It can be easy to get in a rut when it comes to vegetarian packed lunch ideas for kids, which isn’t helped by the restrictions some schools place on what you’re allowed to include. However there are plenty of alternatives to the traditional cheddar cheese sandwich we so often end up relying on.
Here are some vegetarian packed lunch ideas we hope you find useful:
Alternative sandwich toppings for vegetarian packed lunches
Not every child will eat all of these (mine won’t!) but hopefully they will give you some new ideas for sandwich toppings or as fillings for bagels, pita bread or wraps:
- Try some cheeses other than cheddar, e.g. mozzarella, goats, cream or cottage cheese
- Peanut or other nut butters (if allowed) – can also add syrup or jam if you like
- Veggie meats, e.g. Quorn chicken slices
- Salad – if your child likes lettuce, cucumber or tomato these are great on their own or added to a cheese or veggie meat sandwich.
- Hummus or guacamole
- Marmite – on its own or to add zing to a cheese sarnie
- Banana slices – add honey or Nutella too if you like
- Grated carrot
- Falafels – great in pita bread or tortillas with some lettuce or cucumber
Other vegetarian packed lunch ideas
Try one of the following vegetarian packed lunches to give kids a break from sandwiches:
- Quorn Mini Sausage Rolls (if you’re so inclined you can make your own vegetarian sausage rolls)
- Quorn Satay Skewers
- Couscous, pasta or rice salad
- Cold vegetarian sausages
- Tortilla chips or breadsticks with hummus, guacamole or other dips
- Salad sticks, e.g. carrot, celery or cucumber with dips
- Cold pizza slices
- Soup in a thermos flask
Fruit and vegetable ideas for packed lunches
I get my kids to take 2 servings of fruit or vegetables in their packed lunches, at least one of which has to be fresh fruit or salad sticks, but I also keep other options in the cupboard for variety and as a backup in case we run out. Here are some suggestions for other ways of including more fruit in their packed lunches:
- Raisins or other dried fruit – my kids love dried apple, mango or pineapple
- Humzingers – for a change from ordinary dried fruit
- Delmonte Fruitini’s are fruit in jelly which is vegetarian
- Squeezable fruit – Planet Lunch and Innocent both make good ones
- Fruit smoothies – bought or homemade
Vegetarian packed lunch snack or treat ideas
As well as a main and two pieces of fruit my vegetarian children also usually get some kind of treat in their packed lunch. Sometimes it’s something like a slice of cake or a biscuit but I generally try to mix those up with healthier options:
- Nuts or mixed nuts and fruit – if your school allows these then they are a great snack
- Mixed seeds – fine plain or you can buy flavoured varieties too
- Cereal/seed bars – 9 Bar, Eat Natural and Nakd all do a variety of delicious and healthy bars that are perfect for lunchboxes
- Fruit loaf, banana bread, carrot cake, etc.
- Some cereals make great snacks dry, e.g. Jordans Country Crisp or other granola’s
- Homemade biscuits or cereal squares are probably healthier than most bought
- Mini Babybels and Laughing Cow triangles are both suitable for vegetarians
- Yoghurts and fromage frais – Some, like Frubes, can be frozen so they stay lovely and cold until lunch time
There are some more good vegetarian packed lunch ideas on the Viva website.
Obviously there are an infinite number of things you can put in your child’s vegetarian packed lunch, but I hope that these give you some new ideas, especially for those children who are relatively picky and won’t go for the more exotic packed lunches found on most grown up vegetarian sites.
If you have any suggestions to add to the list, please let us know. We’re always on the lookout for new vegetarian packed lunch ideas for our own kids too!