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