If the school bus hasn’t already started making its rounds through your neighborhood, it will soon. It’s time to dust off the lunchboxes and make a game plan of what portable, allergy-friendly meals you’re going to fill them with this year. Let’s face it, finding lunch-box ready meals your kids want to eat can be challenging enough. Finding meals that are also allergy-friendly is daunting. Finding meals that are safe and also easy to pull together because your jam-packed schedule demands convenient, fast options can feel downright intimidating. I hear you, and I think some of these ideas might help.
Bread can be a challenge for many different allergies, wheat being the most obvious. Finding a safe bread that’s also not a cross-contamination risk or outright contains milk, nuts, and other allergens can also be daunting. Skip the hassle by using fruits and veggies as a sandwich foundation.
- Soak apple slices in apple juice and then pat dry. This will help prevent browning. Layer your favorite allergy-friendly sandwich fixings between two slices. You’ve got options no matter what foods you’re avoiding.
- Peel and cut a cucumber in half down it’s length. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and hollow out the center. Now fill it with your favorite fixings like tuna salad, chicken salad, lunch meats, etc.
Let’s face it, we live in a world that thinks PBJs are a childhood staple. Clearly, that’s not working for a peanut-allergic child. There are options however. Check your local store aisles for soy butter, sunflower butter, and even pea butter. These alternatives taste and look similar to peanut butter. You’ll find plenty of different opinions about which alternative is best. It really comes down to your personal preference, as well as your list of allergens to avoid. Try a few out and see what your family prefers.
Invest in a good container designed to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. As you’re making your first cup of coffee, bring a cup of water to a boil and pour it in the container. This will heat up the inside and help prolong the warm temps of the food you’re sending in for the day. Alternatively, fill it with ice water to super-charge its cooling power. When you’re ready to fill the container with lunch, pour out the water and pat dry. This is a great way to send in everything from soups to last night’s leftovers. The meal’s temp will stay “just right” long enough for your child to enjoy their lunch.
When you’re allergic to egg, mayo is a no-go. What do you use instead? While there are egg-free mayo alternatives, you can also use smashed avocado or hummus as a flavorful choice. Test-drive it at a home and experiment with sandwich combos to find your family’s favorites.
These ideas should get your creative cooking juices flowing. If you’ve got an old favorite go-to meal you want to make allergy friendly, stop by our Allery Ninja Recipe Make-over page and request a hand. I’d also love to hear some of your lunch ideas. Drop by our Facebook group and join the conversation!