Many schools these days have adopted nut-free policies–either the school is nut-free entirely, or you might find your child in a nut-free classroom. We are fortunate in our familythat we don’t have any food allergies, but we sympathize with those families who do. We care very much about respecting nut-free policies to protect other kiddos, but at first blush it does seem like it could make packing lunch more difficult.
Now that we’ve been at it for a while, we have found tons of nut-free lunch favorites that are just as easy as the classic PB&J. Here are a few great sandwich spread alternatives and ahomemade trail mix guide that will make packing a nut-free lunch super easy:
- Sunbutter. This yummy spread is made from sunflower seeds. It is free from the top eight allergens and has as much protein per serving as peanut butter. We use it on sandwiches with honey or jam, and use it as a dip for apples.
- Cream cheese. It’s not just for breakfast anymore. This is another great sandwich spread (as long as you don’t have a dairy allergy). Not quite as much protein as peanut butter but enough to count, it is delicious paired with cucumbers, jam, or even turkey.
- Hummus. This yummy mediterranean spread made from chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), tahini, lemon and garlic is a great source of fiber, protein, and complex carbs. I’m no nutritionist, but that all sounds good to us. It’s so yummy paired with turkey or veggies like cucumber and avocado.
- Nut-free trail mix. We try to avoid sending packaged “junky” food in our lunches, but it’s nice to be able to send a variety of crunchy snacks with lunch. Trail mix or snack mixes are great lunch options, but it’s really hard to find pre-made nut-free versions. It’s super easy to mix up your own using the bulk bins at the grocery store, though! Try combining raisins or currants, unsalted pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, dried berries (blueberries or goji berries are great, just look for ones without added sugar), and nut-free granola (homemade or store-bought, again just watch for added sugar). You can also add unsalted pretzels, goldfish, or bunny crackers.
This is just a start. Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll see there are so many ways to pack up an easy and healthy nut-free lunch! You can feel good about what you send for lunch (without tearing your hair out) and also feel good about protecting other kids that suffer from foodallergies.