Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato Pita Pockets
Now that school has started, you want to send your children off with a nutritious lunch, something they’ll enjoy that will leave them satisfied. But for kids with peanut and/or tree-nut allergies and for those in nut-free classrooms, packing a school lunch or serving a simple snack requires a bit of extra thought and planning.
With a variety of ideas and recipes such as kid-friendly Tuna Bites with Tahini-Yogurt Dipping Sauce opens in a new tab and Cauliflower and Broccoli Tots opens in a new tab, you can feed your kids nutritious delicious foods you can feel good about. Remember seeds make great nut replacements in most every recipe, so virtually no recipe is off limits. And, when choosing pre-packaged foods, be sure to read labels thoroughly as nuts can turn up where you least expect.
Cauliflower and Broccoli Tots
These ideas and recipes are simple and portable and can be enjoyed for lunch or as an after-school snack.
Avocado Lettuce and Tomato Pita Pockets opens in a new tab are simple. Add turkey or cheese, if desired.
Opt for sunflower seed butter in place of almond butter in these Sesame Noodles opens in a new tab.
Skip the walnuts and opt for roasted pumpkin seeds in this really yummy Waldorf Chicken and Pasta Salad opens in a new tab.
Pack organic string cheese (kids love these!), crackers, grapes or sliced apples and a thermos of hot Chicken and Brown Rice Soup opens in a new tab, Quinoa Vegetable Soup opens in a new tab or Simple Chicken Noodle Soup opens in a new tab.
Fill sandwiches with veggies, cream cheese, egg or hummus. Ideas include Hummus Tea Sandwiches opens in a new tab, Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches opens in a new tab and Santa Fe Vegetable Wraps opens in a new tab.
Organic corn chips (made without peanut oil), hummus or vegetarian bean dip and baby carrots makes a hearty, filling snack.
Legumes are good food any time of year. Soups and bean salads provide plant protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, plus they’re easy to prepare and pack. Keep a variety of canned beans on hand for recipes such as Lentil Chili opens in a new tab, Hearty Minestrone Soup opens in a new tab, Tangy Bean Salad with Carrots and Green Onions opens in a new tab, Easy Red Lentil Mac and Cheese opens in a new tab and Rice and Beans opens in a new tab.
Muffins are portable, can be sweet or savory, and kids really love them. Sweet muffins are delicious for a snack with seasonal fruit and a beverage. Ideas include Carrot Apple Muffins opens in a new tab, Blueberry Spelt Muffins opens in a new tab, and Amaranth Corn Muffins opens in a new tab. Savory muffins can be packed for school lunches with soup, chili or bean salads. Ideas include Macaroni and Three Cheese Lunch Muffins opens in a new tab and Savory Parmigiano Reggiano Herb Muffins opens in a new tab.
Organic yogurt, a small container of granola without nuts and some seasonal fruit makes a wonderful snack or lunch (or breakfast, for that matter)!
Try celery sticks stuffed with sunflower seed or pumpkin seed butter and topped with raisins; baby carrots and bell pepper slices with ranch dressing dip; cottage cheese with grapes or chopped pears; hard-boiled eggs or organic popcorn.
In addition, peanut and nut butter substitutes opens in a new tab such as soy nut butter, sesame tahini, sunflower seed butter and pumpkin seed butter are readily available or are easy to make at home. Use them for your favorite smoothies, sandwiches, spreads, dips and baked goods recipes. The good news is they are easily interchangeable in recipes, so go ahead with that favorite peanut butter cookie recipe using sunflower seed butter instead.
What are your ideas for school lunches and after-school snacks without nuts? Let us know.