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Aug
16
2011

Printable List of 50+ Allergy-Friendly Lunchbox Ideas

Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Ideas

In the words of Jack White:

“Fall is here, hear the yell
Back to school, ring the bell
Brand new shoes, walking blues
Climb the fence, books and pens
I can tell that we are going to be friends
Yes I can tell that we are going to be friends.”

It is official. Our school year has begun. And I, along with so many of you, have also entered that time where, once again, we are facing those busy mornings and searching for tips and tricks to get us out of the door without all of that hectic stress.

We have high hopes and anticipations that this will be the year. The year that we are on time. The year that everyone skips happily out the door with all necessary homework, permission slips, and lunches in tow.  The year that we can give ourselves a pat on the back for our new organizational skills.

This will be that year. Right?…Right?

I have a special printable tool that just may help with one aspect of that below. But first….I have a question!

How come none of you told me that by packing lunches the night before, I would preserve an incredible amount of my sanity?

Seriously! Where on earth have I been? I honestly am not sure how it has taken me over two years of rushing around in the morning to figure this out.

I am sure most of you already knew this and are rolling your eyes at me being so slow on the uptake. But I just had to share my joy in this new-found calmness I have discovered in the mornings.

Okay. Back to the real reason for this post.

I have put together a printable list of over 50 Mix-and-Match Allergy-Friendly Lunchbox Ideas for you. It is long, but I just wanted to show you the many possibilities to keep you out of those lunch-packing ruts that we all fall in to.

So. Print out the list. Bring it to the grocery store. Stick it on the fridge. Keep a copy on hand to whip out whenever you feel like you are running low on creative juices and come up with a host of new ideas.

Note: this is an updated and modified version of my  allergy free and gluten free lunch post I did last year and from my lists in my iPhone App and iPad App.

Allergy Free Lunchbox ideas

50+ Allergy-Friendly Lunchbox Ideas

Allergen-Friendly Sandwich/Wrap Bases:

1.  Gluten-free/Allergen-friendly Sandwich Bread

2.  Grain-free bread (such as the Grain-free Sandwich Bread from Elana’s Pantry)

3.  Gluten-free Pita Bread (such as GFL Foods, Inc)

4.  Gluten-free Tortillas or Wraps (such as Sandwich Petals)

5.  Safe Crackers of choice

6.  Safe Bagels of choice (such as Udi’s)

7.  Gluten-free Whole Grain Pancakes (eliminate any sweeteners from recipe)

8.  Grain-free Allergen Safe Pancakes (eliminate sugar from recipe)

9.  Allergen Safe Grain-free OR Whole-grain Gluten Free Waffles (eliminate sugar from recipe)

Topping Options for Above Mediums:

1.  Nut Butter or Nut-free Butters (such as Sunflower-Seed Butter). Top with fruit slices or Jelly plus 1-2 tsp Ground Chia or Flax.

2.  Home-made (or store-bought) Hummus topped with cucumbers and/or shredded carrots

3.  Mashed avocados, 1/4 tsp lime juice, and shredded cheese, Dairy or Dairy-free (such as Daiya)-good on gluten free tortillas

4.  Organic Nitrate-Free lunchmeat slices (such as Applegate Farms), Avocado slices, Roasted Peppers, Dairy or Dairy-free cheese shreds or slices

5.  Organic Nitrate-Free lunchmeat slices (such as Applegate Farms), Roasted veggies and hummus in a pita

6.  Mashed beans, pinch of salt, shredded cheese topped with shredded cheese, Dairy or Dairy-free, on a tortilla

7.  Mix together: Chicken (or tuna) shredded, diced celery, diced apples, diced grapes, Organic Mayonnaise (or Egg-Free Version) to taste, squeeze of lemon juice, Salt and pepper to taste.

8.  Cucumber slices, shredded vegetables and Dairy or Vegan cream cheese on a bagel (can add smoked salmon or lunch meat for added protein)

9.  Black Bean burgers with avocado slices on a sandwich or gluten free bun (like these from Lexie’s Kitchen).

10. If not Egg-Free: Egg-Salad

11. Sandwich on a Stick – this is a fun idea from the Disney’s Family Fun Site

12. Leftover Dinner Meat (meatloaf works especially well because you can sneak in vegetables)

Other Main Dish Ideas:

1. Cooked brown rice mixed with cannellini beans, garlic salt, and shredded Dairy or Dairy-free cheese

2. Cooked brown rice or quinoa tossed with diced chicken, broccoli florets, dried cranberries, coconut oil, a splash or orange juice, salt and pepper to taste.

3. Fun shaped Pasta noodles tossed with cooked broccoli, shredded carrots, diced black olives, and 1 Tbsp vegan salad dressing

4. Gluten-Free Gnocchi or Ravioli (Conte’s makes a good option) with Marinara sauce for dipping

5. Gluten-Free Spaghetti and Meatballs

6. Meatballs and Sauce in a Thermos – send allergy-friendly bread or rolls for a Meatball Sub, if desired.

7. Mac and Cheese – Dairy based or Dairy-Free (try VegNew’s Vegan Version )

8. Homemade soups in a thermos (Here are a few ideas)

9. Meatloaf Muffins with Brown Sugar Glaze – (these are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and easily egg-free)

10. Black bean Salsa with diced chicken and avocado mixed in a container, and Gluten Free corn chips for dipping

11. Plain Gluten Free yogurt (Dairy or Non-Dairy) mixed with any fresh fruit and a small squeeze of honey

12. Pesto Sauce, Diced Chicken, and Gluten-Free Noodles (try gluten-free, dairy-free pesto sauce with recommendations on how to make it nut-free)

13. Hard-boiled eggs or Deviled Eggs, if you are not Egg-Free

14. Risotto with sautéed veggies – or turn leftovers into risotto cakes

15. Pizza on Safe Crust with Dairy or Dairy-free cheese (if able to heat items at school)

16.  Tacos: Send seasoned ground beef mixed with fillings of choice and soft tortillas

Sides and Snacks:

1. Bananas, Apples, or Celery with a small container of nut butter, sunflower seed butter, or soy butter for dipping

2. Raw vegetables (sugar snap peas, broccoli, carrots, celery, etc) with hummus or salad dressing for dipping (try pureeing vegetables into your hummus)

3. Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Marinara Sauce for dipping

4. Fresh Fruit Kebabs with Dairy or Dairy-Free yogurt for dipping

5. Fruit dipped in pumpkin pie dip: pureed pumpkin or sweet potato mixed with pumpkin pie spice and a little honey. Good with apple, pear, or banana slices

6. Roasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds

7. Smoothies in a thermos – get creative and add different fruits, greens, chia or flax seeds

8. Nuts: if not allergic and your school allows them

9. Trail mix with Dairy Free Dark Chocolate pieces for a treat (Enjoy Life Foods has great Nut-Free Trail mixes) or make own with: chopped almonds (if not Nut-Free), raisins, dates, apricots, cranberries, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, etc.

10. Dehydrated Fruit (sulfite free)

11. Store-bought OR Home-made Gluten-Free and Allergy Friendly Granola Bars

12. Home-made air-popped popcorn tossed with organic coconut oil and celtic  sea-salt

13. Safe Granola in a container with a separate thermos of Dairy or Dairy-Free milk to pour over it.

14. Cornbread muffins (pair with a turkey sandwich or turkey slices and dried cranberries, or even cranberry sauce)

Treats:

1. Homemade Rice Crispy Treats made with Organic Brown Rice Cereal

2. Muffins – experiment with different whole grains or go grain-free and also add any pureed vegetable into them (make big batches and freeze – will thaw by lunch)

3. Fruit Crumbles made with healthy ingredients (these GF, DF, EF, SF Berry Crumbles would be great in a small container)

4. Nutty Flax Bars (which are actually nut-free and really good for you)

5. Dates with Cream Cheese, Dairy or Vegan.  Sounds weird but so yummy!

6.  Home-made or store-bought allergy-friendly cookies (make big batches and freeze – will thaw by lunch)-You can scroll down this page for some different recipes

7.  A homemade brownie

8.  Sweet and Salty Pretzel Bites

9.  Safe Banana or Zucchini Bread Slices

10. Lara Bars or Vixi Bars (If your child or your school is not Nut-Free)

Try to mix and match your choices each day, throw in a note or a joke to put a smile on your child’s face, and arm yourself with some fun eco-friendly reusable lunch containers.  You really cannot go wrong with filling their lunch boxes with whole grain, plant based options, and avoiding the highly processed, nutrient void convenience foods.  Have fun with your creations and then sit back and know that you have done a major part in fostering your child’s learning potential.

And then go ahead and give yourself that pat on the back! ;)

Allergy Free Lunch box Ideas

Allergy Free App

62 Comments
  1. On August 16, 2011 Andrea said

    What an AMAZING list! Thank you so much!!! My daughter is only three, but I’m always looking for new lunch ideas for both of us, thank you for so much inspiration! I’m going to link this to my blog so more people can access your fantastic ideas.

    Thank you,
    Andrea

    • On August 16, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks so much, Andrea!! I started the list last year, when I was getting frustrated with packing the same few things all of the time. It is so much more fun to get creative! And my kids now get excited to see what crazy new things mom packs for them! ;) Thanks for linking to it, by the way!!
      Kim

  2. On August 16, 2011 Tighe said

    What a great list Kim, thanks for sharing! We suggested to Rudi’s facebook fans to come check out this list because you really thought of some awesomely creative ideas! Thanks for sharing!

    Tighe, Rudi’s Gluten-free Bakery

    • On August 17, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Tighe! Thanks so much for sharing my post! I’m so glad you like it! By the way, I just have to mention how thrilled we are that we can pick up your bread at Costco now! Great job to you guys!! ;)

  3. On August 16, 2011 Kristin said

    WOW! Thank you so much. Such great “Out of the box” ideas not only for my kids but for me everyday! Thank you Thank you Thanks you for also linking may recipe’s to it!

    • On August 17, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      HI Kristin! Thanks so much for the kind words. I had to start thinking “out of the box” because even I was getting bored with what I was packing for their lunches, and I was not even eating them! LOL Hope you find some things that you and your kiddos enjoy! ;)

  4. On August 16, 2011 Laura said

    This list is FANTASTIC! Thank you for the wonderful ideas!

    • On August 17, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      THanks Laura! I know how frustrating it is when you are dealing with food restrictions and trying to come up with creative new meals. Hopefully this list will spark even more ideas for people! ;)

  5. On August 16, 2011 Mommacitta said

    Kimmie, I was waiting for this list after you told me it was being published. I will print it out and stock up just for Michael and me. You never cease to amaze me. Love, Love, Love your enthusiasm and energy. Of course I love the picture of my two favorite boys!

  6. On August 16, 2011 Lexie said

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU … for this post. I feel so behind in planning for school and home lunches. You put a lot of work into this … and it is greatly appreciated!

    xoLexie

    • On August 17, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hey Lexie! I cannot even IMAGINE you being behind in anything. You always seem so on top of things. I predict that your kiddos lunches will be packed with the most amazing goodies! ;)
      xo
      k

  7. On August 16, 2011 glutenfreeforgood said

    Oh my gosh, this is an amazing list. Wish you had been around when my kids were growing up. Of course, you were growing up at the same time! =)

    If nothing else, I can go share this around cyber space. There are lots of moms looking for school lunch ideas right now.

    • On August 17, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Melissa, you crack me up! I have a feeling I am a bit older than your kiddos since I am creeping onto 40, you silly lady!! Thanks so much for sharing it around the web, by the way!!
      xo
      k

  8. On August 16, 2011 Maggie said

    Wow! This is such a great resource Kim! Amazing actually. I’m glad I’m getting the “pack the lunches the night before” tip as Callum starts school! Your boys are so adorably cute!

    • On August 17, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hey Maggie!! I cannot even believe I never thought to pack the lunches at night. My Mom did it the entire time I was growing up yet it still did not dawn on me. I swear that would be my biggest tip to parents who are not already doing this! I use to run around crazy in the mornings and now my mornings seem so much calmer. LOL

  9. On August 16, 2011 Megan Ancheta said

    What an awesome resource!! I shared the link on my FB page. Thanks for all of the hard work that went into this post!
    :) megan

    • On August 17, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Megan! I am so glad that you like the list. I hope you get some good ideas out of it. And I really appreciate you sharing it on your Facebook page! THanks so much! ;)

  10. On August 17, 2011 Carol, SGF said

    First of all those boys are soooooo cute! I miss my boys being little. Secondly, why the heck do schools start so early these days? We never went back to school until after Labor Day. Thirdly YES, packing lunches the night before will preserve you sanity (and ad early as is possible get them to start packing their own lunches) and finally GREAT LIST!

    • On August 17, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Carol, I never ever started school before Labor Day either! It totally amazes me that these kids are starting school in the middle of August when it still 100 freaking degrees! And, for the record, I am so on board with them packing their lunches as soon as they are ready (and as soon as I know that it will not be full of cookies and treats)! ;)
      xo
      k

      • On September 1, 2011 Carol, SGF said

        Yea, well you have a point about the cookies and such – I used to check the lunchboxes after they went to bed :)

  11. On August 17, 2011 Shirley @ gfe said

    Oh, how I love that photo of your boys! They are simply adorable. :-) And this listing is phenomenal. I just shared it on my gfe Facebook page. Thanks, my dear!

    xoxo,
    Shirley

  12. On August 17, 2011 Zoe said

    What a great idea, Kim! I saw those lyrics and I thought, “Huh? Isn’t that a White Stripes song?” I didn’t realize that it had been covered until I looked it up. I love that song; it’s simple and it’s a great sing-along. :)

  13. On August 17, 2011 Jeanette said

    Wow, what a list! I was just thinking about (and stressing about) what to pack for my little guy once school starts. It has been so easy over the summer, but once he has to bring food to school, I have a hard time figuring out what to give him day to day. Thank you for putting this together – and your boys are absolutely adorable!

    • On August 22, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Jeanette, I totally hear what you mean about how easy it has been during the summer. I would just give the boys leftovers or throw something quick together each day. Now it is back to having to actually come up with new ideas. LOL

  14. On August 17, 2011 AmandaonMaui said

    I’m a college student with a class away from home one night a week, and with meetings for a local non-profit every other week, so it’s great to have this list of ideas for myself as well. Another good idea, with brown rice, are onigiris. You can fill them with tuna, smoked salmon, vegetables, pickled plum (watch out for MSG), etc. You can also brush them with miso paste (fermented foods are so good for you) or tamari and then grill or pan sear them. Yum!

    • On August 22, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Amanda! The onigiris sounds amazing. So many ideas!! I am going to have to try some of your suggestions! Thanks!

  15. On August 18, 2011 Candace said

    You have provided sooo many good ideas here! Thanks so much for sharing them and thanks so much for your sweet comments on my blog, always. The cookies that I made are great for kids to help out with. Let me know how they turn out for you!

    • On August 22, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks so much, Candace! The sweet words go both ways! Always so appreciated! ;) Hope you had an awesome weekend! By the way, I made your cookies with my kids this weekend. They were such a total hit and so easy for them to do!

  16. On August 18, 2011 McMama said

    That should actually be “in the words of Jack White.” :D

    This list is awesome! My kids don’t go to school but quick and easy stuff that keeps for day trips is also very welcome. Thanks!!

    • On August 22, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      McMama, did Jack White sing that song too?? I have only heard it from Jack Johnson. LOL
      I totally use these lunch ideas for home and day trips for all of us too, so they work for everything! Thanks! ;)

  17. On August 19, 2011 Alisa Fleming said

    Awesome post Kim! Your little guys are ADORABLE. But they have adorable genes on both sides of the family, so not too surprising.

    Thanks for the mention, I was totally surprised and excited by it after reading the post!

    • On August 22, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Alisa, you did an awesome job with the book. Just wanted to make sure to remind people about it! ;) Thanks for the kudos on the post, by the way! ;)

  18. On August 19, 2011 InTolerantChef said

    I have such problems packing lunches here, the weather is in general so hot that even with ice bricks, I don’t feel very confident with sending much more than a plain sandwich. Our kiddies go back to school at the very hottest time of year, just as the temperatures hit about 35-40*c. There are some lovely ideas on this list, thanks!

    • On August 22, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      InTolerantChef, it is 105 + degrees here too for the first month of school. The poor kids are so sweaty and hot by the end of the day. Our school lets the kids put their lunches in the fridge though, so I do not worry too much about the temps. I just wish it was cooler for them. No fun to be outside playing in that heat! ;)

  19. On August 23, 2011 Diane Eblin-thewhole said

    Wow that’s a lot of ideas. You’re kids sure are lucky to have you as their mom. I’ll be stealing some of these ideas for our lunch boxes. I’ll also be linking to this great resource. Thanks!

    • On August 29, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks Diane! But, I think that if we are talking about lucky kids, yours would be at the head of that list. You are one crazy-amazing mama with all that you do for them!! Big hugs!!
      xo
      k

  20. On August 26, 2011 Melanie said

    I love these ideas Kim! We don’t have kids so I’ll be using some of these techniques on my husband :)

    • On August 29, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks so much, Melanie! I use these ideas on me and on my hubby all of the time as well. Otherwise, I find myself falling into the same lunch ruts over and over again!

  21. On August 29, 2011 Pat @ Elegantly, Glu said

    I love this, I love this, I love this! Thank you for putting these ideas together…where we could see them, too.

    • On August 29, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Pat! IT helps me too, to have them written down and in one place. Otherwise I forget about them and do not remember to switch things up. I keep a copy of this on my fridge and will add to it, by hand, new ideas. Maybe next year I will have this list up to 100+ when I post it. LOL ;)

  22. On August 29, 2011 EA-The Spicy RD said

    Great list! I just did a post on my kids favorite back-to-school lunch ideas and easy breakfast favorites that are gluten-free. Love all your ideas as well!

  23. On September 17, 2011 The Healthy Apple said

    Fabulous ideas! Love this post and so great for all the moms out there. Thank you for sharing. Will you be at the Gluten-Free Expo in Dallas next month? I’d love to meet you if you’re going.
    Have a great weekend and keep up the amazing blogging!

    • On September 18, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Amie! Thanks so much! I will not be able to be at the Expo. I have about 30 other things going on that weekend and just cannot make it happen, unfortunately! I would have loved to meet up with you! I think it is going to be an amazing line up of speakers, presenters, and vendors!!
      Have an awesome weekend!

  24. On January 13, 2012 Shannon Brown said

    This is a great list. I don’t have kids but these ideas for lunch (and even light dinners) are quite welcome. Thanks.

  25. On January 28, 2012 charmaine said

    Thank you what a great list. We are just starting school here in Western Australia and I was just looking for some new ideas for my son – he has dairy, egg, and sesame (to name some) allergies.

    Could I please reblog your article on my blogsite: http://www.intrepidallergymum.com?

    Is it okay to add a link to your site, in the sidebar of my blog?

    Many thanks

    Charmaine

  26. On February 18, 2012 Pat @ Elegantly GF said

    You have some wonderful inspiration for lunches here. Thanks!

    • On February 27, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks so much, Pat!! I have had to get totally creative over the years to prevent us all from getting bored! :)

  27. On March 16, 2012 Linda said

    Does any one know if they make a dairy and soy free yogurt? I’m allergic to everything under the sun plus have IBS, looking for something different than my ho hum diet.
    Thanks

  28. On April 14, 2013 Cyndie said

    EXCELLENT list! So many schools are going allergy-free. I included you and a link in my blog post about lunches for teachers and students. ;-)

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