The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

What can I eat for lunch at school?

Posted on September 14, 2011 by The VRG Blog Editor

Q. What can I eat for lunch at school? I have to pack a lunch since the cafeteria doesn’t have much in the way of veg options.

A. A lot of schools are implementing farm-to-school programs (http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2005issue3/vj2005issue3action.htm) and incorporating vegetarian products into school meals (http://www.vrg.org/fsupdate/fsu20062/fsu20062_schoollunch.htm If your school doesn’t currently do either of these, here are some quick, easy and delicious ideas to pack for your school lunch.

Sandwiches (put these on your favorite bread, whether it be a tortilla, bagel, pita or sliced bread):

  • nut butter & jelly (or sliced apple, banana or strawberry)
  • veggie sandwich (red peppers, cucumbers, lettuce & tomato with hummus or vegan cream cheese)
  • tofu eggless salad
  • tempeh bacon, lettuce & tomato with soy mayonnaise
  • soy-based faux meat with lettuce, tomato & onion with soy mayonnaise, mustard or hummus
  • falafel (homemade, purchase premade or purchase a mix) or with cucumbers, tomatoes & tahini sauce

Soups (packed in a thermos to keep warm and can be homemade or bought in cans or aseptic packages; cup of soup products work also if you have access to hot water):

  • minestrone
  • lentil
  • chili
  • black bean
  • tomato-basil
  • corn chowder

Salads:

  • pasta salad (cooked pasta, broccoli & carrots with vinaigrette dressing)
  • taco salad (black beans, corn, red peppers & cilantro) with tortilla chips
  • sesame noodle salad (cold soba noodles with broccoli, carrots & sesame seeds in peanut sauce)
  • tabouleh salad (bulgar wheat, tomatoes, lemon juice, mint & parsley)
  • fruit salad (an assortment of cut up fruits drizzled with balsamic vinegar)
  • raw vegetable salad (greens with a variety of your favorite veggies & dressing)

Other ideas:

  • bean burrito (tortilla with beans, rice & salsa)
  • brown rice with veggies & tofu
  • beans and grains (any bean-black, kidney, chickpea, etc and any grain-rice, quinoa, couscous, etc)
  • noodles & marinara sauce with veggies
  • homemade vegan “lunchable”-faux deli meat, soy-based cheese slices and whole grain crackers
  • veggie spring rolls with peanut sauce (homemade or can be found frozen in some supermarkets and natural food stores)

Add a snack and/or a sweet treat and a drink and you’ve got a complete lunch.

Snacks:

  • pretzels
  • whole-grain crackers
  • nuts
  • trail mix
  • veggies with hummus

Sweets:

  • fruit (fresh, dried or fruit leather)
  • soy yogurt
  • soy pudding
  • vegan cookie or graham crackers
  • Clif bar or Luna bar
  • muffins or other baked items

Drinks (if you keep these in the freezer, they will serve as an ice pack while they thaw in time for lunch):

  • bottled water
  • juice box
  • soymilk or ricemilk boxes

In the words of a childhood friend, “It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “what about lunch?”” -Winnie the Pooh

Written by Corey Bivins while volunteering with VRG.

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