Packing a lunch your kids want to eat is tricky enough without having to consider food allergies in the process. An average of two children per classroom have food allergies, so even if your student doesn’t have an allergy, they may trade or share food with one of their friends might.
Here are some tasty alternative ideas for allergy-free school lunches that look just like the traditional offerings:
Allergy-friendly school lunch ideas
- Sun or Almond Butter Sandwich— Kids suffering from peanut allergies shouldn’t have to go without the joy of PB&J: Substitute Sun Butter or Almond Butter to create a sandwich that looks and tastes just like PB&J – your child’s friends won’t even notice the difference.
- Gluten Free pretzels— These crunchy, salty snacks look just like regular pretzels and make a great side for any box lunch.
- Blue Corn Tortilla Chips — Are a wonderful addition to a gluten free lunch and kids love the color.
- Corn Tortilla Wraps — Transform a traditional turkey sandwich into fun pinwheels. Add turkey, cheese and lettuce to a corn tortilla, roll it like a taquito and slice.
- Grapes or Blueberries are child-friendly alternatives to strawberries. (Just make sure you slice grapes for younger children.)
- Soy or Almond milk can easily be substituted in the event you’re dealing with a milk allergy.
- Lactose-Free Cream Cheese can be used in place of traditional cheese.
Tips to manage food allergies in the classroom
- Label your food with both the child’s name and any potential allergies
- Designate separate shelves to store lunch boxes to avoid cross-contamination.
- Use special cups and plates to avoid contamination. Consider distinguishing between cups and plates by using different colors or shapes.
- Wash hands regularly, especially before eating. Consider sending hand wipes to school to make pre-lunch cleaning a breeze.
Food allergies can be treated using food allergy drops which will build a patient’s tolerance to a food allergy so that any exposure should only cause mild to no reaction.
If you or someone else is suffering from a severe reaction to a food allergy, use an Epinephrine pen and immediately call 911 or get to the nearest urgent care clinic.