The Vegan and Gluten Free Lunchbox.

I am in my last year of grad school. Not sure where the time went, actually! Being that it’s my last year, I have one semester of coursework and six months of fieldwork before I enter the real world and get my first big girl job. Yikes! As scary as it kind of is, I’m really happy, proud, and excited. I’ve managed some of the biggest changes in my life in the past year (marriage, starting a vegan diet, grad school). During this time of transition, a few things have kept me sane. I’ve always been a perpetual planner. When I was a child, I would begin list-making for vacation wayyyy before it was actually time to pack. I’d plan games, clothes, books, and stuffed animals that I wanted to take. I’d revise the list when I would get new clothes or toys, and then I’d revise and revise again. Although this seems rather frenetic, it’s particularly calming to me. I like being prepared, plain and simple. So being prepared in the form of list-making has helped a lot in the past year. I also keep a planner and a dry erase calendar. Instead of planning for vacations, I plan food. I review blogs, Pinterest, and my recipe box for recipe ideas. I make a list of foods that I want to make in the week and write a grocery list based on needed items. After cooking, I freeze or package leftovers for lunch or evenings where I can’t make dinner.

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Chickpea Ratatouille, cashew pesto, & gluten free pasta; eaten for dinner and packed for lunch! 

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Vegan orange-glazed “chicken,” brown rice, & sautéed peppers and onion.

Truth be told, lunch making is a big deal to me. I rarely can rely on eating out unless I plan extensively. Being vegan is relatively easy, as is being gluten free. But being vegan and gluten free is more of a challenge. Many options are one or the other. So unless I’m highly confident in my chances of buying food I can eat without becoming ill, I pack (which occurs 98% of the time). I like foods that will keep me going when I’m sitting at a desk for eight hours. I’ve decided to compile some of my lunchbox go-to items to help your prepare, too!

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Cashew pesto. I made a double batch & froze the additional for lunch/dinner.

Pair with spinach balls, quinoa patties, or sautéed veggies.

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Avocado rolls with soy paper wrappers.

It’s really easy to make your own veggie sushi! Make for dinner and pack for lunch!

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Chickpea salad from the Oh She Glows Cookbook.

This recipe makes enough to last nearly a week of lunches! Add lemon wedges, crackers or corn tortilla.

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Salad! Top with your favorite veggies!

Other lunch favorites: 

Bean Balls and tomato sauce

Brown rice and any mix of sautéed veggies (can also pair with guacamole or hummus)

Pizza Pops (made vegan with flax egg and Daiya)

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie made in Mason jars for individual servings

Pot Pie made in glass Pyrex containers with lids for individual servings

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Lentil Burgers

Cabbage, broccoli, & cauliflower salad with vinegar dressing and sunflower seeds

Zucchini Patties

Soup! (Vegan noodle, Farmer’s Market, Sweet Potato Chili, Corn Chowder)

Snack Ideas: 

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Homemade Graham Crackers

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Homemade granola + dried coconut + dried cranberries

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Dried coconut + Trader Joe’s (vegan) semisweet chocolate chips

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Annie’s gluten free and vegan granola bars (pricey, but good- Target usually runs sales)

Other snack favorites: 

Trader Joe’s Coconut Milk Yogurt

Hummus and carrots

Mary’s Gone Crackers

Snyder’s Gluten Free Pretzels

Fruit!

Fruit Leather

Hope these ideas help you in preparing your lunchbox, too! After all, it’s good to always be prepared!

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Cheesin’.

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