The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

School Lunch Advice from a 10-Year-Old: Beyond the PB&J!

Posted on November 22, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Dane Indvik
5th Grade Elementary Student

Your family has already chosen to leave the tuna sandwiches, deli meats, and other harmful animal products out of your lunchbox. Good for you! However, I am sure the kids are getting bored of having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day for lunch, just like I was. I want healthy meals that taste great, but school mornings are rushed and my mom is busy, so we have to come up with quick, tasty, and packable vegan lunches. I have compiled the most delicious and practical ideas that I use for my everyday school lunches to share with you.

The key to an easy vegan school lunch is simple–a good quality thermos. Personally, I am not a big fan of the packed sandwich, so this has made all the difference for me. Thermoses keep my lunch hot or cold, depending on what is inside. Another beauty of the thermos is that it is perfect for packing leftovers from whatever great vegan dinner I had the night before.

My Favorites to Pack in a Thermos:

Variations on beans and rice. Choose one or more item from each category below:

Grain
Quinoa
Brown Rice
Couscous

Protein
Black or Pinto Beans
Soy Chorizo
Lentils

Sauce/Spice
Salsa
Sauce
Soy Sauce

Tip: To save time we often use pre-cooked lentils, canned beans, and/or frozen rice. Add a frozen or fresh vegetables to the above items for extra nutrition. Dane’s favorite: Red quinoa, black beans, and tomatillo salsa.

2) Variations on pasta and sauce. Choose one or more item from each category below:

Pasta
Udon/Soba Noodles
Gnocchi
Whole Wheat Pasta

Protein
Baked Tofu
Shelled Edamame
White Beans

Sauce
Teriyaki Sauce and Almond Butter Mix
Vegan Pesto
Marinara Sauce

Add frozen or fresh vegetables to the above items. I love to top all of my pasta dishes with Faux Parmesan. We make it with raw cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic and salt, all whirred in a blender.
Dane’s favorite: Soba noodles, teriyaki tofu, shredded carrots, and soy sauce.

3) Variations on the sandwich–be creative! A good Tupperware container will keep your sandwich or wrap from getting soggy.

Bread
Rye Bread
Whole Wheat Tortillas
Whole Wheat Wrap

Filling
Smashed Avocado
Hummus
Almond Butter

Extra
Lemon and Salt
Spinach and Pickles
Sliced Banana

Spread the filling on the tortilla/wrap, layer on extras, and roll it up into a pinwheel. Slice in half to pack in a sandwich Tupperware container. Dane’s favorite: White bean hummus and dill pickle in a tortilla wrap.

Because these lunch creations are so hearty, I only need a piece of fruit, some sliced carrots, or a few edamame in the pod to go along with my thermos. Easy!

We often make a double batch of grains or pasta at night so they are ready for more than one lunch.

My mom I and hope you enjoy these quick, tasty, and packable vegan lunches! They will be the perfect fuel for your activism toward a healthy and compassionate planet. Keep up the good work!

Dane Indvik is a 10-year-old vegan, animal rights activist, and writer that resides on the Central Coast of California. He has worked with the Head of Food Services for his school district to get vegan lunches on the menu, helped organized a Veg Fest, and is founding his own non-profit organization. Additionally, he volunteers for various local organizations including an animal sanctuary. Feel free to contact him at dcindvik@gmail.com.

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