Can you believe summer is already winding down? It feels like just yesterday we were loading up the grill with corn on the cob and juicy Portobello mushroom burgers at our Memorial Day celebration (if you missed those recipes, you can find them here). Alas, all good things must come to an end and the first day of school will be here before you know it. Whether you’re a parent getting ready to send your little one off to first grade or you’re a college student returning to campus, getting into the swing of things can be a bit rough after spending a few carefree months playing in the sunshine.
As you start shifting your schedule to accommodate the demands of the back-to-school grind, it’s a smart idea to start compiling vegan lunch recipes that are not only loaded with flavor and nutrients, but are also easy to prepare and pack for a nourishing mid-day meal. Here are a few vegan lunch ideas that will give kids of all ages the brain food they need to make the grade.
Sliced fruits and veggies
Fresh fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a balanced diet – especially when you’re vegan. Simplify your morning routine by pre-slicing carrots, celery, cucumbers, cantaloupe, berries, and other fruits and veggies the night before school. Pair the vegetables with a small container of hummus or vegan cream cheese and the fruit with peanut or almond butter for dipping.
Sending your child off to school with a build-your-own lunch is a fun way for them to get involved in the meal preparation process. Plus, packaging the ingredients separately prevents them from getting soggy. Think of it as a healthy (and vegan) alternative to a Lunchable! Here are a few build-your-own vegan lunch ideas courtesy of PETA to get you started:
Cold Pizza Pocket
- 1 whole grain pita pocket
- 2 Tbsp. tomato sauce
- 1 cup assorted fresh vegetables
- 1 Tbsp. vegan cheese, optional
- 1 tsp. basil or oregano, optional
- 2 Tbsp. salsa
- 1 Tbsp. guacamole
- 2 Tbsp. black beans
- Cubed baked tofu, chopped lettuce, onions, peppers
- 1 soft tortilla shell
Keep it simple with soup
If you’re a running a busy household or you’re a student who is always on the go, trust me when I say batch cooking is about to become your new best friend. Take the time on Sunday night to make a giant pot of soup that’s loaded with seasonal veggies and whole grains that you can refrigerate (or freeze) and pack in a thermos to eat hot or cold for lunch during the week. If you’re new to cooking, try this simple recipe for Roasted Vegetable Soup, which also happens to be gluten-free. Tip: This vegan Quinoa & Sweet Potato Chili is especially satisfying when the temperature starts to dip.
Don’t forget dessert
No vegan lunch is complete without dessert. And, wouldn’t you know it, batch cooking swoops in to save the day again! This recipe for Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies makes 30 tasty treats you can slip into your little guy or gal’s lunchbox for a sweet surprise. Tip: You may want to double this recipe. It’s amazing.
If your household is anything like mine, there is little room for error in the kitchen on school mornings. But, with a little bit of preparation and planning, your vegan meal plan will transition seamlessly from summer into fall.