Lunchbox meal prep can be annoying. Even further, lunchbox meal prep for vegans can feel almost impossible. But it can be just as cheap and easy as anyone else's lunch - not to mention twice as healthy!
The ultimate rule behind packing your own lunch - no matter what your diet - is making sure that you've choosing an adequate balance of food. For vegans, it is important to keep the Vegan Food Guide Pyramid in mind. (I know what you're thinking - and yes, that actually exists.)
Make sure to pack a variety of foods - a serving of vegetables, a serving of fruit, some grains, and enough lean protein to give you energy and curb your cravings until dinnertime. Using some quick recipes allows you to do this pretty easily.
I'd also recommend packing a refillable water bottle. It is amazing how well you can get through that early afternoon energy dip when you're staying properly hydrated.
Below, I'm going to post a few different vegan lunchbox examples to give you all further inspiration. You'll find that creating a balanced lunchbox may be easier than you thought!
I love this incredibly colorful meal from MamaBelly, which contains the following:
- A mixed leaf salad (spinach and baby romaine lettuce tossed with chickpeas, grape tomatoes, chopped avocado, mango, cilantro
- An oil and vinegar-based dressing
- Gluten-free tortilla chips
Overall, there are about 2 servings of vegetables, 1 serving of fruit, 1 serving of grains, and 1 serving of fats. (Don't be too concerned with 'good fats' like olive oil. A serving as dressing is fine!)
Waste-Free Vegan was able to incorporate leftovers from the night before, cutting down time from meal prep and saving some money. Here's what she packed:
- Spaghetti and veggie meatballs with onion and garlic tomato sauce
- Honeydew melon
- Catalina Dressing
In this lunchbox, there is 2 servings of vegetables, 1 serving of beans, 1 serving of fruit, and 1 serving of fats. (Waste-Free Vegan made her meatballs from lentils, which you can learn how to do here, but if you're short on time, I recommend Dominex brand eggplant meatballs, which you can find in the freezer section of your local natural food store.)
BlogHer contributor UrbanEarthworm put together what I would consider the easiest of the three, proving that meal prep doesn't have to take an eternity to do. Her choices:
- A Tofurkey sandwich on whole wheat bread dressed with broccoli sprouts and vegan mayo
- Newman's Own Poppy Seed Dressing
- Fruit salad of watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, and grapes
This meal has about 1.5 servings of vegetables, 1 serving of fruit, 2 servings of grains, and 1 serving of fats. Not many people realize this, but usually one slice of bread, half a pita pocket, etc. counts one entire serving. However, many sprouted breads are made with a combination of grains and lentils, which creates a much more nutritionally rounded sandwich. (I recommend Dave's Killer Bread's Sprouted Whole Grain variety.)
If you're still a little stumped:
Check out "Vegan Lunch Box: 130 Amazing, Animal-Free Lunches Kids and Grown-Ups Will Love!" by Jennifer McCann. I don't always spring for cookbooks, but I think this is one of the most useful (and extremely affordable) little books for beginning vegans, college students, or anyone on a budget that wants to be able to pack a filling vegan lunch.