Now that the school year is in full swing, parents may be feeling the need for lunch-packing inspiration!
With food allergies on everyone’s minds, many schools are going “nut-free.”
If your child is nut-allergic or not nut-allergic but attending a nut-free school, check out our tips below for packing a well-rounded and nut-free lunch!
Tip #1: Easy Substitutions
Sandwiches similar to PB&J are still an option! There are many peanut butter alternatives on the market that are safe for nut-allergic kids.
- Soy Nut Butter: Made from roasted soybeans, this substitute is a great source of protein.
- Sunflower Seed Butter: Easily spreadable and another great protein source!
- Golden Pea Butter: Made from roasted golden peas, this is harder to find in stores but available for purchase online.
Tips # 2: Think Outside the Bun
Sandwiches are classic lunch staples, but if your child is burning out on ham and cheese, try thinking outside the bun and offer non-sandwich options like cold pasta/noodle salad, cold pizza, pita and hummus, or deli meat roll ups.
Check out these blogs for inspiration:
Tip #3: Tools of the Trade
It’s easier to pack a well-rounded lunch when you have the right containers for assembly. Here are a few helpful options:
- Bento Boxes: Bento boxes or Tupperware with dividers helps keep foods separate and fresh. Also, assembling lunch in these containers means that your child only has to open ONE lid in order to enjoy multiple foods!
- Silicone Baking Cups: Separate large compartments further with flexible silicone baking cups. Use these to keep dip separate from vegetables or crackers.
- Mini Thermos: Using a thermos can expand your lunch options to include hot foods like soup, chili and pasta.
Tip #4: Keep It Simple
Lunch time at many schools is a quick affair. Many kids have only a few minutes to eat if you factor in the time it takes them to find a seat, socialize with classmates and clean up before heading to recess. Too many options in one lunchbox can be overwhelming. See Amy Reed’s blog post on the lunch-time challenges for the school-aged child.
Tip # 5: Cleaning Before Eating
If you’re worried about your child eating lunch in a school that is not nut free, I recommend speaking with the staff who monitor lunch. Wiping down the table and chairs before your child eats there can help get rid of any leftover nut residue. The area can be cleaned with a cloth and soap and water.