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Meat Free Kid Lunches

Its Kiddie Lunch Box… Bento Style!

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Since M started going to preschool a couple times a week, I needed to think of a better lunch box for her. I was sending her to school with multiple ziploc bags. It was very unorganized and wasteful. After doing a little research, I decided to buy her a bento box from Laptop Lunches. Its fun, its cute, its insulated, its BPA-free, and most important, its visually appealing when she sits down to eat. Well, as visually appealing as you can get for a 16 month old.

Here’s a pic of the outside. I’m sure you’re lovin’ that hazelnut coffeemate in background 😉
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The inside…
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On the menu for Miss M was a Soynut butter & Jam Sandwich on a potato roll (M’s school is nut-free), Cinnamon Apples, Leftover mixed veggies, two whole wheat Fig Newman’s, and string cheese.
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So far I’ve been very happy with M’s bento box! Hopefully she likes it too 🙂

Meat-Free Kid Lunch Ideas…

Last week I was talking to a friend of mine and she was telling me her son goes to a preschool that’s meat-free and she’s running out of lunch ideas. After brainstorming and doing a little research, I came up with these ideas.

Sandwiches: Any of the below can be used inside whole wheat bread, bagels, english muffins, whole wheat tortillas, wraps, or flat bread.

  • Cream Cheese & Smashed Avocado
  • Cream Cheese & Jam (I like Crofter’s Super Fruit spread)
  • Cheddar Cheese & Apple or Pear Slices
  • Brie & Pumpkin or Apple Butter
  • Peanut Butter or Almond Butter & Honey Sandwich
  • Soynut Butter & Jam Sandwich (if your child’s school is nut-free)
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Quesadilla with Cheese & Low-fat Refried Beans
  • Peanut Butter & Banana
  • Soynut Butter & Banana
  • Cottage Cheese & Pumpkin or Apple Butter with flat bread on the side

Meat Substitutes: Can be added inside a sandwich or on the side with whole grain crackers.

  • Nut Butters
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Cheese (Low-fat)
  • Refried Beans
  • Edamame (shelled)
  • Yogurt (low-fat)
  • Tuna Salad
  • Egg Salad
  • Tofu Dogs
  • Cottage Cheese (low-fat)
  • Hummus
  • Beans (garbanzo, kidney, black beans)

Meal Tip: Whenever I’m cooking dinner, I’m always thinking about M’s lunch. Whether she’s at school, or at home. I always think of food she may eat, plan it into our meal, and cook extra so I have it on hand to include in her lunch the next day.

Do you have any ideas for meat free kid lunches? I know my friend will greatly appreciate it 🙂

Have a great day!!

22 Responses

  1. Lauren at KeepItSweet said on September 28, 2010 at 8:25 am

    i’ve never heard of meat-free schools! love the bento, much more fun than my boring tupperwear:-)

  2. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman said on September 28, 2010 at 8:29 am

    That’s such a cute lunch box. I know it’s for your 16-month-old daughter, but I kinda want one.

  3. Jessica @ How Sweet said on September 28, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I want that lunch box so bad. It is adorable!

  4. Tina said on September 28, 2010 at 8:44 am

    What a fun lunch box. And I love all the kid meal ideas. They are great ones. 🙂

    I never knew schools could be “meat-free” or “nut-free” though!

  5. Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) said on September 28, 2010 at 8:59 am

    That lunch box is too cute! Mini corn dog muffins of course (with tofu dogs and/or cheese) and pasta salads are great too!

  6. Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries said on September 28, 2010 at 9:03 am

    A little too early for M’s age, but homemade soup is always great. So many meat-free varieties!

  7. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday said on September 28, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Those lunches sound delish! Who says they have to be kids’ lunches. I’d eat one of those.

  8. Ange said on September 28, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Such a great list! I would add lentil/black bean burger patties. I often make these up weekly and do a dozen at a time. My 15 month old loves them with ketchup on top!

  9. Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) said on September 28, 2010 at 9:51 am

    love it! i really wnt to start using a bento box system for lunch… so much healthier.

  10. Heather (Heather's Dish) said on September 28, 2010 at 10:31 am

    hey, i’d eat meatless if that’s what i was packing too 🙂 yum!

  11. Gelareh @ Nutritious Foodie said on September 28, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Love the Bento lunch bag. YOu are good mom for thinking about your daughter and her meals… 🙂

    I have a Q for you… why meat free?

  12. Estela - Weekly Bite said on September 28, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Hi Gelareh! My friends son’s preschool is meat-free so I thought I’d help her out and come up with some meal ideas 🙂

    I give my daughter meat all the time 🙂

  13. Jen said on September 28, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Thanks Estela! And his school is meat-free because it is a Jewish preschool, which means they are kosher. These are great suggestions! I know the little man will be delighted to have something other than cubed cheese and raisins for his lunch tomorrow!

  14. Maria said on September 28, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Great ideas! Love the lunchbox too! I am going to pack these for me:)

  15. Mo@MommyRD said on September 28, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Ava loves tofu. Just seasoned and baked or grilled and cut into sticks or “fries.”
    Question for you, do you give M lowfat cheese? I always buy a separate cottage cheese for Ava because I wasn’t sure if they could have lowfat dairy under the age of 2. It would be great if we could all eat the same one.

  16. Beth @ DiningAndDishing said on September 28, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    I’m a big fan of marinated chickpeas with grated cheese in a wrap. An excellent meat free option!

  17. emily (a nutritionist eats) said on September 28, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Meat-free school? I’ve never heard of such a thing! I think you covered all the bases, these are great ideas! I’ve made “apple pie a la mode” wraps with the kids at camp and they were a big hit – whole grain tortilla, cream cheese, apple slices, cinnamon and brown sugar – all microwaved together. (But could serve cold for lunch)

  18. Joanne said on September 28, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Well, I’m not a kid but I could go for that Bento Box meal. It looks great and I love all your meatless suggestions.

  19. lynn @ the actors diet said on September 29, 2010 at 1:36 am

    um….will you pack my lunch?

  20. Amber's notebook said on September 29, 2010 at 2:10 am

    I was raised veg and I remeber having things like pita sammies (pita, avo, tomato, hummus), or pb&j on pita’s. Also pita pizzas, clearly we loved pitas.

    I am very impressed with what your preschoolers are eating! I can remember back as far as first grade being the weird kid with pita’s and blue corn chips, now I am so grateful for those days!

    I think I might need a couple of those bento boxes!

  21. Nicole, RD said on September 29, 2010 at 7:55 am

    I love those lunch boxes…so practical!