We’ve all had that 5-minutes-to-leave-the-house kinda morning, myself more frequently than others. It is on these days I find myself buying lunch from my college canteen. But then I realised, with a little prep, I can make healthy vegan lunches at home, for free. Well, not completely free, but a lot cheaper than buying lunch. So, here I bring you my three vegan lunch box ideas which you can prep the night before. Be prepared to become the envy of your friends!
What makes a good lunch?
Believe it or not, in secondary school I used to wake up EARLY to make my own breakfast and packed lunch every morning. Not to toot my own horn, but I was basically the packed lunch queen. Nowadays I have to leave the house an hour earlier than I did for secondary school, meaning my lunch mostly comprises leftovers, bananas and cereal bars. And whilst there’s nothing wrong with leftovers, sometimes you want something a bit more exciting than last night’s rice n veg. Unless you had pizza last night. Leftover pizza trumps everything.
I guess you could say I have a certain checklist for all my lunches:
- A main. The most filling and arguably the most important part of lunch. And why is it important? Because it’s got carbs, and we love carbs.
- Fruit + Veggies – at least two portions. This is usually a selection from: a banana, an apple, a clementine, a generous handful of grapes, some sliced cucumber, carrot sticks, or sugarsnap peas. But feel free to go to town – after all, the more exotic the fruit you bring, the more exciting your lunch will be!
- Protein. I like to pack a few energy balls in a small container, or almond butter/hummus as dips for the fruit + veg. Better yet, an Eat Boundless snack pack. (more on these gems later)
- A treat. Everyone deserves a treat, right? Whether its one of these vegan coconut slices, some popcorn, or a few squares of dark chocolate, a healthy treat is a perfect way to end your lunch. (Disclaimer: I don’t have a treat in my lunch every day – sometimes I’ll have a treat after dinner instead. But to be honest, I don’t keep track of these things)
Now, before you get overwhelmed by my lunch criteria, remember two things:
- Whilst it may look a little daunting, all you need is a little prep the night before and/or on weekends. You too shall soon become lunchbox kings and queens.
- This is merely a guideline based on what I put in my lunch. It is by no means a set of rules + regulations. I prefer for you to think of it as a set of vegan lunch box ideas, meaning I want you to get inspired to eat healthier.
So let’s get started!
3 Vegan Lunch Box Ideas
1. Rainbow Wrap
Kickin’ off the list of vegan lunch box ideas is this rainbow wrap. I love to eat the rainbow, and what better way to do so than eating it in a wrap? This wholemeal wrap contains lettuce, cucumber, grated carrot and a beetroot burger.
How did I get the time to make my own beetroot burgers, you ask? Well, you may be surprised to hear that even food bloggers cheat sometimes. Particularly student food bloggers like me. I found these beetroot burgers in Aldi, but you could swap them for any pre-cooked vegan patty or falafel. And if you do have a little time on your hands, you could even try making your own falafel.
Brightly coloured food just looks so much more appetising, don’t you think? Just picture opening up your lunch box to see this rainbow beauty *sighs*
I’ve paired this wrap with an apple, a banana, and a Tamari + Aleppo Eat Boundless snack pack. They kindly sent me a selection of their snacks recently, and I can honestly say I am in LOVE with them. In fact, my lunch buddies are also in love, which just might explain why they depleted in number so quickly…
These snack packs are made of activated nuts + seeds with delicious flavours and you can check out their website for a list of stockists. The packs are just the right size, not to mention beautifully designed. Definitely a lunch box win!
2. Pesto Pasta
Up next in my collection of vegan lunch box ideas is this pesto pasta. Pasta is like a separate food group to me, so how could I avoid adding it to this list? Another great one for meal prep, but just remember to pack it in an airtight container so you don’t have a sauce catastrophe. Believe me, this has happened a few times and it is not fun. Not fun at all.
I added prepped homemade vegan pesto to this pasta dish, but you could use the tomato sauce from this recipe, or even bring some mac and cheese. You could also add some chopped roasted veggies, steamed broccoli, or crispy tofu to the pasta for extra plant protein.
Pair this with a banana, carrot sticks + hummus and you’ve got yourself a delicious lunch.
3. Vegan Grilled (mac and) Cheese
Okay, so this recipe is kind of cheeky, and by cheeky I mean unashamedly beige. But it is great for a Friday treat, and tastes too delicious to not include in this list. I mean, it’s carbs on carbs. on carbs. It doesn’t get more decadent than this!
To make: Spread vegan butter on two slices of bread and place one slice, butter side down, in a hot frying pan. Add a slice of vegan cheese and approx. 100g leftover macaroni cheese to the bread, then top with the remaining slice of bread, butter side up. Cook for 3-5 minutes each side until crispy and golden. Enjoy!
I served this lunch with an apple, an orange, and an Orange, Ginger + Maple Eat Boundless snack pack, because clearly I can’t seem to get enough of them.
I hope you enjoyed my list of vegan lunch box ideas! If you make any of these recipes, or even something inspired by one of my recipes, please tag me on instagram @shivaniblogs and use the hashtag #shivanilovesfood. I would love to see your creations!
Pssst – I’d love to know what’s in your lunch box – let me know in the comments!
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