Published by PETA.

Children are known for their picky taste buds. Sure, there are some full-blown foodies who haven’t even hit puberty yet, but most kids like their food plain and simple. This preference has led to many well-known “go to” recipes for busy parents who need to pack a quick lunch each morning. These are the ones that you know your children will love and that you won’t have to force them to eat, and luckily, many of these can be easily veganized.

Here are 10 easy vegetarian lunch ideas that will certainly please a variety of palates.

Top 10 Vegetarian Lunchbox Ideas

  • Homegrown happy meal. Use frozen veggie patties (Boca carries a vegan version)—or make your own soy-free patties from black beans—to whip up kid-approved burgers. Add a side of oven baked fries and throw in a toy for an even happier meal.
  • Deli slices and cheese, please. There’s a wide variety of meat-free sandwich slices available nationwide at major grocery stores. Pair these with soy cheese and you’ll have a classic sandwich, or use them for cracker stacker
  • Who doesn’t like pizza? Top a toasted English muffin with a dollop of pizza sauce and a slice of vegan cheese (yes, brands like Follow Your Heart really melt!) to make a mini pizza. These “pizzas” will be so tasty that you may even be able to sneak a few veggies on top too.
  • Roll ’em up and send ’em out. Try a veggie dog rolled up in a crescent roll and baked until golden brown. Or cover a tortilla with yummy fillings—such as vegan cream cheese (Tofutti brand is available in major grocery stores), veggie pepperoni, and veggies—roll it up, and slice into fun pinwheels.
  • PB&J, deconstructed. Make the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich more fun for your little one by packing the peanut butter and jelly in separate cups and adding a few breadsticks for dipping. Throw in other healthy dippers, too, such as celery and apples.
  • Kid-style salads. Yes, even your child will like this salad—pasta salad, that is. Mix tricolor pasta spirals with diced veggies, such as tomatoes and cucumbers, and vegan mayo or dressing. Try other kid-friendly salads, like faux-chicken salad, on a sandwich or with crackers.
  • Pack-and-go tacos. Try healthy black bean and brown rice tacos made with flour or corn tortillas. If you’d like to use a soggier filling, such as veggie crumbles cooked in taco seasoning, simply pack the filling in a thermos and let your child have fun assembling at lunch.
  • What’s in your thermos? Warm your kids up on cold winter days by heating canned vegetarian chili and packing it in a thermos. Pack a baked potato so they can top their spud with the filling chili.
  • Pitas are perfect. Cut mini pitas in half and stuff them with hummus, falafel, or your other favorite sandwich filling and add some veggies.
  • Beanies and veggie weenies. Vegetarian baked beans, such as Bush’s Best Vegetarian Baked Beans, are available at almost every grocery store. Add sliced veggie dog pieces and you have an instant lunch that’s nutritious and delicious.

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