Food + Drink Recipes

5 Plant-Based Lunches for Back-to-School

August 13, 2019

Try these five plant-based school lunches that pack a healthy punch.

Story and photography by Erin Marie Miller

Kids and teens have a lot on their minds these days. In the midst of news about the climate, struggling small farms and questionable water practices, young people around the world have been inspired to make better choices for the planet. A great way to start is by supporting local farms and eating more plant-based meals each week. The focus should be on simple, nutritious ingredients that positively impact your community. Sound hard? It’s not! At the grocery store, select locally-made products whenever you can. Next, choose an evening each week to visit a local farmer’s market with your family and stock up on fresh produce with a low carbon footprint. While you’re there, your kids can learn about where their food comes from. Back at home, prep these five plant-based lunches with your kids on Sunday night, and teach them that everyone can make a difference in the world – starting in their kitchen!

Not sure where to start? Find your local farmer’s market at mifma.org/findafarmersmarket.

Meal Prep Pro-Tip: These recipes share some common ingredients, so you can prepare them together to save time!

Chickpea Salad with Crackers

plant-based school lunches

  • ½ can Eden Foods organic garbanzo beans
  • 2 tablespoons American Spoon whole seed mustard or Eden Foods organic roasted tahini
  • ¼ cup celery, diced
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • Handful of Little Rooster Bread Company sesame crackers
  • Carrots or apples, cut

Drain the chickpeas in a colander, pat dry with a paper towel and pour into a mixing bowl. Smash with a fork until a chunky texture is achieved. Dice the celery and mix with chickpeas. Stir in mustard or tahini sauce, depending on preference. Season with salt and pepper to taste. For meal prep, spoon the mixture into a partitioned container and place the crackers in a separate partition. Add a side of freshly cut carrots or apple slices for a healthy lunch that’s fun to eat. Keep chilled, and don’t forget to pack a fork!

DIY Mediterranean Pita

  • ½ can Eden Foods organic lentils
  • 2 tablespoons Garden Fresh Gourmet organic original hummus
  • ½ tomato, diced
  • ½ cucumber, diced
  • Handful of baby spinach, washed
  • McClure’s bread and butter pickles
  • 1 wheat pocket pita (5-inch) from Sophia’s Bakery

Drain the lentils in a colander then pour into a mixing bowl. Wash and dice the cucumber and tomato and add to the lentils. Mix together with a spoon. In a sectioned container, pour the lentil mixture into one section, add the hummus to another section, and place the baby spinach and pickles in a third section. Cut the pita in half and wrap with aluminum foil. Keep chilled, and don’t forget to pack a spoon so your kids can fill the pita at lunchtime!

Roasted Veggie Marinara

plant-based school lunches

  • 1 cup Eden Foods organic vegetable spirals
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tomato, cut into chunks
  • ½ zucchini, sliced
  • ¼ cup red and green bell peppers, sliced
  • ½ cup Sansonetti premium marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and cut the vegetables. Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until done. Let cool, then pour pasta sauce into the bottom of a microwave-safe container, followed by a layer of cooked pasta with vegetables on top. The sauce will keep the noodles from drying out while they’re stored in the fridge. Mix before eating, heat in the microwave and enjoy!

Roasted Veggies and Hummus Bowl

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • ½ zucchini, chopped
  • ¼ cup broccoli, chopped
  • ¼ cup red and green bell peppers, sliced
  • Garden Fresh Gourmet organic original hummus

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. While preheating, bring water to a boil in a pot, add rice and allow to cook until done. Wash and cut the sweet potatoes and other vegetables, then place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 30-35 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through. Let cool. Place the rice and vegetables in a microwave-safe container. Spoon hummus into a separate, smaller container. At lunchtime, heat the rice and vegetables in the microwave, top with hummus and dive in!

Garden Pasta Salad

  • 1 cup Eden Foods organic vegetable spirals
  • Hot Rod Bob’s balsamic Italian dressing
  • ½ cucumber, diced
  • ¼ cup broccoli, chopped
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

After boiling the pasta, allow to cool. Wash and chop the vegetables. Mix pasta and vegetables together in a container, and drizzle with Italian dressing to keep the pasta from drying out while stored in the fridge. Keep chilled — and don’t forget to pack a fork!

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