Join our Vegan School Lunch Challenge

We’ve joined forces with our friends at Veganuary and our community of Registered Dieticians to help make this year’s back-to-school season easier for families. During what can be a hectic and stressful time, we have created a guide to help make lunchbox prep easy, healthy, and fun!


Join our Vegan School Lunch Challenge

“Children benefit from eating a plant-based diet because it promotes overall health and

disease prevention” Carolina Schneider, MS, RD

“Eating plant-based foods will give your kids the energy and focus they need to power through their day and stay focused at school” Angela Houlie, MS, RDN, CDN

“Having a child follow a plant-based diet can help set them up for healthy eating patterns for the remainder of their life” Joanna Foley, RD

Back-to-school season can be hectic, but making lunches healthy and vegan doesn’t need to add to the stress. With the help of our registered dietician network, we created this guide to help you with the #veganschoollunchchallenge. Our community of registered dieticians believe that plant-based eating is an important way to ensure children receive the nutrients they need and develop healthy eating habits. Here’s to many healthy & nutritious vegan lunches.


Pleasing Picky Eaters

Start with familiar foods Have kids identify 2–3 plant- based foods they already love and start serving them more often. Introducing new foods slowly often leads to better outcomes−especially with kids.

Involve your kids Having kids engage in simple tasks like using cookie cutters to cut out shapes for sandwiches or packing their lunch boxes is a great way to combat picky eating and gently teach them about healthy foods. Cooking together is another great way to empower your child.

Combine familiar with new foods

When adding new foods to your kid’s diet, pair them with familiar foods they love. Involve your children as much as possible− let them pick out what new fruits and veggies they want to add to their lunch.


Making Lunch Healthy

Balance your nutrients Make sure their lunch has all three micronutrients covered− include a source of protein, fat, and of course healthy carbs for energy! Be realistic Let your child choose between two options for their lunch but don’t set the “nutrition bar” too high or the lunch might be left uneaten.

Add variety Keep multiple ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables on hand. Some favorites are cherry tomatoes, snap peas, mini bell peppers, baby carrots, berries, apples, and peaches.


Saving Valuable Time

Pack lunches the night before

Create a Go-To “Snack Drawer”

While preparing dinner, chop extra veggies and save half for tomorrow’s lunch (bonus−only one cutting board to wash!). Combining plant-based proteins and veggies that you have on hand makes for a nutrient-dense and fiber-full lunch.

Creating a “school lunch basket” or “snack drawer” in the fridge makes packing lunches almost effortless. If you buy these items in bulk, you’ll save money while having a drawer full of healthy snacks that add variety to lunches.


Lunch Box Formula

Main Course Sandwich, salad, tortilla roll-ups, thermos meal, rice cake with nut butter

Veggie Carrot/celery sticks, bell pepper strips, cucumber slices

Fruit Cut melon, apple slices, berries, oranges

Kid’s Choice Vegan yogurt pouch, popcorn, dried fruit

Snack Applesauce, popcorn, plantain chips

Reduce stress by following this formula One of the best tools to minimize stress, add variety, and make it easy to pack your child’s lunch is to use this easy-to-follow formula for what foods to include in your child’s lunch−a main, veggie, fruit, snack and/or side treat.


Vegan Bento Ideas Veggie Sushi Nutrient dense and loaded with fun. Involve kids by pre-chopping the veggies and letting them roll the sushi!

Falafel Mediterranean inspired meal with falafel, pita, cucumber & tomato salad and hummus. Trail mix adds extra protein and a touch of sweetness.

PB&J Familiar favorites, like a PB&J sandwich are easy to make and can help make transition times less stressful.


Quesadilla Pair familiar foods with new ones, like plantain chips! This lunch can be almost entirely prepared the night before.

Mac-n-Cheese A twist on a classic paired with nutrient-rich steamed broccoli and orange wedges. Finished with cashewmilk yogurt topped with vegan chocolate chips.

Chickpea Salad Protein-rich chickpea salad is a great swap for tuna. Include crunchy apple crisps and dairy-free yogurt dip to make little hands (and mouths) happy.


Vegan Bento Lunch Grocery List Here’s a starter list of your key lunch box staples



Edamame Falafel Hummus Nut butter

Blueberries Grapes Kiwi Oranges/Tangerines Strawberries Tomatoes

Plant-based Cheese Plant-based Yogurt

Vegetables Avocado Broccoli Carrots

Snacks/Other Apple Chips

Chocolate Chips Plantain Chips Popcorn Seaweed Trail Mix



Brown Rice Pasta Pita Bread Tortillas Whole-wheat bread


This Week’s Lunch Menu Use this planner to make your lunch prep easier

Day 1 2 3 4 5

More Resources for Your Vegan School Lunch A Registered Dietitian’s guide to plant-based lunches. Why Vegan Yogurt Can Be a Good Choice For Kids. Easy, make-ahead kid-friendly recipes.


Our New Back-to-School Favorite


Kids Cashewmilk Yogurt A healthy, packable on-the-go snack

Dairy-free & soy-free Certified Organic Lower in added sugar (compared to other popular yogurt brands) Contains live & active cultures (probiotics) Fortified with vitamins & calcium


We’d like to thank our community who have contributed their favorite tips and advice to make this back- to-school season less stressful and more fun—especially as it relates to healthy, vegan school lunches!

Agnes P Alaina D Angela H Ashley S Audrey B Brianna E Carolina S DeAndra F

Diane R Erika R Jackie S Joanna F Kayla F Ki K Martha M Rachel B

Rose K Salina N Sara W Sarah L Summer C

Taylor B Steph G


Share your lunchbox creations with us using #veganschoollunchchallenge

Follow us on social for more ways to power up with plants! @foragerproject @weareveganuary

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