Out of the Box Vegan Lunches
We’ve all seen prepackaged lunches for kids in the supermarkets, but many of them are unhealthy, wasteful, and, worst of all, loaded with cruelty.
But since anything and everything can be veganized, we’ve come up with some quick and easy vegan lunches that we’re calling “Kindables.” They’re kind to animals and can be made in advance, saving you precious time during your hectic mornings.
You’ll need some reusable food containers with separate compartments.
First up are the classic cracker sandwiches. Cut up vegan lunch meats and dairy-free cheese to be about the same size as whichever crackers you choose to use. The ingredients will then be ready to become mini sandwiches during lunch!
For a pizza Kindable, use mini or regular-size pitas as the crust. Place some nondairy cheese, such as Daiya or Follow Your Heart, in one of the container’s compartments. Put some pizza sauce in a snack-size bag or a small, sealable container. Optional: You can also pack chopped veggies, meat-free pepperoni, or any other toppings that your child likes.
This one’s super-easy. The night before, prepare some vegan chicken nuggets. (We like Gardein and Boca brands.) Then just pack them with separate, sealed containers of your child’s favorite dipping sauces, such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, or vegan ranch dressing. Our favorite vegan ranches are from Follow Your Heart and Daiya.
Mini Hot Dogs
Some people like cold hot dogs, but we definitely recommend that your child heat this one up if his or her cafeteria has a microwave. Cut a veggie dog and a hot dog bun in half, creating two mini hot dogs. Pack ketchup and mustard in small, sealable containers, or toss in a few individual packets if you have any left over from takeout orders.
Prepare some Gardein Beefless Sliders the night before and put them in a lunch container. Don’t forget the ketchup and mustard! You could even add a slice of vegan cheese if you want to get fancy.
Pack some bite-size, round tortilla chips. Put salsa in a separate container and vegan nacho cheese in another. You can make your own or buy some—we like Nacho Mom’s brand. You can also put guacamole in one of the compartments. Hint: If you don’t have any vegan cheese sauce, you can always pack some nutritional yeast to sprinkle on the chips.
You’re going to want some tasty sides to fill up the other compartments as well as your child’s stomach. Here are some suggestions:
- Fruits, such as apple slices, grapes, or berries
- Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup (if peanut butter products are allowed at your child’s school)
- Earth Balance White Cheddar Puffs
- Veggies, such as carrots, celery, peppers, or mushrooms
- A small vegan cookie
Lots of prepackaged lunches come with a sugary drink. While these are vegan, they’re not always particularly healthy. We recommend giving your child a reusable water bottle or thermos filled with water or a low-sugar fresh fruit or vegetable juice.