Rainbow Meals

Yellow Lunch (2)

You can bring a smile to your kid’s face this school year when they pop open that lunchbox, even without fancy Bento boxes or food in the shape of faces, boats, and any other shape that comes to mind. Instead, simply coordinate lunches by color!

You can serve the following in rainbow order (serving red the first day, orange the second, and so forth), but we jumped around a little bit to fit weather or certain themes. Here’s the full spectrum that the kids ended up enjoying over a few weeks! And although certainly not necessary, it was fun to dress up in the hue that corresponded to lunch each day. Thanks to Parents magazine for all these suggestions!

Rainbow Lunch


This meal was served in the first week of school when the weather still felt like summer, so napkins with red lobsters felt right on point. The kids munched on:

  • Red bean chili
  • Red strawberry fruit leather
  • Red strawberries
  • Red bell pepper strips

Red Lunch


We saved this one early fall and closer to Halloween! Slip in a Halloween-themed napkin and serve up:

  • Orange grilled cheese sandwiches (with plant-based cheddar slices)
  • Orange dried mango slices
  • Orange non-dairy cheddar crackers
  • Orange cherry tomatoes

Orange Lunch


For a sunshine-y week in mid-September, we had sunflower-themed napkins and dined on:

  • Yellow vegan mac ‘n’ cheese
  • Yellow pineapple cubes
  • Yellow baby carrots
  • Yellow vegan cheddar popcorn

Yellow Lunch (1)


Friends just might be green with envy when your kid pops open a lunch of green goodies including:

  • Green leaf lettuce wraps with hummus and chick’n strips
  • Green grapes
  • Green kale chips
  • Green cucumber slices

Green lunch


We did a combo of the rainbow’s final hues, and the kids enjoyed:

  • Purple pumpernickel sunflower butter & jelly sandwiches (with blueberry jelly)
  • Blue corn tortilla chips
  • Purple carrots
  • Purple plums

purple lunch


Sandwich Roll-Ups

Sandwich Roll Up (4)

One of the biggest changes for Veronika this fall is that she now eats lunch at school. We love these rolled sandwiches for two reasons. A) kids can help put them together, which lets them take ownership of packed lunches and B) they’re just the right size for small hands!

To start, trim the crusts from whole wheat bread, then use a rolling pin to flatten out and stretch each piece slightly. Veronika loves this part!

Sandwich Roll Up (1)

Next, spread the bread with a sticky spread of choice. We tried both lemon hummus and vegan cream cheese, both of which were declared yummy.

Sandwich Roll Up (2)

Top with your filling of choice. We made a veggie version with shredded carrots and chopped baby spinach on the first day…

Sandwich Roll Up (3)

…and filled them with tofurkey, vegan cheese, and olives on the second.


Thanks to Veronika’s latest issue of High Five magazine for suggestion this perfect lunch treat.

Tofurky Cream Cheese Roll-Ups

Turkey Cheese Roll-Ups (1)

These wraps are perfect for school lunches: veggies, protein, and bread all wrapped up in one delicious bite.


  • 4 spinach (or sun-dried tomato) tortillas
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy veggie cream cheese (such as Kite Hill)
  • 1 package vegan turkey deli slices
  • Thinly sliced cucumber
  • Shredded carrots
  1. Spread each of the tortillas with 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese. Divide the turkey slices evenly among the tortillas, then top with cucumber and carrots to taste.
  2. Wrap up tightly and slice each tortilla into thirds for perfectly kid-sized handheld portions.

Turkey Cheese Roll-Ups (2)

Roasted Sweet Potato Pita

Sweet Potato Pita (2)

This warm pita pocket is a super-easy lunch to throw together thanks to this hack: a package of frozen sweet potato fries instead of cooking them from scratch!


  • 1 pita bread
  • 2 tablespoons hummus
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato fries
  • 1/4 cup lettuce
  1. Split the pita in half and spread the inside of each half with 1 tablespoon hummus.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the sweet potato fries according to package directions. Divide the fries and lettuce evenly among the pita halves.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Chick’n Nacho Box

Chicken Nacho Box (5)

This is a fun bento box-style lunch to put together for kids. The homemade chips are fun, but you can skip that step and use store-bought tortilla chips to save time.

Chicken Nacho Box (4)


  • 6-inch corn tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (9-ounce) package Gardein chick’n strips
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 cup frozen yellow corn, thawed
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • Shredded non-dairy cheddar
  • Store-bought salsa
  • Store-bought guacamole
  1. To prepare the chips, use a 3-inch cookie cutter to make circles from the tortillas until you have the desired amount of chips.
  2. Turn a mini muffin tin upside down and coat with cooking spray. Nestle each tortilla circle in the space between muffin cups, to form tiny bowl shapes. Coat with cooking spray and bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Meanwhile cook the chick’n according to package directions. Chop and set aside.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lime juice, chili powder, and cumin. Add the chick’n, corn, and cilantro, stirring to coat.
  5. To serve, place the chick’n mixture alongside the tortilla chip cups with your favorite vegan cheddar, salsa, and guac on the side!

Chicken Nacho Box (6)

Butterfly Pasta Salad

Butterfly Pasta Salad (1)

Butterfly-shaped farfalle pasta add a whimsical touch to this easy lunch. With my son home from in-person school by lunchtime now, we’ll be making lots of new midday recipes in the weeks to come!


  • 8 ounces farfalle pasta
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1/2 cup vegan Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Combine the pasta and water in a large skillet. Bring to a boil; continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Add the mixed vegetables, Parmesan, and olive oil, stirring to combine. Let cool before serving.

Pita Faces

Eggy Faces (3)

Even young chefs will dig putting this lunch together because they can do the slicing all by themselves. The secret? Don’t hand them a knife, but a piece of dental floss instead! Make sure you’re using unwaxed and unflavored floss for this activity, or you might wind up with a mint-flavored sandwich.

First, I showed Travis how he could slice easily through a few items, if he held the string of dental floss taut enough. It slid easily through tofu…

Eggy Faces (1)

…and a wheel of Miyoko’s soft cheese!

Eggy Faces (2)

Once he had slices, I let him decide how he was going to decorate a face for lunch. We toasted a pita, then added the following:

  • circles of the cheese for eyes
  • an avocado smile
  • a cucumber slice for a nose
  • celery for eyebrows
  • shredded carrots for hair

If your family eats eggs, the dental floss trick will work on those, too, and those would make fun eyes on the pita. What else goes on your Pita Face? Please share in the comments!

Under the Sea Lunch

Under the Sea Lunch (3)

Travis has been learning a lot about the ocean recently, both the creatures that live deep down, and the ways that humans can explore under the water. So it felt only appropriate to continue the fun with our food!

For a “fish” sandwich, trim a pita or similar flatbread by making two triangle cut-outs on one side. Now your fish has a tail.

Under the Sea Lunch (1)

You can use just about anything for the filling! We filled one “fish” with tofu salad and another with cheese slices.

Under the Sea Lunch (2)

Add raisins for eyes.

On the side, I served a little ocean floor scene. Almond butter (or peanut butter) was the sand, lightly-steamed celery sticks become waving seaweed, and we added a few vegan Swedish fish to populate our ocean.

Under the Sea Lunch (5)

You could even add homemade goldfish crackers for the fish! I’m happy to report that lunch went swimmingly.

Under the Sea Lunch (6)


Ricotta-Pea Lasagna Rolls

Pea Lasagna

These roll-ups are a cinch to throw together on a busy night, and also tuck easily into a bento box for lunch.


  • Lasagna noodles
  • Frozen peas
  • Kite Hill ricotta cheese
  1. Cook the lasagna noodles in boiling water for 10 to 12 minutes, until tender. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the peas and mash with a fork to desired consistency.
  3. Spread each lasagna noodle with a thin layer of the Kite Hill ricotta, and add a layer of peas. Roll up tightly to serve.