Lunchtime can be hard for both the parent and a child when a school is requesting food to be nut free. While my child has to live nut free every day and it’s a little easier for me to come up with ideas, other parents of children with no food allergies can often find themselves frustrated and stumped on what to send in their child’s lunchbox.
First, let me say one thing. Thank You.
I know it’s hard to pack a nut free lunch for a child who loves to eat peanut butter and jelly. It’s hard for parents who have children with nut allergies to come up with nut free lunches, not just at school but at home and at every single meal. Peanut allergies are life threatening and we appreciate the care that you help take to keep all children safe at school.
This is Andrew, my peanut and tree nut allergy child. He started his first day of school yesterday and his number one fear, was not meeting new kids or the teacher, it was “Will someone bring peanuts to school and make me go to the hospital?” This is heart breaking as a parent. It’s hard on both ends when it comes to requesting a school to be nut free.
Andrew just went off to his second day at school, so the school lunch thing is fairly new to me too. It makes things even harder when you don’t have a microwave or oven to help prepare the lunch.
Though this is a new territory for me, having a child with a nut allergy in school, I wanted to share some of the ideas that we have come up with to send in his lunchbox.
If you have ideas of your own, please leave a comment below! My goal with this post is to help as many parents as possible with preparing nut free lunches for the picky child.
Nut-Free Lunch Ideas:
- Hotdogs – cook them in the morning and put it into a thermos. They will stay nice and warm until lunch time
- Lunchables – Most of these are safe, with the exception of ones with candy like Reese’s
- Spaghetti O’s – Just this morning, I heated the Spaghetti O’s up and put them into a thermos.
- Mac N Cheese – Same thing, cook it in the morning or heat up some left overs and put it into a thermos
- SunButter and SoyButter – Both of these are great alternatives to peanut butter.
- Sandwich Wraps – These are great and my child loves them! Meat and Cheese sandwiches, lettuce, red pepper.. whatever your child loves
- Pepperoni – Some days we do a big variety at lunch, pepperoni’s, cheese sticks, yogurt, carrot sticks with ranch, grapes, strawberries, raisins.
- Spaghetti – Same as the Spaghetti O’s – cook it the night before, warm it up in the morning and put it into a thermos
- Bagels – Bagels with cream cheese or even jelly, make a bagel into a sandwich with meat and cheese
- Cottage Cheese – This may or may not be on a picky kid’s wish list. Some days Andrew will eat and some he will not. Mix fruit into the cottage cheese and you will have a nice protein packed lunch.
- Bacon – My kids LOVE turkey bacon
- Chicken Nuggets – I haven’t tried this yet. But I would think that you could prepare chicken nuggets and send them in a thermos.
Nut Free Lunch Sides:
- Fruits – Apples, Bananas, Oranges, Watermelon, Strawberries
- Vegetables – Carrot Sticks, Cucumbers, Red Peppers
- String Cheese
- Baybel Cheese Wedges
- Nutri Grain Bars
- Animal Crackers
- Quaker School Days Granola Bars
- Raisins – Plain only – Yogurt Covered Raisins are mostly manufactured in a plant with nuts
Nut Free Dessert Ideas:
- Hershey Kisses
- Tootsie Rolls
In yesterdays lunch, I sent cut up deli meat, cheddar cheese slices, applesauce, grapes and raisins. Today we sent a thermos of Spaghetti, grapes, package of oreo bites. Andrew is loving school lunches!
While this is a guide to help you with nut-free lunch ideas, please always check the labels when purchasing food for your children. What is safe today, might not always be safe tomorrow.