20 Easy, Healthy, Vegetarian Lunch IdeasThis post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
Are you tired of the same lunch options week after week? Or are you trying to go meatless for a few meals but don’t know where to start? Here are 20 easy, healthy and delicious vegetarian lunch ideas that are perfect for taking to work or enjoying at home!
Whether you’re making your own lunch (to take to work or eat at home), or looking for something your kids will enjoy, coming up with healthy options for lunch can be so hard! Ideally, you want something that will keep you full (so you don’t end up with a candy bar in your hand at 3pm), and something that super fast and doesn’t require much cooking or prep time.
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Here are 20 vegetarian lunch ideas that are tasty, good for you, and that kids will love!
What Should You Look For In A Healthy Vegetarian Lunch?
When it comes to lunch, you want something that’s easy, flavorful and will keep you full. Here are some other things to look for when figuring out what to make for lunch:
- Low Sugar: Choose a recipe that won’t make you feel sluggish (no sugar highs and crashes!)
- Well Balanced: Look for lunches that are balanced when it comes to protein, fats, carbs and have a good amount of vegetables. You especially want to make sure there is enough plant-protein to keep you full.
- Easy to Pack: Because if you’re taking lunch on the go, you need it to be easy to transport and not have 100 components to put together!
20 Vegetarian Lunch Ideas
Hearty Sandwiches and Burgers
Sandwiches and burgers are lunchtime staples, but can become boring if you have the same thing every day. Try these recipes to switch things up!
Other Sandwich Tips
- For an everyday savory sandwich: Start with sprouted wheat bread like Ezekiel, and layer on some plant-based protein (mild cheddar cheese, hummus, baked tofu, etc.), any veggies you like (greens, tomatoes, sprouts, cucumbers, roasted vegetable slices, etc.), and add some flavor (salt/pepper, mashed avocado or guacamole, mustard, pesto, etc.) For kids, I like to “deconstruct” the sandwich and serve it bento-style since being able to hold a sandwich that big without everything spilling out can be hard for little hands. You really can’t go wrong with a healthy, filling sandwich, and you can change things up slightly every day!
- For a sweeter sandwich: Try using a combination of nut and seed butters, fresh fruit, and toppings like cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. One of my favorites is a combo of almond butter, pear slices, walnuts and cinnamon!
- For a quick veggie burger: I recommend making the patties in bulk and freezing them, so you can spend 5 minutes warming them up and assembling them before you head out for the day. For kids, I pack a deconstructed burger with the patty in one compartment, toppings in another and the bun cut in half in the third. That way it doesn’t get soggy by the time they eat it and it’s easier for kids to eat without getting messy!
Salads That Pack Well
You can pretty much do anything you want with a salad. For kids, I recommend chopping up the veggies/toppings/etc into smaller bite sized chunks so it’s easier to chew. And in general, there are a few rules to keep in mind to make sure any salad you make is both tasty & healthy:
Other Salad Tips
- Lots of Veggies: Start as many veggies as you like! Greens, cucumbers, peppers, roasted veggies, tomatoes, and anything that’s in season is always fun to add in. Just avoid anything that’s already pre-dressed – like from a deli.
- Lean Protein: Some of my favorites include hardboiled eggs (use more of the whites vs. the yolks), beans, lentils or nuts and seeds
- Seasoning: To season your salad, use salt & pepper – they do wonders for flavor, and 2 tsp olive oil with 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- Spreads: You can add in hummus or guacamole for extra flavor! Just stick to 1-2 tbsp per salad serving.
- What to Avoid: Avoid croutons, chips, dried fruit, and pre-made dressing – they are generally high in calories, low in nutrients and high in processed ingredients and/or sugar
- In Moderation: If you’re using cheese, just watch the portions! 2-3 tbsp is enough for 1 salad.
Soups and Stews That Make Great Leftovers
When it comes to soups, I recommend making a big batch one evening and using it a couple times during the week. It packs really well in a thermos for kids (or adults too honestly!), or you can pack it alongside other lunch items in my favorite bento box that incorporates hot and cold items in the same box!
Bowls, Grains, and Pastas
Bowls are great because you can just throw them together and they travel really well. Grains and pastas can both be wonderful bases for healthy and filling meals! All of these taste great hot or cold, so they work well in kids’ lunchboxes especially if they don’t have a place to reheat their lunch.
Looking for More Recipes? Check Out These Other Vegetarian Lunch Ideas!
- Chickpea Salad Sandwich from A Couple Cooks
- Roasted Chickpea Gyros from Live Eat Learn
- Bento Box Lunches from The Kitchn
And that’s it! 20 ways to completely makeover your lunchbox that will leave you and your family feeling satisfied, happy and full!