Finding time to provide your kiddos with a healthy lunch is challenging enough, but if you’re moving to a plant-based diet, it can feel especially daunting. Throw picky eaters into the mix and you may be ready to throw in the towel altogether. But rest easy because we’ve got your back! Make the move to plants a whole lot easier for your family with these 6 high protein (and kid-approved) veggie-packed plant-based lunch ideas.
Before We Begin: No Time to Cook?
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6 Healthy Plant-Based Swaps You Can Make in Your Kids' Lunchbox
1. Chickpea Salad Sandwich
Recipe and Image from I Love Vegan
Move over egg salad; this mouth-watering chickpea tuna recipe cleverly hides protein-packed lentils and chickpeas - probably not your children’s favorite foods - as it mimics the flavor and texture of an egg salad sandwich. And best of all? This delicious plant-based lunch features zero cholesterol.
2. Lentil Bolognese
Recipe and Image from Healthy Girl Kitchen
I am guessing you are sensing the theme -- swap legumes for animal products in your kiddo’s favorite dishes. Legumes like lentils, featured in this hearty vegan bolognese recipe, are full of protein and iron, both of which are essential for your children’s busy, active days. Also, bolognese is already most likely a family favorite, providing your kiddo’s with familiar flavors as they transition to more plant-based meals.
3. Peanut Tofu Sushi Rolls
Recipe and Image from Lazy Cat Kitchen
You don’t have to eat fish to enjoy sushi...and neither do your kids. If you can spare a few minutes, you can follow this amazing vegan sushi recipe and master the art of making delicious veggie-packed sushi rolls - it is easier than it looks, I promise. Tofu and peanut butter are the stars of these rolls; tofu is an excellent source of plant-based protein and calcium, while peanut butter is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.
4. Oil-Free Falafel Bites
Recipe and Image from MamaSezz
Swap nuggets for these delicious and quick oil-free falafel bites. This healthy vegan lunch is perfect for small hands to pick up and oh-so versatile; add them in a wrap with oil-free hummus and veggies, throw them in a salad with a healthy tahini dressing, or eat them on their own. This recipe uses canned chickpeas to save time, but make sure to buy BPA-free cans, or try to see if you can get them in a carton. And bon appetit!
5. Oil-Free Mac and Cheese
Recipe and Image from Sweet Simple Vegan
Believe it or not, this decadent mac and cheese recipe is completely cheese-free! It is instead made with simple, plant-based ingredients, and you can confidently allow your children to have seconds and thirds without worrying about them reaching their daily nutrient goals.
(No time to cook? Let Mama make vegan mac and cheese for your family...and deliver it to your door.)
6. Black Bean Burger
Recipe and Image from NutritionFacts.org
This comforting black bean burger is a great way to incorporate beans into your kids’ daily meals and is a delicious way to swap out beef in your family’s diet. Blacks beans are a source of plant-based protein, iron, folate, and fiber. Serve on whole-wheat bread, with spinach, tomato, and avocado for that extra boost of vitamins, omega-3’s and so much more!
Rafaela Michailidou is a Vegan Lifestyle Coach, and a freelance health and wellness content writer, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.