It's back to school time and if you're wondering how to feed your kids and teens a healthy, wholesome meal every day without just packing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, worry no more. Here are 20 vegan school lunch ideas from the blog that you can make ahead and pack the night before, including snacks, main meals and even healthy desserts. Mix and match these with a side of fruit and you can be sure the lunchbox you so lovingly put together does not end up in the cafeteria trash!
With schools reopening, here are some healthy but tasty and easy school lunch ideas to keep your kids -- and you -- happy.
Why you'll love these vegan school lunch recipes
- They're healthy AND yummy. If your kids are anything like mine, you know that instead of that blue-ribbon meal you just cooked for them they would rather stuff their faces with processed snacks and sodas. So packing school lunches they will eat when you are not around, can be a challenge because have you seen how much food ends up in the cafeteria trash at lunchtime? Especially homemade food packed lovingly by moms and dads? So, to make sure my son eats his lunch, I come up with healthy lunch ideas that include elements he loves, like crispy puff pastry and pizza dough.
- They're easy. School opens too darn early, so you want to choose foods that can be packed the night before and will hold up until the next afternoon, when they eat it.
- They're filling. It's crucial that the food you pack is enough to keep their tummies full and their brains ticking through the long school day. Adding a variety of elements into the lunchbox will keep them happy and full.
- Many are make-ahead. Many of the ideas I share here are make-ahead, so you don't have to rush at the last minute.
- They are not messy. Messy meals that will get all over their hands and clothes are a no-no in the lunchbox.
- They are adult-friendly. I don't have time usually to make separate meals for myself and Desi and for Jay, so I love making food that we all can eat or brown-bag. All of the meals shared here are both kid- and adult-friendly, so even if you don't have kids you can definitely enjoy them.
Vegan snacks for school lunch boxes
Air Fryer Chickpeas
Vegan Harissa Meatballs
Air Fryer Tofu
Savory Apple Potato Fritters
Air Fryer French Fries
Mess-free main meals for the lunchbox
Vegan Pizza Rolls
Instant Pot Spaghetti with "Meaty" Marinara
Vegan Chickpea Mushroom Turnovers
Vegan Tater Tot Casserole
Vegan Baked Chimichangas with Filo
Garlicky Zucchini Quinoa Cakes
Mixed Veg Paratha
Vegan Dirty Rice
Yummy sweet bites for the lunchbox
Vegan Banana Cake
Vegan Banana Crumb Muffins
Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
Vegan Almond Flour Chia Seed Muffins
Also check out these 66 Kid Friendly Vegan Recipes: A vegan mom's guide to stress-free, fun and healthy meals for the family.
Vaishali, these recipes are amazing! I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to post them! There is so much to build on. My mostly vegan 5 year old is quite picky, and besides that, her school doesn't have a dedicated cafeteria, the kids just sit on benches to eat their lunch. (Go figure!) Your abundant lunch ideas are not messy, won't go soggy, and will survive being transported by a young child. They are just what I've been searching for!
Hi Olga, hope you try! I just updated the list with new recipes.
I love your site. BUT the advertisment they are putting on your page is Ozpig bbq. With two great big slabs of meat on the bbw. ? obviously the media dont care its a vegan page. But its very of putting and distasteful.
I understand you need funds to keep up your great work.
I love your page. But maybe give the marketing manager a hint. No one from a vegan page is going to be clicking that link on purpose.
Thanks for pointing it out, Jacinda. I will mention this to my ad folks. Appreciate the heads up.
Having recently embraced a vegetarian diet, one of my biggest challenges has been lunch...no fast and easy sandwiches! PB & J gets old. And I don't want to have to heat up a lunch everyday...that is the same as the dinner I'll be eating. Can't wait to try these recipies!
This is a great list, Vaishali! My only remaining problem is that the school does not offer a microwave so I don't know how some of these would be at room temp?
Hi Sneha, the rice dishes taste fine at room temperature, if that's what you're thinking about. Or you can always pack them in a thermos container if you absolutely want hot.
Great! Thankyou very much you made my day!
Wow !! This is the most amazing post ever! I'm child-free but pack my own lunches, so these recipes are going to be my saviors. Thanks a lot for putting together this very useful list. You rock Vaishali 🙂
Thank you for such a well thought out and helpful article (and plan).
Thanks, Jason. 🙂
Thank you Vaishali! I love that these are make ahead. How do you pack these lunches? Are they good at room temperature? ( I am looking at the burger and pita pocket recipes)
Hi Ambica, yes, they are all fine at room temperature, including the burger and pita packets. I just pack them in his regular lunchbox.
Vaishali, will you be my mom forever? 😀 These all look sooooo good!
I'll bet some magazine somewhere would be excited to get this post and the recipes with it.
Catherine, I'll adopt you any day. 🙂
Adopt me too 😉
Yes! 🙂 The more people to feed the merrier.
Thank you, Vaishali! My hubby and I take our lunch to work every day in order to ensure that we have a healthy vegan meal. I'm excited to try these recipes for "us big kids". The pictures look amazing.....
Thanks, Christina. These are loved by the big kids in our home as well. 🙂