A couple of months before school started, my sister who owns Rocq Macarons gave me a 25-pound box of almond flour as part of my birthday present. Since her macaroons are made with almond flour, she orders thousands of pounds at the time, and gets a much better price than I get at the store. It was probably one of the best presents I have gotten, something that I would use and enjoy for months and months and that would also save me tons of money. Fast forward to a the middle of August, my oldest daughter Lilah was about to start kindergarten and I begun preparing for school: I made and froze 8 pounds of almond crusted chicken nuggets, several loaves of grain-free almond flour bread, 4 batches of paleo crispy waffles, a few batches of banana-nut muffins and several other make ahead, freezable school snacks. I really put that almond flour to good use! I felt accomplished, prepared and ready for school to start…
Not so much! The very next day I found out that the school we had chosen to send our daughter, had just agreed to become a nut-free facility due to a high enrollment of children with anaphylactic-nut allergies… Back to square one!
At first I was very annoyed and inconvenienced by this, but I followed the rules anyway. Then I found out about a little girl at school going into an anaphylactic shock because some parents were not complying with the rule. Nut allergies are serious, life threatening and they affect a lot of people. I am now 100% in support of their nut-free policy. I am glad that the school is taking extra measurements to protect their children. It’s been a little difficult to abstain from our beloved nuts, but it has forced me to come up with new recipes.
It’s been a learning process, so I decided to take daily pictures of Lilah’s lunch box and share them with you, to help give you some paleo nut-free school lunch ideas. This is a progressive post, as the school year goes by I will be adding more lunches to the list. If you have any other ideas please share them with us in the comments. I would love more suggestions.
As for the giant box of almond flour; it now hibernates happily at the bottom of my deep freezer, waiting for winter, spring and summer break to come back to life.
- School lunches don’t need to always be very elaborate, sometimes I have extra time to make a grain-free wrap that morning, or make a chicken salad with a homemade mayo , but sometimes I just pack leftover dinner or breakfast in her thermos, a piece of fruit a vegetable and maybe a bar or something pre-packaged but healthy.
- Although I avoid processed foods altogether, I make a few exceptions for healthy already-made packaged snacks that contain very few ingredients and that are made with only with things you would commonly find in my kitchen. I used those for days when I am pressed for time. Some of these include:
- Chia pods (I buy them from Costco and contain only chia seeds, fruit, coconut sugar and coconut milk)
- Plantain chips
- Paleo Wraps
- Mineral Crisps
- Coconut and apple bars or fruit bars from Trader Joe’s
- Enjoy Life Nut-Free Trail Mix
- Go Raw cookies and cracker
- Unsweetened sunflower butter
- Organic Nitrate-Free deli meats
- Grass-fed, nitrate-free jerky
- Coconut chips. I buy these at Costco
- Unsweetened banana chips
- Love Bean raw chocolate spread
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Pumpkin seeds in shell
- Wrawps (raw flatbread)
- Coconut oil roasted seaweed
- A good lunch box and/or containers make things easier. I usually stay away from all plastic container to prevent chemicals leaching into our food, so I bought this stainless steel insulated thermos container to pack warm dishes and a Planet Box for snacks and cold dishes. I absolutely LOVE the PlanetBox. It was a little pricey, but it is made with very sturdy stainless steel and I am sure it will last several years. I bought the one that comes with the lidded containers, the case and the ice pack. It comes with fun magnets that you can switch for a fresh new look. The thermos I bought also fits on the drink compartment of the planet box.
- Always have a good selection of fruits and veggies that you can rotate throughout the week, especially those that can be eaten without peeling or cutting: apples, carrots, persian cucumbers, snap peas, etc.
Tips To Get Your Child to Eat Healthy
- Only serve healthy choices. If you serve Mac n’ Cheese and cucumbers, most likely your kid will only eat the Mac n Cheese, but if you serve grilled chicken, broccoli and cucumbers, most likely he/she will eat a little bit of each.
- Talk to them about the importance of eating healthy and how unhealthy foods affect their body, their health, their play, their learning, etc. I like how this children’s story book addresses this concept.
- Go shopping with your child and encourage them to choose the fruits and veggies they would like to bring to school.
- Make them a part of packing lunch, reminding them that there should be at least one vegetable in their lunch box.
- Talk about the nutrients and benefits of every food inside their lunch box. I always point out a the healthiest item in her lunch tray and encourage that she eats that first.
- Kale wraps: Kale leaves stuffed with tuna salad (wild planet tuna, shredded carrots, lemon and homemade easy mayo), sliced mango, bell peppers, and homemade nut-free trail mix (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, raisins, banana chips, and a sea salt.
- Turkey wraps ( turkey slices rolled around bell pepper and avocado strips), mango, olives, and a banana.
- Homemade raw milk kefir mixed with applesauce, flax meal, and ground cinnamon, turkey and kale sandwich made on a homemade grain-free roll, pumpkin seeds, tangerine, and an apple + coconut bar.
- Leftover braised short ribs, cherry tomatoes, jujubes, sweet potato pancake, Enjoy life seed and fruit mix
- Homemade gelatin made with organic fresh-pressed grape juice and grass-fed unflavored beef gelatin, leftover chayote squash picadillo, tomatoes, snap peas, watermelon, and plantain chips.
- Pulled pork sandwich on a grain-free roll, carrot sticks, apple slices with Love Bean Chocolate spread, cherry tomatoes and an apple banana bar.
- Cheeseburger kabobs made with beef meatballs, crispy bacon slices, raw cheese, and cherry tomatoes, apple/sweet potato/carrot bake, toasted coconut chips, and cantaloup.
- Spanish tortilla made with eggs, onions and diced turnips, plums, avocado and pumpkin spice shelled pumpkin seeds. To make the pumpkin seeds I just mixed the seeds with coconut oil, coconut sugar, and pumpkin spice and I baked them until golden brown.
- Chicken burger ( chicken patty, homemade mayo, mustard, and lettuce leaves), steamed broccolini with sea salt, olive oil and lemon juice, rambutans, sautéed butternut squash with coconut oil, cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup, and homemade raw milk kefir with raw honey, chia seeds and bee pollen.
- Chicken salad cucumber cups, Paleo “granola” bar, vegetable chips, and tangerines.
- Plantain chips with garlic bacon guacamole, rolled Iberian ham, raw broccoli, and grapes.
- Raw milk homemade kefir with chia seeds and honey, raw green beans, grass-fed, nitrate-free jerky, avocado, cherry tomatoes and nut-free trail mix.
- Baba Ganoush dip, sliced organic summer sausage, carrot sticks, sliced cucumber, green beans, and a chia pod
- Zucchini noodles with bacon Bolognese sauce (leftover dinner), coconut oil roasted seaweed, homemade “granola” bar, mushrooms, and papaya.
- Homemade roast beef/ cucumber sandwich, pomegranate (read this to learn the fastest way to seed them), sliced bell peppers, taro root chips.
- Grain-free bread with duck pate, dulse, sliced persian cucumber, and longans.
- Salad made with diced chicken, chopped tomatoes, diced cucumbers, sea salt, raw apple cider vinegar and olive oil, grapes, love bean chocolate spread and sweet plantain chips.
- Banana “sushi” ( spread sunflower butter on a grain-free crepe, wrap it around a banana, slice it into sushi like pieces, and drizzle it with honey ), baba ganoush with carrot sticks, raw broccoli, and grapes.
- Roast beef wrap, made with a grain free wrap, lettuce, avocado, and homemade deli-style roast beef, a persian cucumber, sliced bell peppers, Go Raw Spirulina chips and sunflower butter.
- Do-it yourself chicken salad lettuce wraps, cherry tomatoes, and nut-free trail mix.
- Sweet potato maple pudding (recipe coming soon), sliced chicken sausage, sliced persian cucumbers and a homemade trail mix made with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, coconut chips, and banana chips.
- Meatza: made on a pre-made chicken patty with glass-jared tomato paste, Daya’s dairy-free cheese, and bacon, sliced carrots, 2-ingredient banana pancakes, sliced kiwi.
More lunches coming soon… Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to get weekly recipes and updates.
8 thoughts on “Paleo Nut-Free School Lunches”
Thank you for this wonderful resource! Can’t wait for part 2!
Not to put a further damper in your lunches, but did you check if “nut-free” includes coconut?
My son is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy, soy, and coconut. (Not enough that being around them is an issue…) But because of that I stumbled across the tidbit that for allergen labeling, coconut is considered a nut, even though it’s a fruit. Screwy. But also because of that I’ve asked two daycares we’ve attended if I could send in coconut containing food for my non-allergic child and they have both said no.
I did check their policy regarding coconut and they said it was ok
So glad to hear that!
Thanks so much for a great resource. My daughter is peanut allergic, and all the schools my kids attend, as well as where I teach, are peanut and nut free.
Thanks so much for these delicious and healthy ideas, Marie!
The sweet potato maple pudding sounds tasty, do you have a recipe to share?
Much obliged such a great amount for an extraordinary asset. My girl is shelled nut unfavorably susceptible, and every one of the schools my children visit, just as where I instruct, are nut and nut free.