How to Pack Vegetarian School Lunches

If you're in school and a vegetarian, life can be tough. It can be a real challenge to find and pack suitable vegetarian food for your lunch–just leaving out the meat isn't enough to give you a nutritious and enjoyable meal. But with these tips, you'll know how!


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    Take a look at the organic section of your grocery store. That's usually where they put all the fake meat (products like imitation cold cuts made from soy). Try to look for the best deals possible and don't overdo it. Organic foods can be much more expensive.
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    Learn to cook food. There's nothing lamer than not knowing what you're having for lunch since your mom packed it. It's also really cool if you can tell everyone you made the food yourself. Buy a vegetarian cookbook, watch cooking shows and search the web for recipes.
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    Cook food over the weekend in advance, particularly things like tofu lasagna or vegetarian chili which can be made in large batches and frozen.
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    Eat healthily and know your stuff. People will envy you and want to be like you if you eat really healthy food and know a lot about nutrition.
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    Look at a vegetarian food pyramid to get ideas on what to eat. Just not eating meat is not a good way to stay healthy.
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    Eat cold food. It's probably not a good idea to bring something to eat that has to be eaten hot. Cold salads, soup, and smoothies are great!
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    Compare. A great way to keep motivated is to compare your lunch to those of the people around you. While you're eating pita with spicy hummus, the rest of them just have burgers and ketchup. You'll feel like the coolest, most unique person there!


  • Food suggestions:
    • Hummus (chickpea spread) can also be found around the organic food section and can be served alone with veggies or in a pita.
    • Soy chips and certain brands of granola bars are good sources of protein. Be sure to read the label to check for the number of grams of protein.
  • If anyone asks you about your food, don't be afraid to tell them that you're a vegan/vegetarian and be proud of it. A lot of people will actually think it's kind of cool that you're not embarrassed (even if you're a guy). Confidence is key. If you're scared of your difference, the bullies (who are usually insecure) will target you with ridicule. If you act confidently and can rationally explain yourself, you will command respect and you might even win people over. A good policy is not to flaunt your dietary habits; instead, explain yourself with confidence when confronted about the issue.
  • Make sure you have enough nutrients and vitamins in your lunch.
  • A thermos is great for bringing hot stuff into school like homemade soups...yummy!
  • Morningstar Farms, Quorn, and Tofurky are all really yummy vegetarian brands with lots of fake meats, like corn dogs, chicken nuggets, and even ribs!
  • Look in the canned food section too. There's a lot of good stuff there that can be made to be great.
  • You can make your own veggie "meat"(salami etc.) using Gluten Flour. There are lots of recipes on the Internet, and you can tailor them to your own tastes. While making your own food is also cheaper than store bought, buying gluten flour in bulk can save you even more.
  • Give meat substitutes a try, but if you don't like them, drop them after a few days and a few different brands.
  • Don't forget a plain old salad! Jazz it up with tofu cubes, or whatever you like!
  • If you have a microwave at school, you can heat up things like bean soup, vegetarian chili, rice and beans, baked potatoes or vegetarian burritos (not in a metal lunch box).


  • Don't rely on cheese for protein. Make sure you get protein from beans and soy and don't just eat pizza and mac 'n cheese all the time.
  • Don't be a snob! People will resent you if you're flashy about how healthy you are and how much you care about the animals and stuff like that. If anyone asks about your lifestyle, respond modestly.
  • Microwaving food can cause formation of carcinogens and structural degradation leading to reduced nutritional value.

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Categories: Vegetarian