5 Nut-Free Lunch Box Ideas

There is something wildly intimidating about packing your child's lunch box.  I'm not sure what it is, but trying to figure out what to fill that little insulated bag with is many parents' most dreaded task of the day. And I am right there with you.

5 Nut-Free Lunch Box Ideas

Really! Despite my frequent lunch box pictures on Instagram, trying to fill Alice's lunch box in a creatively delicious way is something exhausting. There have been many times I have found myself staring blankly at my preschooler’s empty lunch bag, just wondering what in the world to fill it with. How much food? How many fruits? How many veggies? Will she even eat it? Will it be enough to keep her satisfied until snack or dinner time?  Luckily, I know I am not the only parent who has hit a creative wall when trying to pack my child’s lunch box. As a teacher, parents often tell me how much they dread this task, simply because they have no idea what to include that will entice their child to eat healthy, yet still be lunch box friendly. Not only that, but with food allergies on the rise, many schools no longer allow nut products to be included in packed lunches for the safety of all students. So, classic PB&J is often not a lunch box option.

Are there question marks dancing in your eyes yet? Are you not sure where to start packing your child a balanced, healthy, nut-free lunch box? I thought there might be! To help you out, I’ve created 5 days worth of healthy and nut-free lunch box ideas that will get you inspired, packing without the question marks, and feeling good about what you are sending your child off to school with.

Note: These meals were packed for my 5-year-old daughter. Portions reflect what is appropriate for her age and eating habits. Please adjust portion size to meet your child’s unique needs.  

Without further ado….

   

 

 

1.  Cream cheese/apple/cinnamon "sushi" (wrapped in a gluten free tortilla), savory plantain chips, berries, cucumbers & carrots, and a pitted date.

Container from PlantBox

Lunch box "sushi" is a fun, out-of-the-box sandwich alternative that you can get pretty creative with! Spread a tortilla with any kind of spread your kiddo loves (cream cheese, sunflower seed butter, hummus (here is a bean-free recipe), chia jam) and fill it with the fruit, veggie, or protein that you want!  Its fun to look at, bite-sized, and the flavor combinations are endless!

5 Nut-Free Lunch Box Ideas

2. Plain yogurt (this was a coconut yogurt) with fruit puree & ground flax seeds, fruit salad of watermelon/cherries/blackberries, rainbow carrots slices, cucumbers, and 1/2 an avocado.

Container from ECOLunchbox

Plain yogurt (whether coconut or full-fat dairy) is loaded with protein and probiotics. I sweeten it with a little pureed fruit (here were some pureed prunes) or chia jam. The sprinkle of ground flaxseeds gives the meal a nice boost in Omega-3. The avocado also stays nice and green until lunch time in a snug-fitting, air-tight container! You can also help prevent the avocado from oxidizing by rubbing the green flesh with a little olive oil or lemon juice!

 

5 Nut-Free Lunch Box Ideas

3. Overnight oats with blueberries, grass-fed cheese & cherry tomatoes, peaches & raspberries, carrots & cucumbers

Container from PlantBox

Breakfast for lunch! All bets are off when it comes to keeping healthy lunch boxes fun and interesting! Overnight oats are a great way to pack something "out of the lunch box". With so many amazing overnight oat recipes out there, find a nut-free one that is filled with someone your children's favorite flavors! Whip it up the night before to make getting lunch boxes together in the morning that much easier. 

5 Nut-Free Lunch Box Ideas

4. Bagel Pizza (this was a gluten free bagel), leftover chicken sausage, berries, veggie sticks.

Container from ECOLunchbox

Cold pizza is yummy at any age! I made this bagel pizza in a jiff by spreading some homemade tomato sauce and sprinkling it with a little grass-fed cheese. I popped it into the oven at 350F and let it hang out in there until the cheese melted (about 5-7 minutes). 

5 Nut-Free Lunch Box Ideas

5. Flax crackers, leftover slow cooker chicken, small apple, carrot/spinach salad, smooth chocolate chia pudding

Container from ECOLunchbox

We call this a "snack lunch", lots of little things for my daughter to graze on. She loves the choices and I love that it can use up the little odds and ends we have leftovers of! There is no rhyme or reason to snack lunches, just pack little bits of things your kiddo will love and that will fuel their day! I love to use silicone cupcake liners as dividers for the different foods.

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