Parents

Pack a Lunch With Punch!

Back-to-School Veggie Style: Healthy Lunches That Kids Will Love!

Moms and dads, you know the drill: It’s back-to-school time, and that means packing healthy lunches that your kids will actually want to eat—all before dashing out the door yourself. Here’s one quick tip: Leave the deli slices, cheese, milk, and other animal foods on the supermarket shelf, and replace them with good-for-you vegetarian alternatives, such as soy milk and mock meats. Kids raised on a vegetarian diet have a tremendous advantage: a lower risk of the obesity, cancer, heart disease, and other health problems that will plague their meat-eating peers as they grow older.

Another tip: Think outside the (lunch)box. We love PB&J, but many other options are just as easy—and a welcome change. With the help of Jennifer McCann, who runs the Vegan Lunch Box blog, we put together tasty lunchtime treats that your kids are sure to enjoy. Try bagels with Tofutti’s Better Than Cream Cheese, mini English-muffin pizzas, Tuno salad, a thermos packed with veggie beans and franks, or heat-and-eat vegetarian chili. With a little imagination, it’s easy to pack a lunch that your kids will love! Here are a few of our favorite ideas to get you started.

Veggielicious Lunchbox Dishes

  • Spread some veggie ham with vegan cream cheese and roll up for a fun and easy-to-eat lunch box treat.
  • Make a veggie dog in a blanket—wrap a veggie dog in a crescent roll and bake. Pack ketchup for dipping.
  • Create crunchy triple-decker PB&Js: Cut rice or corn cakes in half with a sharp knife and spread on jam and a nut butter, and then top with the other half.
  • Spread bread with eggless mayonnaise (try Nayonaise or Vegenaise) and pile on veggie deli slices—such as faux ham, faux turkey, or “phony baloney”—and Tofutti American soy cheese slices. Cut into triangles or fun shapes using cookie cutters.
  • Make a mock chicken-salad sandwich with Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik’n Strips available at health-food stores.
  • Pack P.B. Slices, individually wrapped slices of peanut butter, with bread or crackers; kids can combine them at lunchtime.
  • On those hectic mornings, toss a Smucker’s frozen PB&J sandwich in your child’s lunchbox; it will be thawed and ready to eat by lunchtime.
  • Make burrito roll-ups by spreading tortillas with Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese; add olives or diced veggies, roll up, and cut into bite-size pieces. Olé!
  • Make your own “good lunch” by packing meat-free Smart Deli Pepperoni slices, soy cheese slices, and crackers.
  • Spread a bagel with Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, top with veggie pepperoni, and cut into halves or quarters.
  • Make a mock tuna-salad sandwich by substituting Worthington’s Tuno (Available at health-food stores) for tuna in your favorite recipe.
  • For a healthy alternative to egg-salad sandwiches, try eggless “egg” salad: Mash together tofu, soy mayo, turmeric, salt, and spices.
  • Pair veggie kebabs (try cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, sweet peppers, and baked tofu cubes) with “ranch” dip (combine Tofutti Sour Supreme with McCormick Spring Onion Dip Mix—it’s vegan!).
  • Cut mini-pitas in half, and stuff them with hummus and chopped tomatoes, falafel, or your favorite sandwich filling.
  • Prepare an easy pasta salad by combining cooked spiral pasta with diced cucumbers, tomatoes, and/or peppers and chunks of baked tofu, veggie Canadian bacon, or Morningstar Farms Meal Starters “chicken” or “steak” strips; mix with your favorite vinaigrette.
  • “Shake ‘N Bake” mock chicken chunks instead of the real thing. Several Shake ‘N Bake flavors are vegan—just use chopped mock chicken, Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik’n Strips are great hot or cold.
  • Pack hard breadsticks with dip, such as pizza sauce, peanut butter, or hummus.
  • Make a mini pizza by topping toasted English muffins (Wonder Bread-brand muffins are vegan) with a dollop of pizza sauce, a slice of soy cheese, and veggie pepperoni.

Hot Ideas for the Thermos

  • Make some homemade “sausage” gravy and pack some biscuits for a comforting cold-weather meal.
  • Fill the thermo with veggie meatballs in tomato sauce. Pack it with a roll to make a veggie meatball sub.
  • Spice up lunchtime by filling your kids’ thermos with vegan taco meat or refried beans. Pack taco shells and their favorite taco toppings. Try Tofutti Sour Supreme and salsa.
  • Warm your kids up on cold winter days by heating Hormel canned vegetarian chili and packing it in a thermos. Pack a baked potato so they can top their spuds.
  • For another easy heat-and-eat treat, try Campbell’s tomato or vegetable soup. (Please be sure to check labels—some soups contain beef or chicken broth.)
  • When you have a little more time, make alphabet soup using vegetable or faux-chicken broth instead of chicken stock and diced mock chicken. Make a pot over the weekend, then reheat it on Monday morning to start your kids’ week off right.
  • Make a better “beefaroni” by mixing macaroni, Morningstar Farms veggie burger crumbles, and tomato sauce.
  • Combine Vegetarian Baked Beans and veggie dogs for the classic kids’ favorite “beanie weenies.”

Don’t forget to include a sweet treat, healthy drink, and afternoon snack.

Sweet Treats

  • Fresh fruit, such as a sliced apple, grapes, or a peeled and separated orange—or try fruit kebabs
  • Fruit roll-ups or fruit leather
  • Soy yogurt cups (try Stonyfield Farm’s O’Soy, WholeSoy, or Silk brands)
  • ZenDon soy pudding cups
  • Raisin boxes or other dried fruit
  • Unfrosted strawberry or blueberry Pop Tarts
  • Vegan cookies (for a list of brands, click here)
  • Graham crackers, with or without chocolate frosting filling
  • Clif or Luna bars

Drinks

  • Juice boxes
  • Canned vegetable juice
  • Bottled water
  • Chocolate or vanilla Silk soy milk singles

Snacks

  • Pretzel sticks, mini bagel chips, or potato sticks or chips
  • Mini cereal boxes
  • Individual bags of bite-size carrots or celery
  • Nuts
  • Trail mix

Kid-Tested Lunchtime Tips

  • Make food fun by cutting sandwiches into different shapes. Cookie cutters are great for this.
  • In hot weather, keep foods cool by including a carton or plastic container of juice, frozen overnight, in the lunchbox. The juice will be thawed by lunchtime.
  • Pack “kid-size” foods like cherry tomatoes, baby bananas, and mini boxes of raisins.
  • You can control what goes into your child’s lunchbox, but you can’t control what goes into your child. Send your kids to school with a lunch they like—and one they’ve helped prepare and pack—and they’ll be less likely to toss or trade it.
  • Rely less on processed, packaged foods—replace them with fresh foods whenever possible.
  • Remember that kids can be influenced by peer pressure—foods they love at home might be not-so-cool at school. Ask them what types of foods their friends bring for lunch—whatever it is, you can probably find a vegetarian version.
  • Most kids will skip foods that take a lot of effort to eat. A little prep work can make almost anything more kid-friendly. For example, peel clementines and oranges, then cover them with plastic wrap before packing them, or cut kiwi fruit in half and let kids scoop out the flesh with a teaspoon.
  • It’s a good idea to buy a small, reusable ice pack that can be frozen overnight and placed in the lunchbox—this helps keep perishable foods fresh.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook

If your comment doesn't appear right away, please be patient as it may take some time to publish or may require moderation.

Heads up! By submitting this form, you are agreeing to our collection, storage, use, and disclosure of your personal info in accordance with our privacy policy as well as to receiving e-mails from PETA Kids.

  • taraaaa commented on September 19, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Thank you so much :) I’m vegan, and since my family is omni I have to pack my own lunch each morning, and I hate trying to come up with new, yummy, quick lunches.
    To my list, add:
    Larabars
    leftovers (soups and pasta especially are great)
    baked beans (veg obviously)
    bean salad
    blt (with homemade tempeh bacon)
    and Trader Joe’s makes these microwave rice bags, in the frozen section. If your school has microwaves, those are great, and then bring Chinese-style veggies to mix in :)

  • Anthony-11 commented on October 6, 2010 at 2:13 am

    Unfortunately, Chic-ketts stopped being vegan some time ago. Worthington for no apparent reason started adding egg whites.

  • natasha lambert commented on November 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    I love the idea for the article above but almost all of those choices are not really healthy alternative. Tofutti has partially hydrogenated oil. All of the morningstar farm products which I love (super tasty) are highly processed and have a lot of undesirable ingredients in them. Everything on the list seems to be highly processed. You also wrote:

    “On those hectic mornings, toss a Smucker’s frozen PB&J sandwich in your child’s lunchbox; it will be thawed and ready to eat by lunchtime. ”

    These are so bad for kids and should be pulled from the shelves. I love PETA but feel that they should love our kids as much if not more than our animals…. save the animals but feed the kids these toxic foods??? Disappointing.

  • Ashley-P commented on November 9, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Hi Natasha, thanks for your comment! Hi Kazbe, Thanks for your comment. We do advocate healthy initiatives and try to select a variety of items suitable for everyone. There are several healthy options in this list, from hummus wraps to trail mix. We do our best to accommodate the wide variety of tastes and needs of our readers. For many parents, creating meals that resembles that of their child’s peers is very important. We’d love to hear your lunchtime meal ideas. Feel free to share some healthy ideas for your fellow readers. Thanks!

  • twinkiebb123 commented on November 28, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Well, its bad eating meat too. I am a vegetarian and i have never seen any websites or videos. Like, yeah, “See whats’s inside of your veggie burger.” I can assure you, i dont think there is anything toxic in these wonderful, no-meat foods.

  • juststartingtogoveggie commented on December 19, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    thanks this is awesome :)

  • newvegan commented on January 4, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Hi, I just wanted to echo Natasha’s comment, and say that I was really disappointed in this list. I was looking for healthy vegan lunches that were cold and portable enough to take to school, and sadly most of the things here are highly processed “fake meats”. I am a brand new vegetarian – my 12 year old has been veggie for 9 months and inspired me. I don’t have any ideas of my own, which is why I came here. She needs more variety from school than a baked potato and side salad every day. I want her to eat healthy though – not just meat-free!

  • newvegan commented on January 4, 2011 at 7:32 am

    I know I just left a comment, but I have found this amazing blog, it’s a mom and young child, and she has posted for the last 5 or 6 years what they have for lunch, including photos and recipes. ALl really healthy homemade vegan stuff. It’s called Vegan Lunch Box: http://bit.ly/dIFi7R.

  • 325sarah commented on January 17, 2011 at 12:12 am

    I like some of the options, but we usually prefer less processed foods. One of my 3 year old daughter’s favorite lunch items is roasted seaweed. Sea’s gift and trader Joes have great ones. Also, hummus/tortilla rollups, almonds, breaded tofu, multi-grain crackers, spirulina popcorn, little packets of almond butter, broccoli and quinoa, soy yogurt with black-strap molasses mixed in. And of course, as mentioned in the article, lots of fresh fruits and veggies.

  • luv.reeya commented on February 2, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Thanks so much!!!!!!!!!! :)

  • jesika commented on February 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I really don’t understand why so many vegans have to be so anti- everything. They give the rest of us a bad name. No corn syrup, no partially hydrogenated whatever, nothing that tastes good or is fun to eat. COME ON!!! Some of the things they say and do to their poor children are going to have them franticaly rushing out to an unhealthy lifestyle on their 18th birthday. The idea is to raise healthy vegan children that aren’t socially awkward or over sheltered. There are certain things that just go with childhood, like soft drinks, candy, sugary breakfast cereals, popsicles, peanut butter and jelly, french fries and pizza. Its up to the parents to find vegan alternatives to these for your children because if you don’t, rest assured they will take it upon themselves to try them, because parents are no match for peer pressure. Remember, the majority of us were not raised vegan, and our children deserve to be children, healthier children, but children just the same. The key is moderation. And if your that concerned about obeseity then I recommend not letting your kids sit on their butt and play video games all day long. Send them outside to play, which is afterall, where most healthy kids would rather be.

  • Sophia commented on February 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I am so disappointed that most of these suggestions are so full of processed food and trying to pretend to eat meat items- my kids don’t need fake food any more than they need meat in their diet.

  • veghouston commented on February 22, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Pack Your Kid an Awesome Veggie Lunch

    http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=5147

  • VegaME commented on March 1, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I really don’t understand people’s opposition to the faux meats. I went vegan for the sake of animals, and faux meats are no harm to them. Moreover, its not so much about pretending to eat meat as it is convinence and health. Without my daily vegan faux meat deli sandwich, I would be missing out on a lot of nutrients. Sure I could get protien from a PBJ, but a lot of the faux meats have B12 and other nutrients I otherwise struggle to get as the only vegan in my family. It helps my mom out a lot too because i’m not always asking her to buy these strange vegetables just so I can get my B12 or other vitamins when there are fortified foods right next to her eggs and milk. If someone is going to be such a strict vegan that they don’t eat faux meats, then I believe they need to sit down and reconsider their values. I ask you: Why are YOU vegan? Of course, if you’re macrobiotic or whatever it is (I’ve only just recently heard of it, I apologize if I did not get the name correct) then I understand because it is a processed food, but if you’re just a vegan or vegetarian, there is no harm in eating faux meats, and in the end it could very well benefit you.

  • McKinney commented on March 4, 2011 at 9:50 am

    VegaME,
    I dont think the opposition to to fake meats in general, it is to the fact that the fake meats are highly processed. It is better to stay away from highly processed foods of any sort (not only macrobiotics believe this). I think the commentors were looking for more natural, whole food recipes for their kids.

  • vegggie commented on March 9, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Just an fyi poptarts have gelatin

  • Taylor commented on March 16, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Most pop-tarts to have gelatin, but I have found that some poptart brand poptarts without frosting do not have gelatin. Our health food store also carries a version without gelatin.

  • Naturalgirl commented on March 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Why would anyone want to rely on fake foods? There are many options including actually cooking your own foods and avoiding all processed foods. My husband just had surgery for colon cancer. He grew up on farm fresh veggies and fruits as well as grass fed beef, pork, and chicken. As an adult he took up smoking and has eaten all of the processed cheap foods. Now he has to go back to naturally grown foods and avoid meats, milk products, soy products, and all processed foods all of these stimulate tumor/cancer growth). Although this is a challenge, it is not impossible. We already have a large garden and have had great success in growing our own “organic” foods in our back yard. We also juice to get all the B vitimins, iron, and enzymes needed for healthy living. I work full time an am able to do all of this.

  • Mark commented on March 28, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Found this list of great real food options:
    http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/veganism/10-vegan-lunch-ideas-114283

  • Melissa commented on April 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Thanks for these ideas. My son gets the mickey taken enough for being vegan, so the last thing he wants is to draw more attention to himself by having fancy dinners different to everyone else.
    A big part of being at school is blending in. He’s doing his job by being vegan…he doesn’t have to make an example of himself ;o)

  • Olaf commented on April 20, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Help! I’m trying to go vegan but I’m allergic to soy and nuts! Does anyone have any suggestions?

  • CallinitAsISeeit commented on April 21, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    this sounds like an advertisment

  • raccoon commented on May 2, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    @ olaf there are more to life than nuts remember that!
    you can still all of your protein from things like lentils and seeds if you dont like pulses just blend em thats what i do
    if you really are worried about your protein then take the tablets but they are secretly run by big name businesses like mcdonalds not allways but near

    you can get rice milk and oat, hemp and coconut milk i prefer rice
    you can also get them in yogurts and stuff so no need to worrie

  • Allykx commented on May 29, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    While I understand that processed foods are not the ideal food sometimes they are convient and can help a child no feel awkward at school. I think the idea should not be to completly take all processed foods from your child but use the processed foods in moderation, just like you would sugar and tv time. Health isn’t about restricing your life to the confines of a plastic box , it’s about using moederation to enjoy a sensable and pleasant life.

  • Concerned commented on May 31, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I’m pretty concerned by the amount of single serving packaging language that is used in the article. I love a lot of suggestions but a lot of suggested items contain a lot of waste materials.

    I hope we can further help animals by conserving our environment.
    Reducing waste by avoiding single serving packaging also reduces our costs.

  • KC commented on June 24, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Smuckers pre-made PB&J? Whatever happened to making homemade bread and making PB&J on that? And Pop Tarts? Hardly a healthy snack. This post is obviously a paid advertisement.

  • Mel commented on July 14, 2011 at 2:59 am

    I am so not with you and actually a bit disappointed about this list. So much fake food, when veganism offers you so many choices. I am not saying you should never have them but to ditch meat junk food to replace it with vegan junk food, doesn’t make veganism the healthier option. I am vegan and so is my family and I hardly ever buy any of the stuff you mention.

  • Paula commented on July 18, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Ok, these things might make it easy for you and your kid to eat at school, but I agree that is disappointing as there is way too much processed American centric stuff. I’ve never heard of some of it and certainly can’t get them in Taiwan. Shame.

  • Lisa commented on July 20, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    This is a good list but a better list would be one that doesn’t rely on fake meat. It’s not necessary for living a vegetarian or vegan life and reinforces that meat is still the “desired” or traditional food. Thank you.

  • karen commented on July 28, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    @Olaf – To get protein you can make seitan. It’s made using wheat flour and it is super packed with protein. Beans and chickpeas also have lots of protein. Eat plenty of lentils too. There are lots of options. I’m allergic to nuts too. =) Good luck!

  • Tam commented on July 28, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I agree with Lisa! I am so over fake meat, we come here for ideas and all it is is meat substitues. I wish it didn’t exist, it doesn’t need to, it does more harm than good to the cause.

  • Arielle commented on July 28, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    I didn’t like this too much, too much fake food. I agree with the people that said it looks too much like an adveritisement. I am in high school and I need good, healthy, non-expensive vegan meals for lunch. Morning Star is too pricey.

  • Hapyangl82 commented on July 28, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Actually this is a great article. i undersand what you guy mean about the fake meat and junk food, however remember what Melissa said: “A big part of being at school is blending in. He’s doing his job by being vegan…he doesn’t have to make an example of himself ;o)” Remember kids are mean to each other when adults arent around. You dont want your kids bullied just because they brought a salad or something other kids wont recognize. And whats wrong with the smuckers PB&J? It IS convenient! lol

  • vegstar commented on July 28, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    My picky eater likes my black bean veggies burgers. The only ingredients are black beans, organic bread crumbs. and spices. Mashed together and baked. She likes it better than the fake meat.

  • Rachel commented on July 28, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Vegan/vegetarian options are nice, but there is no focus on the ingredients that are in most of these processed foods. Vegan alternatives are not always healthier, there are many fake products out there that are just as unhealthy. Soy products are terrible for health. Pop tarts are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and other damaging ingredients that wreck your immune system. My son sometimes takes veggie sushi to school and the kids are always fascinated by it. Some think it’s gross, but some ask to try it and he shares. I think the focus should be on things less processed, less genetically modified, lower in sodium and ingredients that you can’t even pronounce.

  • Charlyem commented on July 28, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    I agree with the other posters – we’re life-long vegetarians so ‘fake’ meat is really unappealing. There are so many awesome foods that don’t look or taste anything like meat and are not processed – how about some lunch ideas with those?

  • Natasha K commented on July 30, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I’m not really sure why everyone is getting so bent out of shape over this article. Personally, I don’t like feeding my family and especially my daughter overly processed foods and stuff, but couldn’t you guys be a little less negative? Take what you like, and leave the rest for everyone else to enjoy. Seriously, I didn’t become vegan to see every other vegan bad-mouth and bash those people and companies out there who are trying to help YOU for FREE. If you don’t like all the processed deli-meats, don’t use them, if you don’t like the chick’n strips, either don’t use them, or do what I do: make homemade seitan, and do the same thing. You could even figure out how to make homemade shake ‘n’ bake. My daughter is only 20 months old, so she still has a couple years before she starts school, but honestly, I would rather her be comfortable at school with what I send her (it doesn’t have to be processed, it can easily be homemade), than to be teased. Bullying is a very important issue and I’m sorry to say, but vegan and vegetarian kids ARE going to be bullied, simply because they are different. I want my kids to be healthy too, but I also want them to be happy. You need to find a balance.

  • Al commented on August 1, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Looks like no one really likes the fake meat at all.

  • Smitha commented on August 2, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Fake Meat is the main vegetarian option???? Really? From PETA??

  • Anne commented on August 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    regarding the complaints about fake meat “Remember that kids can be influenced by peer pressure—foods they love at home might be not-so-cool at school.” When kids see other kids eating lunch meat, chicken nuggets etc. they want to eat them too (my son scoffs at the idea of eating animals, but he still wants to eat things his friends are eating.)

  • mexicomerry commented on August 4, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    We eat as natural as we can…I rarely buy anthing pre-packaged or processed. I have nerver tried any fake meat and will not feed that to my son either. Processed vegan foods may not have animal products in them, but what about the packaging? And the processing plants to make the fake meat poluting the environment…not good!

  • autumn commented on August 5, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Despite what other people think, I think this is a great article! It gave me so many ideas for my school lunches. Being in high school, it is hard to get a decent lunch that is vegetarian, my school isn’t so vegetarian friendly. They packed goldfish in a so called ‘vegetarian lunch’ -_-.
    The ‘fake’ meat is an amazing alternative to real meat. Simply put, it doesn’t have as much bad stuff as real meat, which is by far healthier– yet you still complain, you guys just aren’t happy with anything are you?

  • Melinda commented on August 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    StonyFarm Osoy yogurt has milk in there I checked the label it does say soy but not completely look at their website.

  • Ashley-P commented on August 9, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Melinda: The O’Soy yogurt does not have dairy milk in it. The labels list the first ingredient as “cultured pasteurized organic soy milk”. Maybe you missed the word soy when you were reading the label?

  • Heidy commented on August 28, 2011 at 2:36 am

    Very interesting article however, I don’t like to rely on “fake meat” or processed foods either. But sometimes I like to eat it and my son who is 5 years old likes to eat “meat like- looking foods” as well . Now we should focus on ideas to make our natural meat-alternatives to use as healthy protein source.

    The more natural the better it is for everyone and the planet :) It’s great to see so many Vegans and Vegetarians talking about one of the healthiest diets if no “The Healthiest” lifestyle found now days.

  • Finn commented on September 11, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    It’s not just that the list includes fake meat. This list is dominated by fake meat. What kind of message is PETA trying to send? It sounds like we’re supposed to eat meat since we love animals we’ll make do with things like look vaguely like meat. I also have a problem with the fake cheese because both of these foods have really poor flavor and texture. They are unnatural, and PROCESSED. SO PROCESSED. Can we get some lunch ideas that reflect the values of most vegetarians: fresh, healthy, whole food? Not a list of meat replacements.

  • Lori commented on September 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    i agree, too much meat replacement. if you don’t want to eat meat why would you want to eat something that looks and is tryig to taste like meat. so processed your body probably cannot digest it and made from genetically modified soy product.

  • Lori commented on September 25, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    dissapointed, because i was looking for some creative new ideas for my daughter.

  • KJ commented on November 8, 2011 at 12:11 am

    While looking at the suggestions for lunches, I too did not expect to see so many meat alternatives. My son has never had these and I am determined to find other options despite the fact that there may be peer pressure. Thank goodness he loves his almond butter sandwiches on mana bread! He also loves hummus with veggies and/or crackers, veggie pasta noodles with peas, carrots and corn, veggie bean chili, and black beans with brown rice and quinoa. He likes avocado, sunflower seed mock tuna salad and I am also going to try rice cakes with a nut butter. Fresh fruit is a always a hit with my son and he loves Clif bars for an occasional snack. I try to minimize anything processed and only buy organic when he has them. I wanted to share my ideas in hopes that it may help someone else. Please share any other ideas that you may have that do not have meat alternatives.

  • Maggie commented on November 15, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    I amin high school, and I am peskatarian. I found this article very useful. I don’t do the totally vegan stuff like soy cheese and soy milk, but you can easily replace it with real cheese and real milk! I am using this list as a base, and substituting when necessary

  • Courtney commented on November 26, 2011 at 12:03 am

    I think the list has a great variety for everyone’s taste buds!

  • Katnissa commented on December 4, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I would like to become a vegitarian, but I’m not sure if I can make the change… this website seems helpful, but I’m not sure if I’m willing to give up seafood :/

  • Me commented on December 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    The fake meat thing has got to go!!!! It kind of defeats the purpose.

  • Leon Sibson commented on December 16, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Why would a person eat fake flesh? The average individual routinely eats meat and enjoys it very much until they watch a video detailing the horrors an animal, such as a cow endures on its way to becoming food for humans. After ten minutes of watching such documentaries the eyes tear up and the thought enters the head “I’m never eating meat again”. It’s not as though the video has made them decide that pastrami tastes terrible. A person making a resolution not to eat meat does so as they do not want what they eat to involve the butchering of animals. Pastrami and cheese sandwiches of the past are remembered as tasting quite good and so the individual kindly resorts to purchasing faux flesh and fake cheese and paying a good deal more for it then the real deal knowing that no animal was harmed in the construction of their lunch.

  • Colette commented on February 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Too bad most of these suggestions are meat substitutes. Thought I would find some good whole food, soy free options here. Yep, too bad. My search continues.

  • Margot commented on June 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I found this website very helpful. I’m not attempting to criticize those who are against the meat substitutes, but there are some people who enjoy the flavors of meat, and feel guilty for eating an organism who had to forcefully give it’s life for the consumption of humans. The faux meat also has a high content of protein, giving you a healthy supplement of protein; it’s not all that bad. Yes it is processed, but so are most of the things you eat daily; such as granola bars, some cheeses, chips, crackers, cereals, some yogurts, etc…

  • Jennifer commented on July 9, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Very helpful, just what i was looking for! There are different reasons that different people follow a vegan diet and since mine is driven by treatment of animals i was fine with looking at suggestions from an animal loving website. if whole foods, plant based, unprocessed foods is your game because of health benefits then maybe find another website. This is PETA for goodness sake, not forks over knives…

  • Skye commented on August 24, 2012 at 2:16 am

    School lunches don’t have to be all that much work. It is quite easy to make a salad wrap, and provide an apple or other fruit for a snack. You don’t need to add a sweet and a drink. Water is good for them.

    I thought part of the idea of going vegetarian or vegan was to become healthier, as well as to stop hurting animals for our food. Buying faux meats and veganised snacks isn’t going to help anyone to be healthier. In fact, it can be just as bad.

    Teaching children what is healthy and good to eat is part of a parents job, and that information will stay with a child for the rest of there life. If you teach them that pre-made and packaged foods are okay, even if they are vegan, you aren’t teaching them as well as you could.

    Show them what is in those foods, and help them to pick healthy food. Teach them to enjoy their fruits and veggies. This will help them for the rest of their lives. Go veggies!

  • Margo commented on August 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    These are good suggestions! Vegetarians/vegans are still unusual in our community, so my son’s meat-free lunches draw comments and questions from his friends. He asks them why they are still eating dead animals — cool kid!

  • brittany commented on September 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    i am decideing to be a vegetarian. i got the idea from watching meet your meat video and am never eatting meat again!

  • Stella commented on February 2, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I think you guys need to give up the anti faux meat thing. Kids are cruel and to send your kid to school will an all natural “hippy” lunch will cause them to get made fun of. Listen, I’m vegan and not eating animals for both health reasons and moral, but meat eaters get defensive around vegetarians, and so will their kids. Kids aren’t going to understand and they attack things they don’t understand. Giving them a healthy organic breakfast and dinner at home where they won’t be ridiculed for it makes up for a faux meat lunch. And PETA is right, kids aren’t gonna always eat what you pack for them, especially if it makes their school life uncomfortable.

  • Yoga4mama commented on February 20, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    My kids are not vegetarians but I would like to incorporate vegetarian meals into their lunch boxes. I am also looking to avoid processed meat substitutes, and terrible brands like Morningstar and Smuckers- all who use unethical practices, GMO’s & pesticides and are owned by larger nasty corporations, “greenwashing” I am hoping to find ideas for kids lunches that kids will actually eat.. beyond hummus and PBJ. ANde soy.. NOT A HEALTH FOOD— really bad for humans in this quantity. Any suggestions? I know there are lunch ideas out there.. HELP!

  • Me too commented on August 8, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Smuckers is not owned by a larger corporation and they actually have quite ethical practices. Uncrustables are a great idea for a kid’s vegan lunch in my opinion.