Your Guide to Packing Nut Free Lunches

Packing nut-free school lunches can be tricky! Let us help banish the confusion with these nut-free lunch packing tips

nut-free-lunchWhether your wee one has a nut allergy and you’re a seasoned no-nuts-allowed meal planner and this is the first time you find yourself packing a lunch for school (full day kindergarten anyone?) or you had no idea until just now that your littles’ lunches had to be nut free, we’ve got your back.

Finding nutless alternatives to your kids’ fave snacks and lunch additions might be difficult. 

With a bit of thought—and these 5 tips!—you will find that avoiding nuts doesn’t have to make you crazy…er…nuts.

1. Pack whole foods.
It’s far easier to avoid allergens when your ingredient list is one item long. There’s never a doubt about what goes into those freshly cut veggies with hummus or that unsweetened applesauce.

2. Water really can be the shizzle (isn’t that what the kids say?).
You don’t need to give kids pop or juice or even milk (or almond, rice or soy milk) to drink at lunch. Most kids already take a bottle to sip from throughout the day, why not pack a small bottle of water in their box. If they want, add berries, cucumbers, lemons or limes to it with some ice cubes. They’ll be hydrated, happy and healthy.

3. Avoid cross-contamination.
Cross-contamination happens when a food comes in contact with peanuts or peanut products. For example, if you cut your peanut butter sandwich on a cutting board, and then use the same cutting board to cut an apple for your child’s lunch. It is possible that the apple and cutting board will contain traces of peanut protein.

4. Read.
It’s not only back to reading assignments for the littles! Be sure to read the labels on any pre-packaged foods you purchase for lunches—every time you buy them. Always read labels every time you go shopping since recipes and product information may change. Stricter Canadian guidelines require that peanut-containing products are clearly labelled.  The ingredient list will say “contains: peanut” if it contains this ingredient.

5.  Teach your child about peanut allergies.
Explain some of the symptoms and what she may feel when she is experiencing a reaction to peanuts. See the Eat Right Ontario article Peanut Allergies FAQs for a list of symptoms as well as how children might describe these symptoms.

Here are 19 nut-free lunch-friendly recipes to get your lunch-packing mojo revving and raring to go:

 

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