12 easy, healthy, totally allergy-free lunchbox ideas

By Rachel O'Regan |

I Quit Sugar - Herbed Black Quinoa Muffins by Amy Chaplin
Photo by: @staraniseorganic

We know the struggle to pack a lunchbox full of healthy, delicious foods that keep till midday (and that the kids will actually want to eat) is real.

Factor in food allergies and it’s a headache waiting to happen!

But with the right guidance, it’s not impossible. The following recipes are all egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and… wait for it… even nut-free. So they should be safe for most allergies and within the guidelines of most schools. Plus, they’re all IQS-approved.

Substantial, super-filling but not sandwiches.

Gluten-free kids may feel like they’re missing out on fluffy white rolls, but these protein-rich meals will fill them up much more than a sandwich.

Teriyaki Chicken Sushi Style Rice Cakes

You can pack a few rice cakes with a small container of cooked chicken, nori circles and lettuce. They’ll love putting the “sushi” together! Note: leave out mayonnaise for dairy and egg-free kids.

rice cakes feature

Quinoa Spice Croquettes

Thanks to protein-rich quinoa, these croquettes are so filling, you’d swear they contained meat. Serve with a big old side of salad, too!


Retro Sloppy Joes

Cold mincemeat may sound strange at first but we’re certain they’ll love this hearty, messy combo. Pack a couple of spoonfuls into a container and serve with a gluten-free bun or iceberg lettuce cups.

I Quit Sugar - Your questions answered: 9 recipes for healthy school lunches

Veggie-packed snacks for lots of energy.

As the bell rings for recess, you want to know that they’ll be munching on healthy snacks (not LCM bars or Tiny Teddies). Here are some allergy-friendly and veggie-packed nibbles that are just the right size for little hands.

Herbed Black Quinoa Muffins

Vegan muffins? You heard it here first. With a good dose of sweet potato, onion and quinoa, these muffins will the healthiest baked good they’ll ever eat at school.

I Quit Sugar - Herbed Black Quinoa Muffins by Amy Chaplin

Rainbow Quinoa Nori Rolls

Everyone will want to be friends with the kid who has rainbow sushi! Swap out quinoa for rice if you don’t have it on hand, and include a tiny squeeze bottle of gluten-free soy sauce or tamari.


Zucchini Rosemary Seed Crackers

Say goodbye to crackers with white flour… and not much else. These zucchini seed crackers make a nutrient-rich snack (especially if you pair them with a container of hummus and carrot or cucumber dippers).

Zucchini Crackers

Dairy-free drinks to keep them hydrated.

A bottle of water is, of course, the best way to go. But if your kid needs a bit more encouragement to stay hydrated, here are some delicious and easy drinks recipes.

Zingy Passionfruit Shaker

This fizzer will make them feel like they’re having soft drink at school! Just don’t tell them it’s more nice than naughty.

I Quit Sugar - Zingy Passionfruit Shaker

Mixed Berry Protein Smoothie

Who wouldn’t want a bright pink drink in their lunchbox? The trick is to see how many greens you can sneak in there without them noticing.

mixed berry protein smoothie

Cacao + Coconut Smoothie

Freeze up your smoothies in a bottle or container and they’ll have a frosty treat at lunchtime (chocolate ice-cream, yum!). It also keeps food fresh! (While coconuts are not classed as “tree nuts” and therefore not banned in most schools, please avoid this recipe if you know your school has a specific policy or your child is sensitive.)  

cacao coconut smoothie

Healthy treats to make them smile.

There’s nothing happier than a kid discovering a little homemade treat in their lunchbox. These ones are free from fructose, so you can feel great about it, too.

Lemon Coconut Cookies with Chocolate Drizzle

The natural sweetness of coconut makes these healthy cookies a standout (without gluten, eggs, nuts or dairy!). You’ll want to sneak a couple away for yourself, too… (See the note above about coconuts before digging in.)

Lemon Coconut Cookies with Chocolate Drizzle

Sweet Potato Truffle Balls

They’ll never guess they’re getting another hit of veggies with this recipe!

I Quit Sugar - Sweet Potato Truffle Balls

The Best Vegan Chocolate Mousse

There’s a reason this is our most popular recipe of ALL TIME. An ingenious and creamy combo of coconut cream, cacao and chia seeds, it definitely puts those chocolate “Snack Packs” to shame. (Again, please be coconut aware!)

Best Vegan Chocolate mousse

We originally published this article in March 2016. We updated it in March 2017.

What tips do you have for parents packing an allergy-friendly lunchbox? Any handy swaps or recipes to share?

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