Vegetarian Brown Bag Lunch Ideas

Cynthia Dermody

vegetarian brown bag lunch ideas

I'm determined to break my son out of the brown bag doldrums next year, and luckily CafeMom rkoloms is several steps ahead of me. The mom of future 9th grader Alyssa has been collecting ideas, and since the Daily Buzz is headfirst into our Back to School Guide, she's offered to share them.

They are all vegetarian -- great for moms who are raising their children that way and for moms like me who just want to mix it up a bit.

rkoloms has been passionate about nutrition and children since becoming pregnant with her daughter in 1994, though she was a vegetarian before then. She's involved in several vegetarian and healthy parenting groups here on CafeMom to "get some good nutritional information out into mainstream America" and do her part to extinguish childhood obesity.

"Being vegetarian is not about what I don't eat, it is about what I do eat,' she says. "We need to raise our children to be excited about trying new flavors and textures."

I hope these ideas make your mornings a little easier next school year!


Soy shakes

Warm apple cider, herb tea, or cocoa in a thermos

Homemade flavored soy milk. Simply add flavoring such as chocolate or carob, cinnamon, mango, orange, pineapple or banana to plain soy milk

Fruit and tofu smoothies


Cream cheese and jelly sandwiches, cut up into quarters or fingers

Cream cheese cucumber pita sandwich (almost any sandwich can go in a pita!)

Nut butter and fruit spread sandwiches on bread, cut up into quarters or fingers, or on crackers

Cheese or baked tofu cubes

Greek yogurt with honey

Ziti or multicolored finger food pasta with tomato sauce to dip and grated cheese

Chick peas, green beans and macaroni (mixed together, no sauce)

Baby potatoes and carrots, cooked whole, with yogurt based dip

Thermos of bean and veggie soup with toast fingers to dip

Thermos of rice and beans, grated or shredded cheese on the side to mix in

Tofu salad sandwiches

Leftovers (rkoloms's daughter seems to think that food tastes better coming out of a plastic container and a bag or lunch box ... or maybe it's just the home-cooked thing away from home.)

Rice with margarine and nutritional yeast flakes (or cheesy powder as rkoloms's family calls it. Chunks of tofu or steamed veggies can be added to this if desired, and with a bit of Bragg Seasoning it becomes a very believable fried rice.)

Nut butter sandwiches with slices or smashed fruit

Fruit sandwiches

Carrot salad sandwiches (shredded carrots mixed with a vegan mayo, and if the mood suits, raisins)

Cold cooked pasta and baby carrots

Pancake sandwiches (Cut pancakes into shapes with cookie cutters. Spread one side with cream cheese (can be vegan), and do the other with fruit preserves or jam.)

Snacks and Sides

Fruit with dip (cream cheese with juice concentrate or preserves mixed in)

Dried fruit or fruit leather

Baked chips, veggie chips or veggie/fruit/pirate's booty

Veggies or fruit, with or without dip

Fresh whole banana

Soy nuts

Bread sticks

Sunflower seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds

Popcorn, air-popped at home

Gorp (whatever mixture of cereal, dried fruit, nuts & possibly coated chocolate -- like M&Ms -- you like)

What's your child's favorite vegetarian lunch?

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