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I LOVE this - seriously feel like this one post has equipped me to send healthy, nut-free lunches to school all year!!!

A Full Month of Nut-Free Lunches

Nut allergies are no joke and both parents and schools take them very seriously. Our family is lucky not to have to deal with any of these allergies but every program the kids have been involved with from toddler group to preschool, and now kindergarten, has been a nut-free zone.

We’ve struggled in the past to come up with original and nutritious nut-free lunches the kids will actually eat. My littles can only stomach so many mayo and cheese sandwiches, no matter what ridiculous shape I try to cut them into. I’m pretty sure I could carve the entire cast of Frozen into there by now and still be met with requests for, “PB and J, please”.

With kindergarten and preschool about to start for the year, I did what I often do when faced with a parenting quandary – farmed it out to one of my contributors. (Jealous? Post your parenting issue to our facebook page and I’ll try to get you help with whatever you’re struggling with too!) After doing so, I have to say…


(I know it’s a great one when my first response after reading it is to print it out and put it somewhere safe for reference later!)

Here’s our food contributor, Natalie, with her magical formula for creating an endless amount of nut-free packed school lunches.

Struggling to come up with ideas for your child with nut allergies or your child attending a nut-free school? I’ve got you.

Here’s a mix-and-match guide to putting together nut-free lunches quickly and painlessly. (If you want the handy divided lunch boxes, get them here – they come in lots of happy colors.)

Just keep your favorite picks on your weekly grocery list, keep this list on your fridge or on your lunch idea pinterest board for reference, and you’ll be ready to go.

Step 1 – Pick a main dish.

  1. lunchmeat and cheese roll-ups
  2. oatmeal to-go bars
  3. homemade strawberry cream cheese sandwiches
  4. pancake sandwiches with cream cheese and fruit
  5. hard-boiled eggs
  6. pasta salad
  7. “faux kid sushi” sandwich rolls with guacamole and turkey
  8. quesadillas
  9. sunbutter and banana sandwich
  10. soup (in a thermos)
  11. meatballs
  12. hand-pies or empanadas
  13. lettuce or tortilla wrap
  14. egg cups/egg muffins/mini omelette
  15. macaroni and cheese
  16. bean or chickpea salad
  17. cold noodle salad
  18. shrimp and cocktail sauce (or other dipping sauce)

Step 2 – Pick two sides.

  1. carrot sticks
  2. kale chips
  3. popcorn
  4. roasted chick peas (done 4 ways)
  5. cheese cubes/cheese stick/Babybel cheese
  6. nut-free crackers (wheat or rice)
  7. cucumbers
  8. sliced bell peppers
  9. “frushi” (fruit, rice and chia seed sushi)
  10. caprese salad – tomatoes and mozzarella cubes
  11. guacamole or yummy dips for veggies
  12. edamame
  13. ants-on-a-log (celery, sunbutter and raisins)
  14. pretzels
  15. snow peas or snap peas
  16. olives

Step 3 – Pick a treat.

  1. homemade fruit & veggie gummies
  2. apples and sunbutter
  3. energy bites (peanut free – substitute sunflower seed butter and leave out slivered almonds to make nut-free)
  4. mini muffins
  5. yogurt (freeze it and it’ll double as an ice pack!)
  6. a healthy frozen smoothie
  7. berries
  8. frozen grapes
  9. chocolate-vanilla chia seed pudding
  10. apple sauce
  11. healthy homemade nutri-grain style cereal bars
  12. dark chocolate
  13. 2 ingredient fruit chews
  14. dried fruit mix
  15. nut-free granola or granola bar
  16. trans-fat free kettle chips

Step 4 – Pick a drink.

  1. water (best choice, of course!)
  2. water/juice mixture
  3. “spa water” – water with sliced fruit for flavor
  4. milk
  5. caffeine-free/herbal/kid-friendly iced tea (I like to steep Tazo Passion Tea and then chill it)

Pack it all up and you’re good to go. Extra parent points if you do it the night before!

If you need even more lunch ideas, be sure to check out:

MEGA SCHOOL LUNCH ROUNDUP – thousands of ideas to choose from!


*post contains affiliate links.



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Natalie is lover of all things edible and mom to two sweet babies under 3 years old. She shares her favorite from-scratch recipes, techniques and tips for entertaining on her blog, Oven Love.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jan August 19, 2014 at 6:33 am

Is there a quick way to print helpful posts like this in a concise manner…no adds, one key picture. Even blogs with a print button for the recipe don’t include the picture. I find myself reading on the iPad, keeping the email (which gets buried) with the hopes of spending time copying and pasting into Word at some point to print. I do have Word on the iPad but the editing stops me most of the time–well, that and the constant pop up ads that get in the way. I can’t read a post without closing pop ups about 3-4 times on top of scrolling through ads within the post. It’s so frustrating! I understand it’s a business for you and I don’t mind ads on the side, but they’ve become very invasive for your readers’ ability to actually read the posts and makes printing a resource post very difficult.


Victoria August 20, 2014 at 8:32 pm

I wanted to say thank you for sharing this! It’s very difficult and scary for parents like myself who does have a children with Severe peanut allergies to attend school or even family functions at times! We homeschool but our oldest daughter is attending a private homeschooling school once a week and the school sent out a letter with a list of meals just like the one above :) I will definitely be sharing with our classroom parents so that it can help give them some extra ideas.


Preserve August 29, 2014 at 4:59 am

I love that this post includes so many healthy options. I love to recommend these to my followers, since it’s a problem for so many people, but a lot of lunch lists seem to be high on carbs and sugar. This is a balanced, creative, and attainable (most importantly) list. Will definitely share this!


generate local September 3, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Awesome post.


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