Plant-Based School Lunch Boxes

Back to School Lunch Boxes – How and What to Pack

Kids are going back to schools and kindergartens. Wondering what to pack your kid for lunch? I’ve always provided my 5-year-old’s lunch and snack for kindergarten and I make it super-easy. You can do it too!

My kid’s kindergarten is very accommodating, i.e. the food can be stored in fridge and the teachers heat it up on a stovetop or in oven. Since this was his routine from the beginning, he has had no problems with having different food than other kids. On the contrary, they often want to taste whatever he’s having as his food is always colourful. His afternoon snacks are hits too. In spring, he had spruce tips with him and several kids had a taste. Other times, they try the different nuts (brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts) he has with his carrots and salad leaves.

If there’s no possibility to heat up lunch, warm it up in the morning and use insulated containers to pack the food for the day. Most children (mine included) are OK eating food at room temperature. If you take their meal from the fridge in the morning, it’ll be fine to eat by lunchtime (this applies only to plant-based meals and cooler climates).

Containers
I recommend buying a smaller and a bigger 2-compartment BPA-free food container + a regular one-compartment one. The sizes depend on how much your kid eats.

Dinner leftovers
I usually pack him dinner or lunch (as I work from home I cook my lunch) leftovers. When I cook dinner I already bear in mind the extra quantities to have enough leftovers. While filling the dinner plates I prepare his lunch container at the same time and put it in fridge.

My kid is super-happy with:

  • Veggie-bean/lentils stews over rice, quinoa or whole-grain pasta
  • Lasagne with brown lentil and tomato sauce
  • Veggie-lentil risotto
  • Salad mix of corn, olives, sundried tomatoes, capers, grated carrots or turnips, chickpeas, rice or quinoa, kale or Romain lettuce and a tahini sauce with nutritional yeast
  • Veggie-lentil oven casserole
Green Lentil-Rice-Eggplant-Bell Pepper Stew with Cherry Tomatoes
Green Lentil-Rice-Eggplant-Bell Pepper Stew with Cherry Tomatoes

Separate lunch
Sometimes it happens that I have no leftovers, in which case I just prepare him a super-easy lunch the evening before and store it in fridge in a container. Usually I make red lentil stew prepared with onion flakes, garlic powder, turmeric, cumin seeds, nutritional yeast, kale or broccoli or chard and quinoa. I add boiled beet or sauerkraut as side. It takes 15 minutes to prepare.

Lentil-Quinoa Stew with Kale and Beetroot
Lentil-Quinoa Stew with Kale and Beetroot

Snacks
The snacks are even an easier task. I make sure he has:

  • some grains – either a muffin or some cookies/bars that I have prepared myself,
  • nuts – usually a Brazil nut and a walnut. He is always very specific about the number of nuts, i.e. there have to be two  🙂
  • some veggies – carrots, turnip, cucumber, red bell pepper
  • or fruits – an organic apple or pear so that he does not need to peel it.

I always ask him what he’d like and compile the container accordingly always bearing in mind the variety, i.e. he gets to pick an item from each category.
Snack box with carrots, cookies and a nut

Prepare big batches and freeze

Doesn’t seem like a rocket science any more, does it?

On the boat in the sunNele Liivlaid: founder of Nutriplanet.org She has been into healthy eating for many years, but developed a more profound interest in nutrition and related diseases when she started reading The China Study and other special books on nutrition. After being in real estate and hospitality business for more than 10 years she decided to totally change her path to spread the word about healthy and sustainable nutrition and lifestyle.

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