Vegan Kids Lunch Box Ideas

Discover wholesome and delicious vegan lunch box ideas for kids! From colorful fruit salads to homemade snacks and global flavors, explore creative ways to nourish your child with plant-based meals.
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Cookie Cutter PB&J with Tofu Cubes Easy Vegan School Lunch Idea
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Has back-to-school mode got you scrambling to get it all done? From the homework and getting the kids to bed on time to healthy breakfasts and finding the shoes in the morning, lunch is often an afterthought. But this list of simple vegan lunchbox ideas could be just the savior you’re looking for.

First things first: kids can tell what kind of energy you put into their lunches. The more fun you have making your kid’s lunch, the more fun they will have eating it. That’s not to say you need to spend hours coming up with vegan lunchbox ideas. But the more creative you get, the more likely they are to it. And is there anything more deflating than a lunchbox that comes home with uneaten food? It’s a waste of time and money and worst of all: it means your kid didn’t eat a healthy meal during the day.

Let’s break that habit together. Read on for some simple lunchbox ideas for plant-based kids.

Invest In A Fun Lunch Box

Sure, you can toss some leftovers in Tupperware containers and into a brown paper bag and call it done. But this uninspired method often leads to a sad ritual of lunches that come right back home, soggily shifting around in their now-tattered and torn paper bag. The bag is trash, the food is wasted, and there’s an overall “ugh” feeling that you and your kid may not even talk about, just carry on with day after day. Sound familiar?

Most important, it’s a missed opportunity to spark joy in your kid’s day at lunchtime. Let’s spark some joy!

One easy way to leap into a new, happier, healthier lunch packing routine is to invest in a reusable lunchbox—one that gets you excited to pack it up. The perfect lunch box looks different for everyone depending on your kid’s interests and needs, as well as your own. Here are a few of our favorites!

Best Kids Lunch Boxes

  • Planetbox – With a range of sizes and fun shells and decoratieve magnets your kids will love, Planetbox gives you space to fill your kids’ lunches with healthy vegan options. The more choices you offer, the more likely they are to eat something. The different-sized compartments give you some fun challenges in the creative parent department, too. And we love that they’re dishwasher friendly for easy cleaning. Our top pick is The Rover with the Tutti Frutti insulated lunchbox case.
  • Bentgo Lunch Box – Another fun compartmented lunchbox is the Bentgo. With a range of sizes, shapes, and designs, these are perfect for the younger kids in your house with leakproof seals that help prevent messy cleanups. And you can feel good about supporting this brand and its Feed the Children donations made with every purchase.
  • Elk & Friends Lunch Box – This eco-friendly brand has been making our favorite kids silicone plates, cups, and tumblers for years, and recently they started making sustainable kids lunchboxes! They are very high quality, hold their seal beautifully, and are long-lasting.
A Planetbox lunch box
A Planetbox lunch box | Courtesy

Reusable Snack Containers and Accessories

Single-use plastic bags are so last decade. Skip the disposable plastic baggies and go for these reusable options instead:

  • Stasher Bags – Stasher uses silicone, not plastic, for a sturdy, washable, and reusable bag you can pack up with sandwiches, snacks, fresh fruit, and more. Pop them in your dishwasher for a no-fuss clean-up, too. 
  • Reusable Ice Packs – With a thin lunchbox-friendly design, and lots of fun shapes to choose from, these ice packs are very helpful in keeping food fresh all day long.
  • Fun Food Picks – Infuse some extra fun into your kids lunch by integrating cute food picks like these plant picks, these mini sauce containers and halloween picks, and these silly eyes that can transform any food into a character.
  • Simple Modern Reusable Baby Food Pouches – Kids love those applesauce or smoothie pouches, but they create so much waste! We love these reusable pouches from Simple Modern. Make your own delicious smoothies at home and pack them into these pouches your kids will love.
stasher bags filled with berries and veggies

Vegan Kids Lunch Box Ideas

Now you’ve got your lunchbox situation sorted, it’s time to fill it with delicious and fun vegan lunches for kids. With these ideas you can even start to plan out the whole week with a little lunchtime meal prep—maybe that means cutting extra veggies during dinner prep, baking some tofu during bath-time, etc.

When you have at least a rough idea in place of what you’re doing that week or even just the next day for lunch, you’ll start to figure out where you can fit in some of the work instead of ten minutes before school starts!

Play With Shapes

Cookie cutters are your friend! Just make sure you’re packing lunch when you’re a little bit hungry yourself so you can enjoy all the scraps as you go.

Sandwich-friendly Cookie Cutters:

  • Stars
  • Circles
  • Hearts
Cookie Cutter PB&J with Tofu Cubes Easy Vegan School Lunch Idea

There are also Fruit & Veggie Mini Shape Cutters you can use for carrots, cucumbers, berries, melons, and so much more. This is especially great for toddlers or picky eaters.

Leave Special Surprises and Notes

Brighten up your child’s lunch or snacktime with a little reminder that they’re loved! School can be overwhelming even for the most well-adjusted kids. A little hello from home can make all the difference. Some fun ways to say hell:

  • A sweet note
  • Stickers
  • A funny comic strip
  • A crossword puzzle or other game
  • Family photo
  • A colorful flower

Line Up Colorful Snacks

For kids, a lunch full of snacks is just as exciting (if not more so) than a single main meal. And as long as you’re packing the snacks with nutrition, why not lean into that and create a fun snack spread they can pick and choose from? Find over 50 kids snack ideas that are perfect for lunches here to get the snack party started.

Easy Vegan Lunch Idea #1: DIY UnCrustables

  • Use whole grain bread to maximize nutrition. Whole-grain bread is full of fiber and protein.
  • Mix up those cookie-cutter shapes! Maybe Monday you pack a “You’re A Star!” themed lunch and Friday is a “You’re a Hoot!” owl theme.
Planet Box stainless steel zero waste vegan kids lunchbox with fruit kebabs.

Easy Vegan Lunch Idea #2: It’s A Pasta Party!

What’s in this vegan lunchbox?

  • Spiral pasta with olive oil, garlic powder, a sprinkle of salt, and nutritional yeast, topped with green peas.
  • Split peas cooked with vegetable broth or bouillon for flavor.
  • Strawberry flowers and fresh blueberries
  • Thinly sliced crunchy carrots (you might pack a carrot dip like hummus or vegan ranch on the side)
Nooch Pasta With Peas and Flower Shaped Fruit Salad Vegan School Lunch Ideas for Kids

Easy Vegan Lunch Idea #3: Tofu Lover’s Dream

Now not every kid loves tofu, but it’s my little one’s favorite food! He loves it baked, grilled, stir-fried, toasted, and raw straight out of the package. Tofu was one of his very first foods, and I have a hunch that it’s widely loved by kids who:

  1. Are exposed to it very early
  2. See their parents modeling how yummy it is
Nooch Tofu With Whole Grain Rice and Veggies Vegan School Lunch Ideas for Kids

How to Get My Kids to Love Tofu

If your kids are a few years old already and you’re introducing them to this new food: tofu, and they’re turning up their nose, remember that most of us adults did the same! It wasn’t until several years into my vegan journey that I started eating and loving tofu. It can take more than 20 exposures to a new food to develop a taste for it, and fortunately tofu can be prepared in so many ways that you’re bound to find one that’s a hit.

Try this:

  • Start by regularly eating tofu in front of your kids, and really ramping up the “Mmmm, oh my gosh, delicious!” noises. Soon enough your little one will be reaching for the tofu on your plate to give it another try.
  • Don’t force your kids to eat tofu (or any food, for that matter). That’s the quickest way to make them hate that food for good.
  • Try different cooking methods and seasonings—you can win over the most uneasy skeptics with perfectly seasoned and cooked tofu!

If you’ve tried all these things and your kid still doesn’t want anything to do with tofu, that’s okay! There are plenty of other healthy, high-protein foods out there to turn to instead.

Plant-Based Lunch Idea #4: Pizza Day!

What’s in this vegan lunchbox?

  • Pizza with plant-based cheese shreds
  • Fresh berries (kiwi, raspberries, strawberries)
  • Corn on the cob
  • Amara smoothie melts
  • Vegan hot dog slices with ketchup for dipping
  • Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal Bites (these are freezer-friendly and a lunchbox favorite!)
Plant-based kids lunch box with pizza, corn, veggie hotdogs, and more.

Crafting creative vegan-friendly lunches for kids is not only a nutritious choice but also a great way to develop a love of healthy food. By incorporating a variety of colorful fruits, vegetables, grains, and plant-based proteins, parents can ensure that their children have everything they need to thrive during the school day. Here’s to happy, healthy eating and a brighter, greener future for our little ones!

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