Back to School: Allergy-free Lunch ideas and Snacks

bigstock-Young-Girl-Holding-Packed-Lunc-4135653Getting kids ready for back to school can be very stressful, but if your child has food allergies or your school has nut restrictions, it can be even harder.  Here are some lunch  ideas that exclude the most common food allergens (dairy, gluten, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and corn).

Allergy Free Lunch Ideas

  • Homemade chili
  • Veggies sticks and humus
  • Gluten-free Crackers and tuna
  • Homemade soups in thermos
  • Brown Rice pasta with homemade sauce
  • Hot oatmeal with bananas and cinnamon (in thermos)

Best Allergy-free snacks? Made from Scratch

When you have eating restrictions, it often means that you pay more for your food, or you get creative and make things at home.  You will notice that many of my ideas are homemade.  Most of these items you can make ahead in large batches and freeze such as soups, chili, cookies, muffins.  It may seem like more work, but it can be a fun activity with the kids on a Sunday afternoon.  Plus your homemade recipe will always taste better than the “boxed” alternative.

Here is a delicious, healthy and allergy-free recipe that you can make ahead and then send to school in a thermos. The beauty of using red lentils is that they disappear into the soup, so even the picky eaters will like them.  You can also try pureeing half of the mixture for a creamier textured soup.

Allergy-free Healthy Lentil Soup

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups of gluten-free chicken broth
1 cup potatoes or sweet potatoes, chopped
1 cup baby carrots, chopped
1 onion
1 tbsp  Italian mix dried herbs
½ cup red lentils
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions, garlic, herbs, celery and red pepper and sauté for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add 3 cups of chicken stock, and remaining ingredients.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Store in refrigerator, or freeze in containers.

More allergy-free snack ideas

  • Homemade gluten-free cookies
  • Apple sauce (in individual serving cups)
  • Bananas, grapes, oranges
  • Apple and pear slices (with lemon juice to keep from browning)
  • Gluten-free or allergy-free granola bars
  • Fruit bars (such as Larabars)  (some contain nuts)
  • Soy, Almond or coconut yogurt (depending on the allergies)
  • Homemade granola or trial mix (using dried fruits, oats, rice crisps coconut)
  • 100% fruit juice boxes
  • Chopped watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew melon
  • Homemade gluten-free banana, zucchini or carrot muffins (make ahead and freeze)

Making changes to your family’s diet can seem like more work.  But think of the long-term benefits.  You are thinking about the ingredients that go into your recipes, so you will naturally gravitate to a healthier diet and lifestyle.  Remember that little extra work, will lead to a healthier family, and that is something to feel good about.

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Share your favourite lunch recipes with us! We love getting feedback. And here on this site, you’ll get commentluv so don’t forget to leave a link back to your own blog if you have one.

Until next time,

Stephanie

 

 

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