ROUND-UP: 11 Plant-Based Back to School Lunch Ideas


Six images of back to school lunch ideas with a grey box in the middle with text that reads "Round-up: Eleven back-to-school lunches"

It's that time of year again - a new school year! Or also known as "back to regular programming".


As you fall back into old routines, you may be feeling flustered at the thought of having to prepare lunches again. Not to stress - I've got your back with tips and tricks to easing back into that lunch routine + 11 plant-based back to school lunch ideas.


Tips and Tricks for Stress-Free Lunches


1. Strive for a Healthy Plate Model


When making your lunches, strive to make half of your lunch vegetables or fruit, a quarter whole grains, and the last quarter protein foods. To read more about the Healthy Plate Model, check out my previous post, Simple Guide to Healthy Eating in University.


2. Plan ahead


With the excitement of new school supplies like fancy pens and a fresh planner, put them to good use by planning out a week of lunches. Get into the habit of using your Sunday night to think ahead and strategically plan out lunches. For example, you may want to attempt batch cooking or cook once, eat twice meals to make your life a lot easier.


3. Make Extras!


Trust me future you will thank past you when you cook a big ole batch of whole grains like brown rice or quinoa, chop up a bunch of veggies and fruit, or store your extra canned beans or lentils in the fridge for later.


4. Reinvent Leftovers


Leftovers from dinner? Turn that into a kick-ass lunch the next day!


Some of my favourite reinvented meals include turning sweet potato and black bean chilli into a burrito with brown rice and all my fav burrito toppings, and taking my roasted veggies from dinner to make a roasted veg and hummus sandwich or a grain bowl.


5. Don't be afraid to lean on "convenient" foods


Take the work out of having to prepare lunches by leaning on "convenient" foods!


Bagged salads, canned beans and lentils, frozen falafels, quick-cooking whole wheat couscous, fruit and veggie trays, and trail mix turned salad toppers are all great healthy "convenient" foods to have at your finger tips if you are feeling like you're in a pinch to prepare a balanced lunch.


Some of my favourite lunches using convenient foods include lentil Mediterranean salad, Falafel bowls using Longo's Falafel Burgers (25% of your daily value of fibre in one burger!!), and whole wheat couscous with red wine vinegar dressing.



11 Plant-Based Back to School Lunches


Pasta Lunches


1. Avocado Pesto Pasta

A while bowl holds avocado pesto pasta topped with cherry tomatoes and peas. To the right of the bowl is a silver fork. To the top right is clear pinch bowl with cherry tomatoes. The bowl sits on a blue, green, and white tea towel.

2. Pearl Couscous with Fresh Veg and Basil

A large white bowl of pearl couscous with tomatoes, zucchini, corn, and basil sits on a wooden cutting board and blue and white tea towel. A wooden spoon is placed in the bowl. To the top left sits the pearl couscous vinaigrette and to the top right is a pinch bowl of chilli flakes.

3. Whole Wheat Couscous with Red Wine Vinegar Dressing

Two bowls with whole wheat couscous and red wine dressing sit on a wooden cutting board. A blue and white tea towel lay between the bowls. There are two forks in the bottom left of the picture and a pinch bowl of red wine dressing to the right.


Hearty Salads


4. Zoodle Salad with Orange Peanut Dressing

A black matted plate of zoodle salad with orange peanut dressing sits on a wooden cutting board. A blue and white tea towel is under the plate. To the bottom of the image is a large bowl of the zoodle salad, a small pinch bowl of peanuts, and a small pinch bowl of chilli flakes.

5. Quinoa Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce

A large white bowl with quinoa salad with spicy peanut dressing sits on a white and blue tea towel. To the top left to bottom left of the image is a pinch bowl with chilli flakes, another pinch bowl with peanut dressing, and a wooden spoon.

6. Lentil Mediterranean Salad

A large white bowl with lentil Mediterranean bowl sits on a white and blue tea towel on a large wooden cutting board. To the bottom right is a smaller bowl of lentil Mediterranean salad. To the left of the bowl are two silver forks.


Sammies and Wraps


7. Smashed Chickpea Sammies

Smashed chickpea sandwich sits on parchment paper on a black matted plate. Several carrots sit beside the sandwich. A blue and white tea towel is found under the plate.

8. Balsamic Veggies and Hummus Toast

Balsamic veggies and hummus toast sits on a white and grey polka dot plate on a wooden plate.

9. Moroccan Inspired Lentil Lettuce Wraps

Moroccan inspired lentil lettuce wrap sits on a wooden plate. To the right is a blue and white towel.

Something Warm and Cozy


10. Simple Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chilli

A white bowl of simple sweet potato and black bean chilli sits on a blue and white tea towel on a wooden table. Chopped purple onion and slices of avocado top the chilli.

11. Spaghetti Stew with Vegan Lentil Quinoa Mushroom Meatballs

A white bowl of spaghetti stew with vegan lentil mushroom quinoa meatballs sits on a blue and white tea towel on a wooden cutting board. To the right of the cutting board are two pinch bowls: one with vegan parmesan and another with chilli flakes.