Packing your little one’s lunch is so sweet and fun. But making food they like can be stressful. You don’t want them coming home with a lunchbox full of uneaten food — that’s bad for the planet and your bank account! Check out my school snacks and lunch ideas below. If you are in college, check out Moriel’s words on college kind style. For more info on healthy snacking, read my guide to kind snacking. Happy eating!
My mantra for putting together Bear’s lunch is grain – protein – vegetable! Here are some more lunch ideas or snack components we use on a regular basis:
- brown rice or sushi
- quinoa, sometimes with olives on top
- brown rice pasta with tomato sauce (Mario Batali makes a sugar free yum one, we blend the whole jar then it’s good to go)
- brown rice crackers – usually from Lundberg and typically salt-free
- gluten-free brown rice bread or whole-grain lightly toasted with vegan cheese, tomato, sliced pickles, cucumbers, and tempeh or tofu (see go to brands below). Bear invented this sandwich!
- steamed or sautéed green beans with a little shoyu and lemon
- steamed broccoli with Vegenaise or a flax umeboshi plum dressing as a dip
- arugula salad
- collard greens with smoked tofu wrapped inside
- carrots sticks
- steamed or blanched cabbage/kale with umeboshi plum flax dressing
- baked sweet potatoes
- beans! black-eyed peas, black soybeans (he used to love these), lentils, garbanzo beans
- fried tofu
- Protein-Packed Waffles from The Kind Mama
- Dave’s Gourmet Korean Food tempeh – we get this at the farmers market, Bear loves this!!
- Wildwood baked savory tofu – this one has no sugar 🙂
- Rhapsody Tempeh – if you’re vegan, you have to know about Rhapsody! They make the best tempeh. I love the teriyaki kind. They are organic and use soybeans grown less than 100 miles away from their base in Vermont.
- non-gmo edamame
on the sweeter side
- apple sauce
- brown rice crispies from The Kind Diet
- a handful of blueberries, mini tangerines, an apple, sliced watermelon, tangerine (whatever’s fresh and in season..)
- pancakes or waffles with tahini (we love Brad’s tahini) and strawberry jam (we prefer St. Dalfour, no added sugar)
treats found in his backpack or lunch on occasion
- non-gmo organic corn nuts, basically roasted corn – brands like Inka Corn and Organic Merchants sell them
- almond butter + jam (fruit-sweetened, no sugar!) sandwich
- Miyoko’s Creamery: Classic Double Cream Chive – this cheese is insane! It pairs great with brown rice crackers.
- Lara Bar: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip + Apple Pie – these bars come in handy when your starving and on the road without a snack! Luckily you can find them at most gas stations, airports, and grocery stores if you’re ever in a real pinch. Larabar sticks to real ingredients, no added sweeteners, and usually only have six or so wholesome raw ingredients. The Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Cookie, and Apple Pie are our favorite flavors.
- Whole Foods Strawberry Fruit Strip – these are a fun snack to have that’s more on the treat side. They sell them at all Whole Foods and are all fruit-based. Good for both kids and adults.
- Annie’s Fruit Snacks – this is seriously yummy! They are like mainstream gummies so kids feel like they are getting away with candy 🙂 Bear is obsessed with these and it’s just fruit!
Here are some snacks I indulge in from time to time – not daily! Usually when I’m about to get my period and want something naughtier…
- a few dates – if you can get these fresh from a farmers market they are so yum. Tastes like caramel candy! Dates from a grocery store are super dry and just not the same!
- Inca berries! I discovered these in Australia. They are delicious.
- baked sweet potatoes
- Raw balls from The Kind Diet
- Ditto on Rhapsody tempeh!
- Kite Hill Soft Original Almond Milk nut ‘cheese’ – this is super smooth and yum on something like toast. The chive cream cheese is also dangerously good!
- Ha’s Apple Farm: Fruit Rolls – these cute little fruit rolls have zero sugar added! They are amazing!
- Sconeage Bakery: Blueberry Cranberry Granola Bars – these are the best granola bars ever!! They trump a lot of them out there. If your searching for a delicious granola bar, try Sconeage!
Listed below are some snacky products I’ve tried and Bear has enjoyed. Now that he’s a bit older and hangs with some friends after school at the school snack spot – called “The Tree House,” I’m having to get creative and throw in some fun stuff once in a while! This way he doesn’t come home with gross processed stuff like ‘Sun Chips’!
One more thing: Even though these items are vegan and are on the healthier side, please be mindful that they are still mostly wrapped in some kind of plastic and have a higher carbon footprint than something you make at home. These products are usually shipped in from some other state, require trucking to the grocery store, and are wrapped in materials that aren’t easily recyclable. So just bear that in mind. Plus, these are not items we consume or have in our kitchen 24/7, just on occasion.
Beanfield’s Bean & Rice Chips Sea Salt + Ranch
These are so good! Definitely salty, but if you or your little one is craving chips, Beanfield’s is seriously good! The base of the chips are black beans and navy beans, how cool is that?
Rising Tide Chewnami Nibbles, Seaweed Snack, and Spicy Seaweed Snack
I did a Rising Tide giveaway a while back, they’re a super cool company! Yum stuff 🙂
Pirates’ Booty Veggie
I tried these wraps at the Seed Food & Wine Festival in Miami. They were good! They are dehydrated and raw so if you’re not used to that taste it might be a little strange at first. But fun wrap to have to make burritos and sandwiches, for you or kids!
Shawnee’s Greenthumb Popcorn
This funky popcorn is super yum! It’s certified Organic and non-GMO. It has ingredients like nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, kelp powder, and garlic powder, so the popcorn tastes unlike any other bagged popcorn I’ve had before. I found out about this snack at the Seed Food & Wine Festival.
Follow Your Heart Provolone
I found these at the Natural Products West Expo.. It doesn’t look like much but it was actually really good! I want to get some for Bear!
Rhythm Superfoods Broccoli Bites
These bites are interesting and different. If you’re into kale chips, you might like them! I tried them briefly at the Natural Products Expo West.
Uncle Eddies Vegan Cookies
Newman’s Own Wheat Free Dairy Free Creme Filled Chocolate Cookies
These taste like full-on ‘Oreos’ — but they’re cleaner! Insane!
Angela’s Sweet Spot Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie
= yum city!!
Bear likes eating these just as is. They’re cute and fun!
NuGo Organic Double Dark Chocolate Bar
This one includes cane sugar so this is a special treat! The brown rice crisp adds a crunchy fun texture. Hits a chocolate craving for sure.
Tasty and free of added sugar!
If you want some more ideas on what to pack your little one for lunch, my friend Roxanne also shared thoughts some great ideas about talking to your school about incorporating more healthy options, definitely worth checking out.