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11 Super Healthy and Easy To Make Vegan Kids Lunches

Staying creative with vegan kid's lunches can be a fun challenge, especially when providing lunches every day. We love knowing our kids are getting all the nutrients they need in our homemade lunches. We make them fun by including a napkin with a wee bit of art or a short message and often a note with a joke, riddle, or fun fact for the kids to share. We get regular reports for Orion and Nikko that their classmates wish they had their lunches. 

We hope this lunch guide saves you some time in your plant-based lunch prep, whether your kids are attending in-person school or distance learning. Here I am talking about kids, but I like these lunches for us too! :-)

You'll also find a vegan grocery list, links to our favorite products, and a nutritional analysis of a typical vegan kids lunch so you can see for yourself how easy it is to be a super parent who gives your child the nutrition they need to thrive. 

Raising healthy children requires vital dietary nutrients, so we take their lunches seriously. We hope that this article provides inspiration and new resources to simplify your prep process for serving highly nutritious kid's vegan lunches.

Here’s what you’ll find in this article:

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Building Healthy Vegan Kid's Lunches

Several criteria are considered in creating Nikko's and Orion’s lunches early each morning. We want them to anticipate their lunches, eat every bite and obtain what they need for their physical, emotional and mental well-being. They're 9- and 5-years old, so serving sizes reflect their appetites.

Health

We aim for health first by offering a variety of nutrient-rich foods. While we prefer every meal to be complete, each is considered within the context of the day and the week.

If they’ve eaten a high protein breakfast, we may opt for a lower protein lunch. Or if they enjoy a large fruit smoothie at breakfast, we may go light on lunch fruits. Throughout a week of varied meals, we know they’re getting all they need.

Variety

YVF lives on a small island where variable weather, seasonal availability from local organic farms, and our grocery and co-op influence our lunch variety.  We’re always on the hunt for new items to shift staple ingredients from month to month. For example, we may offer Baked Seaweed Crisps several times in the course of a month then not serve them for weeks.

Occasionally, leftover dinners like YVF Lasagna or pizza make it into their lunchboxes, too.

While eating a widely-varied diet, our boys have developed a taste for some favorite vegan recipes. Our Almond Protein Bars are commonly requested and fun to make with them. Homemade Pesto is a hit on sandwiches and pasta (and commonly requested on breakfast toast!).

A combination of homemade, fresh, and packaged foods provide a rich variety of resources. Check out our pantry in the photos found later in this article.

Excitement Factor

A perfectly balanced, healthy lunch is useless if not eaten. Lunch isn’t the time to try and expand their palates...we use family dinners for that. At lunch, we give them the foods they love and help choose during our weekly grocery shopping. A “surprise” ginger snap or a carob nugget occasionally hidden under dried fruit makes eating lunch fun. Inspired by Nana, we also include a daily riddle or science fact with words of encouragement to build the excitement factor.

Presentation

To offer a variety of lunch foods and minimize spillage and waste, we use compartmentalized stainless steel lunch boxes and water bottles each day. Snacks, sauces, and dips are provided in separate metal containers. When sending hot or cold foods, we use insulated stainless steel mugs.

To keep their lunches together in the communal school lunch bin, while ensuring that juicy ingredients from favorites like pickled radishes and onions don't leak onto their homework in their backpacks, we use a lightweight dry bag for transport. The rolldown handle makes it easy to carry and attach a water bottle with a carabiner. Dry bags and carabiners remind of family fun adventures!

Markus makes all things beautiful and considers color and texture in his artistic lunch presentations. 

11 Vegan Kids Lunches

These are some of the lunches we made the boys over a one month period. It’s a random collection of menus whose only selection criteria was that I remembered to write them down!

Notes:

  • Fruits and vegetables are fresh unless noted as dried
  • Organic food is always used when available
  • On the shopping list, links are included to foods for identification and ease in ordering if unavailable at your local grocer
  • Two “main courses” are sometimes listed because we made Nikko and Orion different lunches
  • Fresh squeezed lemon/lime juice, sliced strawberries, mint or basil leaves are added to water bottles

This is the lunch box we send with the boys. You can order it here: 

3 in 1 Classic Steel Lunch Box   Use the coupon code: yourveganfamily and get 10% off!

 

 

Vegan Kids Lunch #1

1 cup hot organic brown rice spiral noodles with YVF homemade pesto or red sauce and vegan Parmesan in insulated containers

½ apple sliced

1 mandarin

2 Organic Raw Cacao Goji Energy Squares

8 Baked Seaweed Crisp Crackers

Homegrown, handmade organic dried apples for snack 

 

Vegan Kids Lunch #2

Medley of raspberries, blueberries, mandarins totaling ½ cup

Granola bar, Cascade Farm fruit-infused Wild Blueberry Lemon

¼ cup Wasabi almonds

Dried apples, mangoes, and apricots totaling ½ cup

1 Box dried seaweed, GimMe organic teriyaki, and Annie Chun’s wasabi

 

Vegan Kids Lunch #3

¼ cup fresh blueberries,

¼ cup cantaloupe

8 Baked Seaweed Crisp Crackers

Pizza with Hot peppers, olives, artichokes roasted garlic leftover from our favorite Portofino’s Pizzeria on Orcas Island. They use vegan cheese!

2 Organic Raw Cacao Goji Energy Squares 

Unsweetened applesauce cup for a snack

 

Vegan Kids Lunch #4

Sliced apples and papaya. ½ cup

1 Granola bar, Cascade Farm fruit-infused Wild Blueberry Lemon

Dried apples, mango, apples, apricots, 1/2 cup

3 Made In Nature ‘Nana Pops Banana-Rama Super Snacks

Orion’s snack: wasabi almonds, primal strip, mandarin, dried mango, ½ cup

 

Vegan Kids Lunch #5

Cantaloupe and blueberries ½ cup

VYF Pesto and broccoli sprout sandwich and a Tofurky, Chao cheese slice and ketchup sandwich

½ cup snap peas

8 Fiesta lime rice chips

2 Organic Raw Cacao Goji Energy Squares

Honey Almond Protein Bars, homemade

 

Vegan Kids Lunch #6

Sliced carrots, cucumbers, snap peas, ½ cup

Peanut butter and honey sandwich

Box of raisins

½ cup apple slices

 

Vegan Kids Lunch #7

Chao Smoked Gouda and Tofurky sandwich with hummus on a Kalamata bun from our local Rose’s Bakery

Peanut butter and huckleberry jam sandwich on Rose's Bakery Skagit Miche bread

¼ cup baby carrots

¼ cup green snap peas

Macadamia nuts and hazelnuts, 3 chocolate chips, ½ cup

Sliced pears and mandarins, ½ cup

 

Vegan Kids Lunch #8

1 cup Amy’s No chicken noodle soup (an Orion favorite!) in an insulated cup

6  Organic saltine crackers

Sliced apples, mandarins, ½ cup

1/4 cup dried pears

8 Baked Seaweed Crisp Crackers

1/4 cup Wasabi Peas

 

Vegan Kids Lunch #9

Honey Almond Protein Bar

1 graham cracker

Dried nectarines and cranberries, ½ cup

Edamame with lime and salt, ½ cup

1/3 cup Cantaloupe

 

Vegan Kids Lunch #10

Cantaloupe and blueberries, ½ cup

Carrot sticks and snap peas, ½ cup

2 Organic Raw Cacao Goji Energy Squares

Whole wheat tortilla with peanut butter

1 mandarin for snack 

 

Vegan Kids Lunch #11

Strawberries, mandarins, ½ cup

1 Unsweetened applesauce cup

3 Puffed rice crackers with sunflower butter

¼ cup Dried apricots

¼ cup Puffed Inka Corn

 Nutritional Analysis of Lunch #9

When we analyzed the nutritional value of a single lunch, we were quite pleased to see the results! Lunch #9 was chosen due to defined amounts of food easily replicated at home. We used a free online nutrient analysis program called Happy Forks. Please note that Daily Value percentages are based on a 2,000 calorie adult diet; given lower caloric needs for children, percentages will provide greater nutritional value than indicated. 

This lunch is high in fiber and protein, full of vitamins and minerals, and has a super Omega 3 to Omega 6 lipid ratio that supports cardiovascular health.

     

   

Our Vegan Pantry

Here’s a look into our “breakfast and lunch pantry”, showing packaged foods we tend to keep on hand. We’ll include the lunch items in your vegan shopping list at the end of this article.

 

Here’s a photo of the unrefrigerated produce we tend to keep on our kitchen counter. It also serves as a self-serve snack bar.

We admit our boys would go to the cupboard to get a fruit strip, granola bar, nuts or dried fruit multiple times per day if we allowed them. As a general rule, the “breakfast and lunch pantry” is off-limits for self-service. When they’re home and hungry for a snack, they can go for the fresh fruit on the counter or we’ll make them something.

To involve the boys in the lunch-making process, most mornings we invite their requests. After preparing their lunches we let them know what's included and sometimes explain why with a mini-nutrition lesson. This is our first step towards empowering them to make their own lunches when they're a bit older. 

Vegan Shopping List 

Feel free to substitute any preferred items. You will have extra crackers, bread, red sauce… Use these for breakfasts, snacks, and dinners. We try to source organic foods, non-GMO foods when we can. To make shopping easy for you, there are links for some of the pantry items. We gratefully receive a small commission if you purchase items through these links and it doesn't cost you a penny more!

Our tried and true lunch box:

3 in 1 Classic Steel Lunch Box   Use the coupon code: yourveganfamily and get 10% off!

 

 

Fresh Fruits

4 Apples

10 mandarins

1 box raspberries

1 box blueberries

1 box strawberries

1 cantaloupe

1 papaya

1 pear

3 limes

3 lemons

 

Fresh Vegetables

1 bag of snap peas

1 bag of baby carrots

1 cucumber

 

Dried Fruits

1 cup dried mango

1 bag dried apples

1 bag dried pears

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 bag of small boxed raisins

 

Refrigerated  Items

1 box Tofurkey

1 package sliced vegan cheese

  

Frozen Food

1 bag of Edamame (green soybeans)

1 frozen pizza

 

Other

8 Organic Raw Cacao Goji Energy Squares

1 bag Made In Nature ‘Nana Pops Banana-Rama Super Snacks

4 Santa Cruz Organic Apple Sauce

1 jar  vegan red pasta sauce

1 jar vegan pesto

1 bag organic brown rice rotini pasta noodles

1 bag Organic Baked Seaweed Crisps

1 bag Wasabi Soy Almonds or other flavors

1 box Organic Saltine Crackers for soup

1 box Annie's Organic Graham Crackers

1 bag Puffed Inka Corn snack

2 boxes Dried Seaweed Snack, teriyaki. We also like Wasabi flavor.

Fiesta Lime tortilla chips

Cascadian Farm Fruit Infused Chewy Granola Bars, Wild Blueberry Lemon

Organic Creamy Peanut Butter

Organic Sunflower Butter

Jam

Honey Bear

1 No Chicken Amy’s canned soup (sells as a 12 pack with this link)

1 bag dried Wasabi Peas

½ cup Nut mix or favorite raw bulk nuts to mix

1 bag whole grain tortillas

1 loaf bread

 

We hope you found this real-life glimpse into Your Vegan Family lunches inspiring and helpful.  If you have an article or recipe requests, let us know on our Facebook page: Your Vegan Family. While you're there, please like our page and share our posts!

We'll post a breakfast menu with recipes soon. Sign up for our newsletter at the top of the sidebar and we'll let you know when new articles are published!


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Written by Your Vegan Family 

Stacy and Markus live an adventurous vegan lifestyle and write articles about their experiences cooking global vegan cuisine, creating businesses, raising vegan kids, and traveling through more than 65 countries. They earned degrees in molecular biology and acupuncture, consulted over decades for healthcare companies and individuals, created businesses in Asian medicine and cultural immersion, and taught yoga in myriad venues.

We’ve learned a lot from eating a plant-based diet for 25 years and are eager to share more with you. Learn more on our About Us page.


 * Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you use them and make a purchase we may receive a small payment. You will not be charged extra for this. Thank you for your support! 

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