17 Vegan School Lunch Ideas: nut free & healthy
Stuck in a rut feeding your kiddos the same lunch almost every day? Wanting to incorporate more whole plant foods and other healthy options? Needing to keep vegan school lunch ideas nut free to boot?!
I’m here to help!
For over three years, I was focused on diversifying my kids’ lunches as I was faced with the challenge of avoiding nuts (classroom policy) while maintaining a plant-based household.
While not all of my vegan lunchbox ideas were a success, many of them were surprisingly popular and requested again and again. Hopefully some of these kids school lunch ideas will make life easier for you parents!
What do vegan children eat for lunch?
Turns out, plant-based lunches for kids look pretty similar to any lunchbox! Kid favorites like sandwiches, burritos, wraps, and pasta are easy to make plant-based.
What is the healthiest school lunch?
One that incorporates whole foods instead of processed foods. So think fruit, veggies, whole grain breads, legumes, and seeds.
What can I pack for lunch without nuts?
Nut free school policies have become more and more common unfortunately. Protein-rich, high fiber foods will help satisfy your kids longer. Think:
- whole grains: sandwiches on whole grain bread or whole grain pasta
- legumes: hummus, rice and beans, roasted chickpeas
- seeds: sunbutter instead of peanut butter, sesame seed crackers, roasted pumpkin seeds
Need to pack nut free lunches for picky eaters? Hopefully some of these 16 plant-baed school lunch ideas will give you inspiration!? Check out my packing tips below…providing options and having picky eater approved items ready to go should make lunchbox packing easier.
Packing Tips for Plant-Based School Lunches
- Leftovers: Looking beyond the sandwich was a huge win. My kids don’t mind room temperature leftovers, but if yours do, you can always pack in a separate thermos.
- Options: I aim to include at least 4-5 choices in each school lunchbox. The lunchbox design really helps to easily provide options…the vegan bento box style is naturally designed for exactly this. Our favorite is PlanetBox, both the 3 compartment and the 5 compartment lunchboxes*. While they are pricier than most, they are super durable…the first one we purchased is on its 5th year and still going strong!
- Have steamed veggies on hand: like potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli, and corn. So simple yet so wholesome and filling. I often steam a pound or so and keep them in the fridge for the week.
- Pack the night before: Consider packing lunches the evening before school while you already have a messy kitchen from dinner. It beats the stressful morning rush, and works well in most cases (with a few exceptions, like avocados).
Whether you’re looking for vegan lunchbox ideas for toddlers or school age kiddos, most of these kids school lunch ideas will work for kids of all ages! The younger kids may just need food cut smaller.
Without further adieu, check out these 16 nut free vegan school lunch ideas.
*Disclosure: I only recommend products I use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Vegan School Lunch Ideas (no nuts)
Dumplings hold up surprisingly well at room temperature, making them one of the most fun and easy school lunch ideas. Especially if you use up leftovers!
black bean, avocado, plant-based cheese burrito • corn & green beans • yogurt parfait with plant-based yogurt, granola, & raspberries
Burritos can be one of the most healthy kids school lunch ideas because you can stuff lots of nutrient dense foods into them and cover them up with your kiddos’ favs! And yogurt parfaits make a healthy treat.
hummus and cucumber wraps • mandarins • ants on a log with sun butter • steamed sweet potatoes
Sometimes the most popular healthy vegan lunch box ideas are fun…like ants on a long! Hummus and cucumber make a satisfying sandwich or wrap combination too.
Nut Free Vegan School Lunch Ideas: 4
leftover Jamaican rice and peas • half avocado • sliced plum • cucumber & carrot circles • sunflower seeds & dried cranberries
If you’re looking for easy vegan lunchbox ideas, it really doesn’t get simpler than rice and beans leftovers! That’s because the combination makes a complete protein with all the essential amino acids. So…not only easy, turns out rice and beans tops the list for healthy vegan lunch box ideas as well!
Stuffed flatbread (the Afghani version is called bolani) is addictively delicious for adults and kids alike! Many grocery stores sell a version of it in the prepared foods section of the grocery store. Fillings can include potatoes, spinach, plant-based meat, pumpkin, and lentils. Definitely worth trying to see if your kiddos like it, as it makes an easy, nutritious main dish in vegan school lunches.
Sometimes, a plain old turkey and cheese sandwich hits the spot. Luckily, it’s easy to veganize with so many alternatives on the market!
Vegan School Lunch Ideas (no nuts): 7
leftover black beans and rice • plantain crisps • leftover roasted cauliflower • kiwi quarters • dried pineapple pieces
Simple rice and beans make a complete protein, so one of the healthiest choices around!
Plant-based, Nut-free School Lunch Ideas: 8
Leftovers always make easy vegan lunches for school, and pasta is a kid fav! Not only delicious, but filling too!
Perhaps not one of the obvious plant-based lunch ideas, avocado can totally work in school lunches, as long as you pack it in the morning. A little lemon will help keep it fresh but in my experience, we don’t even need that usually (outcomes may vary by lunchbox material and outside temperature).
sun butter and jam sandwich • avocado, red bell pepper, cucumber, & chickpea “salad” (no dressing) • mandarin • steamed white potatoes • pumpkin seeds & dried fruit leather
One of the most popular nut free veg school lunch ideas is sun butter and jam! Also, check out store bought roasted pumpkin seeds…salty, crunchy, and full of nutrients.
leftover sweet potato & lentil curry with rice • steamed red potatoes • carrots • tomato wedges • dried cherries
Leftovers make the easiest vegan kids lunch to pack! This lentil sweet potato curry (link above) is popular with kiddos if you’re looking for some fresh ideas!
spinach stuffed flatbread & hummus • corn on the cob • watermelon slices
In addition to the flatbread (explained in lunchbox 5 above), sometimes the simplist whole foods are the biggest wins.
Vegan School Lunch Ideas: 13
leftover Instant Pot rice and beans • carrots • steamed sweet potatoes • watermelon slices • blueberries
More leftover rice and beans inspo…because it really is the perfect combination! Healthy, satisfying, and delicious.
sun butter and banana wraps • chickpea, tomato, & cucumber “salad” (no dressing) • mandarin • steamed white & purple potatoes • pear slices & pomegranate seeds
For peanut free lunch ideas, sun butter can be a good replacement. Combined with fresh bananas, the sun butter seems to be a bit milder in taste.
plant-based cream cheese & jam sandwiches • mandarins • pumpkin seeds & dried cranberries • cucumber & carrot circles
Another tasty alternative when brainstorming nut-free school lunch ideas is to use vegan cream cheese. It pairs perfectly with jam! Just be sure to choose a cream cheese that isn’t made with nuts!
plant-based cheese quesadillas • leftover rice & beans • carrots & cucumbers with hummus • mango & apple slices
Cheese quesadillas are a popular kid food and swapping with a plant-based alternative is more delicious than ever! This is another item that I typically make in the morning.
vegan chickpea salad • crackers • Asian pear • vegan Babybel cheese • dried cranberries
Vegan chickpea salad is a delicious plant-based alternative to tuna. And super kid-friendly too! We find it is best to serve with crackers, as the bread gets a little soggy sitting with the vegan mayo all morning. And our newest favorite packable vegan cheese is plant-based Babybel!
I look forward to hearing what you think of these plant-based school lunch ideas (no nuts), especially if you try a few of these ideas out on your little ones! Please comment below to tell me what you think or share your ideas!
Finally, for more kid-approved ideas check out:
- Healthy Vegan School Snacks
- 5 Solid Family-Friendly Plant-Based Dinner Recipes
- 12 Kid-Friendly Vegan Dinner Ideas Beyond Pasta.
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