It’s back-to-school time, which means it’s almost time to bust out the kids’ lunchboxes and make up a bunch of PB&Js. But there are tons of other tasty vegan options for kids! If you’re not using them already, bento boxes are a great way to reduce waste created by disposable bags. Make a vegan bento box for all of your kids’ school lunches and you’re already on your way to a happier, greener Earth. Also, did we mention how fun they are to put together?
Here are 10 ideas and tips to inspire your inner bento artist:
1. Vegan Chicken Tenders and Fried Rice, Pikachu-Style
Vegan food, I choose you! Transform your little ones’ favorite cartoon character into their midday meal, complete with vegan chicken on the side. Chickens are perhaps the most abused animals on the planet, but thanks to vegan chicken, no one needs to support cruelty to satisfy their cravings.
2. A Mexican-Inspired Lunchbox
Your kids don’t have to miss out on their cafeteria’s Taco Tuesday with this yummy lunch idea. Lentil tacos, Spanish rice, and sweet plantains are only part of what makes this dish so delicious. Don’t forget a slice of lime to keep the guacamole from turning brown!
3. Vegan Tofu and Asparagus Fried Rice
Tofu is excellent for picky eaters because it takes on whatever flavor you add to it. Plus, eating tofu instead of animal flesh is a compassionate, eco-friendly choice: It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef, whereas producing 1 pound of tofu requires only 244 gallons of water.
Pizza just got more fun! Use mini cutouts to cut the vegan cheese into cute shapes for topping an English muffin. (On lazy days, you can always pack leftover vegan pizza from these national chains.)
5. Vegan Jam Sandwiches
PB&J sandwiches are lunchbox staples—and they’re (usually) vegan. Just make sure the peanut butter you’re using doesn’t contain honey. Like other animals exploited on factory farms, honeybees are victims of unnatural living conditions and genetic manipulation. You can use raspberry jam or any other flavor.
6. Homemade Chia Bowl
Give your little ones breakfast for lunch with a vanilla chia-seed pudding bowl, with all the toppings of your choice. This mom includes berries, cereal, and pumpkin seeds. And are those mini pancakes on the side?
7. Holiday-Inspired Box
Boo! Don’t let this spooky bento box scare you. It’s packed with tons of important fruits and veggies, along with some tasty treats, like Mummy Dogs, made with vegan hot dogs and crescent roll dough.
8. Vegan White Bean Hummus Heart-Shaped Sandwich
White bean hummus is a savory vegan option for a scrumptious sandwich. Try cutting the sandwich into a heart shape to remind your kids that they’re eating with compassion: Every vegan saves nearly 200 animals per year!
9. Roasted Red Pepper and Bean Soup
Veganize a lunchbox classic with a tasty soup. This example uses roasted red pepper and bean, but get creative with other kinds, like vegan chicken noodle or tomato soup.
10. Vegan Fettuccini Alfredo
This Italian classic can easily be made vegan. You’ll need some trusty soaked cashews, along with the other items listed here.
We hope these 10 ideas are enough to get you and your family excited about making some vegan bento boxes. For more inspiration, follow the Instagram accounts mentioned above—and check PETAKids.com for additional recipes.