If you’re stuck in a peanut butter and jelly rut, it’s time to shake up the lunch box!
Sometimes it’s hard enough to send your kid out the door with everything they need, and a delicious and healthy lunch seems nearly impossible. That’s where these 29 easy and healthy vegetarian lunch ideas for kids come in!
Whether your kid is vegetarian or you just don’t want to worry about spoiling meat, try packing any of the amazing vegetarian school lunches below. I’ve found 29 inspiring vegetarian lunch ideas that will get your kids excited about lunch — and veggies!
Tuck a few thoughtful notes in with those veggies. Our printable lunchbox notes are so easy to use, and just picturing that big smile that will light up their face at lunchtime makes it so worth it! Click here to download and print them out for free!
1. Pasta Fried Rice
A fun twist on fried rice, this lunchbox friendly recipe is actually made with orzo instead of rice. You can prep a big batch of it early in the week and let your kids make their own lunches!
Simple to make, chock full of veggies, and vegetarian to boot, this recipe is guaranteed to make school lunch something your littles look forward to.
Yield: 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
• 1 cup orzo pasta
• 1/2 cup frozen edamame
• 1/2 cup frozen corn
• 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
• 1 egg, scrambled (optional)
• 4 green onions, finely sliced
• 2/3 cup Asian or sesame dressing
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add orzo, cooking for 12 minutes.
2. Add edamame, corn, peas, and carrots. cook 2-3 minutes more, or until pasta is tender. Transfer to a colander and drain.
3. Place pasta in a large serving bowl. Add scrambled egg, green onions, and sesame dressing. Stir until well mixed.
4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Quick note: Did you know egg is still a big part of a vegetarian diet? While it’s easy to simply leave out the scrambled egg in this recipe if you want, you won’t be missing out on any veggies if your child also loves eggs!
2. Speedy Bunny Bento
Source; Bento Zen
Pack an insulated container with mini veggie meatballs and include a dipping sauce in a small container on the side. Rice or this yummy Lime Orzo Pasta and carrot sticks go perfectly with this non-traditional lunch idea from Bento Zen.
3. Happy Hummus Wraps
Source: Lunchbox Ninja
Tuck some baby kale and carrots in a tortilla with hummus for a yummy and healthy vegetarian wrap. There’s little prep with store-bought hummus and a bag of pre-washed baby kale. See how it’s done at Lunchbox Ninja!
4. Yogurt Yum Yum
Source: Kids Activities Blog
Send your child to school with a yogurt buffet for lunch. Let them choose their favorite yogurt flavor, pack it in an insulated container to keep it cold, and serve with a side of granola and cut fruit. Check out this fun idea at Kids Activities Blog!
5. Silly Skewers
Source: Design Improvised
Caprese tortellini skewers are a fun and tasty way to serve lunch. Thread precooked tortellini on skewers with grape tomatoes and mozzarella cubes for a meal your kids will love. Check it out at Design Improvised!
6. Pack Mini Pancakes
Serve breakfast as a new approach to lunch. Mini pumpkin pancakes are not only delicious, they’re packed with healthy beta-carotene! Find out how MOMables put this fun lunch together.
7. Wonder Roll-Ups
Source: This Lunch Rox
If your kids roll their eyes at peanut butter and jelly, try a roll-up version for something a little different. Use either whole wheat or gluten-free tortillas and let them pick their favorite flavor of jam, like this bento-style lunch from This Lunch Rox.
8. Taco Wraps
Source: Living Lou
These vegetarian taco wraps from Living Lou are easy to make, and the protein from the beans is an energy boost that will your kids going throughout the afternoon. Serve with fresh fruit and a healthy mini muffin on the side.
9. Protein-Packed Bento
This lunch from MOMables looks similar to a popular coffeehouse to-go box lunch but lacks the steep price tag. Use a multigrain sandwich bun or grain-free bun with maple-syrup flavored sunflower butter for a lunch that’s packed with protein.
10. Sub Sammies
Source: A Million Moments
Make a child-sized sub with a mini oval-shaped dinner roll, garden veggie cream cheese, cucumber, and peppers. This is a great-tasting way to sneak in extra veggies! Find out how it’s made at A Million Moments.
11. Pita Pizza
Source: Biting the Hand That Feeds You
Use pitas as crust for these customizable lunch box pizzas from Biting the Hand That Feeds You. Mini containers and silicone muffin cups can store an assortment of toppings, cheese, and sauce
12. Fruity Bento
Load up a sectioned lunch box with fruits, veggies, and snacks along with a vegetarian sandwich. Swap out your normal jelly for apple butter to update the usual PB&J, like Wendolonia did here.
13. Pasta Toss
Source: Hip Foodie Mom
Make pasta salad the night before to make lunch prep easy in the morning. Serve this simple and delicious pasta salad with crispy apple slices and sugar snap peas, like this lunchbox from Hip Foodie Mom.
14. Quesadilla Bites
Source: Betty Crocker
Simple cheese quesadilla bites are perfect for the finicky eater. Serve with your child’s favorite fruit and other goodies for a lunch you know will get eaten! Find out how it’s done at Betty Crocker.
15. Healthy Muffins
Source: Painting Sunny
Make healthy muffins, such as these blueberry oatmeal muffins, to tuck in a lunchbox. Make with whole grains, fruit, or shredded veggies for a healthy option that kids will love, like this fun bento-style lunch from Painting Sunny.
16. Pizza Roll-Ups
Jazz up lunch with these pizza roll-ups. You can make this recipe super simple by using refrigerated pizza dough — and you can freeze any extras. This is one lunch your kids will keep asking for!
17. Super Pesto
Use store-bought pesto to make this super simple pesto pasta lunch from Honestly. Add white beans for extra protein and toss in any fresh veggies that your kids like for a tasty lunch.
18. Noodly Doodly
Source: Veggie Bento Love
Soba noodles slathered in a tasty sauce make a winning lunch. Pair with seasoned tofu cubes and shelled edamame for added protein, like Veggie Bento Love did here.
19. PB & Strawberries
Fresh strawberries replace jam in these yummy roll-ups from Bentoriffic. Add peanut butter, celery, and sliced fruit for a lunch your child will love.
20. Black Bean Tortillas
Source: Kids Activities Blog
If your kids don’t mind a little spice, use spicy canned black beans as a spread for tortillas. Make sure to include salsa for dipping and veggies on the side. Check it out at Kids Activities Blog!
21. Waffle Bites
Sandwich cream cheese between mini waffles for a deliciously unique lunch. Flavored cream cheese makes the waffles an extra special treat! Find out how to make your own at Bentoriffic.
22. Italian Penne Pasta
Give your kids lunch an Italian vibe with penne pasta, like Bentoriffic did here. Edamame gives this lunch some added protein, and who wouldn’t love to gobble up this amazing looking lunch?
23. Plant-Based Bites
Source: Veggies Don’t Bite
It’s the little stuff that kids love — mini chocolate chips, pretzels, dried fruit, baby carrots. Tuck in some healthy pasta with zucchini, squash, and carrots, and your kids are sure to get excited about a Plant-Based Vegan School Lunch, like this one from Veggies Don’t Bite.
24. Mini Broccoli Quiche
Source: Baked Bree
These mini quiches are delicious and amazing! They can be made ahead of time, then frozen and thawed for a quick, protein-rich school lunch. Use up leftover steamed veggies from dinner and whip up these cute, tasty little Mini Broccoli Quiches from Baked Bree in no time.
25. Nachos with Black Beans
Source: What Lisa Cooks
Who doesn’t love nachos? Load up all the ingredients for nachos in a travel-friendly lunch container. Pack up tortilla chips, shredded cheese, black beans, sour cream, olives, shredded carrot and anything else you want for the ultimate travel-friendly Nachos with Black Beans. See how it’s done at What Lisa Cooks!
26. Bagel Sandwich
Source: My Epicurean Adventures
Whether mini or regular-sized, a Bagel Sandwich is always a big hit with lunch. Smear with veggie cream cheese or spread on your favorite nut butter for yummy vegetarian options. Carrots, snap peas, and cantaloupe make a tasty and healthy side. See how it’s done at My Epicurean Adventures!
27. Bowties with Peas
Source: Meet the Dubiens
When life gets busy, lunch should be simple. Make easy Bowties with Peas for a lunch that’s guaranteed to get eaten. Meet the Dubiens can show you just how easy it is!
28. Mac n’ Cheese
Source: What Lisa Cooks
If you have a cheese-obsessed child, this Mac n’ Cheese lunch is perfect. Use leftovers and pack some bright and sweet strawberries and oranges as a side, just like What Lisa Cooks did for her kids.
29. Mini Rainbow Sandwiches
Source: Super Healthy Kids
Cabbage and peppers may not be the normal fare your kids eat, but sneak them into a Mini Rainbow Sandwich and suddenly they’re game! There’s a fruit sandwich option, too, or add a medley of both for a bright and colorful lunch, like this one from Super Healthy Kids!
School Lunch Packing Guide
Don’t have time to put together a coordinated lunchbox? No worries! It’s easy to put together a well-balanced brown bag on the fly with these easy tips. Simply peek in your refrigerator or pantry and pack one serving of each of these suggested food groups for a healthy meal that will keep your kiddo feeling full until the end of the school day.
Check out our printable healthy school lunch ideas!
Grains & Starchy Vegetables
- How much to pack: 1-2 servings (one serving equals about ½ cup)
- What to pack: Whole-grain bread, overnight oats, pasta, or rice
Legumes, Nuts, Seeds & Dairy
- How much to pack: 2 servings (one serving equals about ½ cup)
- What to pack: Beans, lentils, peanuts, or split peas; raw almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds; cheese cubes, string cheese, or yogurt
- How much to pack: 1-2 servings (once serving equals 1 cup raw or ½ cups cooked)
- What to pack: Leafy greens like kale or spinach
- How much to pack: 1 serving (about ½ cup fresh fruit)
- What to pack: Berries, apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, melon, or pineapple
Whether you love planning out pretty bento boxes or always end up putting together last-minute lunches as your kids run out the door, these ideas are sure to help you go from basic, boring PB&J to a whole month of delicious vegetarian options. Happy school lunching!
Get more school lunch inspiration right here!