Nut allergies are no joke and both parents and schools take them very seriously. Our family is lucky not to have to deal with any of these allergies but every program the kids have been involved with from toddler group to preschool, and now kindergarten, has been a nut-free zone.
We’ve struggled in the past to come up with original and nutritious nut-free lunches the kids will actually eat. My littles can only stomach so many mayo and cheese sandwiches, no matter what ridiculous shape I try to cut them into. I’m pretty sure I could carve the entire cast of Frozen into there by now and still be met with requests for, “PB and J, please”.
With kindergarten and preschool about to start for the year, I did what I often do when faced with a parenting quandary – farmed it out to one of my contributors.
Here’s our food contributor, Natalie, with her magical formula for creating an endless amount of nut-free packed school lunches.
Struggling to come up with ideas for your child with nut allergies or your child attending a nut-free school? I’ve got you.
Here’s a mix-and-match guide to putting together nut-free lunches quickly and painlessly. (If you want the handy divided lunch boxes, get them here – they come in lots of happy colors.)
Just keep your favorite picks on your weekly grocery list, keep this list on your fridge or on your lunch idea pinterest board for reference, and you’ll be ready to go.
Step 1 – Pick a main dish.
- lunchmeat and cheese roll-ups
- oatmeal to-go bars
- homemade strawberry cream cheese sandwiches
- pancake sandwiches with cream cheese and fruit
- hard-boiled eggs
- pasta salad
- “faux kid sushi” sandwich rolls with guacamole and turkey
- sunbutter and banana sandwich
- soup (in a thermos)
- hand-pies or empanadas
- lettuce or tortilla wrap
- egg cups/egg muffins/mini omelette
- macaroni and cheese
- bean or chickpea salad
- cold noodle salad
- shrimp and cocktail sauce (or other dipping sauce)
Step 2 – Pick two sides.
- carrot sticks
- kale chips
- roasted chick peas (done 4 ways)
- cheese cubes/cheese stick/Babybel cheese
- nut-free crackers (wheat or rice)
- sliced bell peppers
- “frushi” (fruit, rice and chia seed sushi)
- caprese salad – tomatoes and mozzarella cubes
- guacamole or yummy dips for veggies
- ants-on-a-log (celery, sunbutter and raisins)
- snow peas or snap peas
Step 3 – Pick a treat.
- homemade fruit & veggie gummies
- apples and sunbutter
- energy bites (peanut free – substitute sunflower seed butter and leave out slivered almonds to make nut-free)
- mini muffins
- yogurt (freeze it and it’ll double as an ice pack!)
- a healthy frozen smoothie
- frozen grapes
- chocolate-vanilla chia seed pudding
- apple sauce
- healthy homemade nutri-grain style cereal bars
- dark chocolate
- 2 ingredient fruit chews
- dried fruit mix
- nut-free granola or granola bar
- trans-fat free kettle chips
Step 4 – Pick a drink.
- water (best choice, of course!)
- water/juice mixture
- “spa water” – water with sliced fruit for flavor
- caffeine-free/herbal/kid-friendly iced tea (I like to steep Tazo Passion Tea and then chill it)
Pack it all up and you’re good to go. Extra parent points if you do it the night before!
If you need even more lunch ideas, be sure to check out:
MEGA SCHOOL LUNCH ROUNDUP – thousands of ideas to choose from!
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