Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Kids Peanut Free Lunch Ideas

There is a strange cloud hanging over my house...and I can see a few more grey clouds over some neighbour's houses too. Yet, the weather man is promising sun shine today... is he wrong again?? No... it's just the kids counting down the last days of summer and freedom before school starts.

Of course, my 7-year old daughter is also looking forward to seeing her friends and nervously excited about who her teacher will be and whether she and her best friend will be in the same class again. And my 5-year son is just beginning kindergarten this year so he is also excited but apprehensive about starting "real" school in a few days. New to our area is full-day kindergarten. Until this year, 5 year olds only attended school for half a day. This means both children need a packed lunch and recess snacks...5 x a week (thus my grey cloud:)!

Coming up with a variety of lunches that they will actually eat and are healthy can be difficult! On top of that, I keep their lunches peanut free (even though they are thankfully allergy-free) because of the prevalence of this allergy which limits many products and "go-to" lunches like PB and J! Of course, the inconvenience is worth it given the alternative of causing an accidental, life-threatening allergy reaction in another child!

I'd thought I'd share my list of ideas just in case anyone else is dreading the "what's for lunch" question. Of course, read every package to ensure it does not contain or come into contact with peanuts.

Peanut free lunch and snack ideas: 
  • carrot and cream cheese sandwich or wrap
  • cucumber and cream cheese sandwich or wrap
  • cold homemade pizza (cheese or vegetarian are healthy options)
  • BBQ chicken salad
  • pasta salad
  • celery stuffed with cream cheese or humous
  • crackers and cheese
  • yogourt and fruit parfait
  • yogourt and breakfast cereal (packed in separate containers)
  • tuna salad
  • cream cheese and jam sandwich
  • cream cheese and strawberry sandwich
  • rice salad
  • couscous salad
  • cereal and milk
  • pita and hummous
  • nut-free granola
  • bagel and deli meat
  • cold grilled cheese
  • cheddar scones
  • homemade fruit leather - click here for recipe!
  • mac and cheese
  • hard boiled eggs
  • cold macaroni salad
  • meat ball stuffed pitas
  • leftover pancakes and waffles with a side of syrup or jam
  • baked beans
  • cottage cheese and fruit
  • meatloaf sandwich or little meatloaves baked in muffin tins
  • veggies, meat, fruit and cheese cubes packed in separate containers or a bento box
  • raw veggies and dip
  • School Snack Mix

Great substitution ideas for regular bread:
  • Bagels or rolls
  • Naan
  • English muffins
  • Bread sticks
  • Flat bread
  • Pita bread
  • Rice cakes
  • Buttermilk biscuits
  • Melba toast
  • Homemade muffins
  • Crackers
Bonus idea: To keep food cold, use an ice pack, frozen juice box or frozen yogurt tube in an insulated lunch bag. Use frozen bread for sandwiches (they will thaw by lunch time).
And remember there are other names for peanuts:

  • Arachide
  • Ground nuts
  • Arachis oil
  • Kernels
  • Beer nuts
  • Mandelonas, Nu-Nuts
  • Cacahou├Ęte/cacahouette/cacahu├Ęte
  • Nut meats
  • Goober nuts, goober peas
  • Valencias



  1. This is such a great post. My friend has a girl who is allergic to peanuts. Will forward her this! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love those sandwiches...such a pretty stack! :)

  3. These are all great ideas! Luckily my son is NOT allergic to nuts, but his daycare is nut-free because they do have so many kids who are allergic. And my nephew has severe nut allergies so when he comes over to play I need to make sure and provide a healthy, yummy snack/lunch that he'll actually eat!

  4. My son is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. I really appreciate your effort to make nut-free lunches to safeguard other children! God bless you!

  5. Bless you for taking thee precautions even though your children do not have allergies. It brings tears to my eyes. My son has a peanut allergy. It's so refreshing to hear your take on this. Thank you. Pinning!!