids. I am gluten-free so don't eat the flour ones, but the corn ones are amazing too!