Appetizer · Health Tips · snack

Paleo Nut-Free School Lunches

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.

 

Paleo Nut-Free School Lunches

The Basics

  • 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:
  • 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.
    How to get kids to eat their vegetables

The Lunches

  1. 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.Paleo School Lunches
  2. Turkey wraps ( turkey slices rolled around bell pepper and avocado strips), mango, olives, and a banana.
    Paleo School Lunches
  3. 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.Paleo School Lunches
  4. Leftover braised short ribs, cherry tomatoes, jujubes, sweet potato pancake, Enjoy life seed and fruit mixPaleo School Lunches
  5. 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.Paleo School Lunches
  6. Pulled pork sandwich on a grain-free roll, carrot sticks, apple slices with Love Bean Chocolate spread, cherry tomatoes and an apple banana bar.
    Paleo School Lunches
  7. Cheeseburger kabobs made with beef meatballs, crispy bacon slices, raw cheese, and cherry tomatoes, apple/sweet potato/carrot bake, toasted coconut chips, and cantaloup.Paleo School Lunches
  8. 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.Paleo School Lunches
  9. 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 pollenPaleo School Lunches
  10. Chicken salad cucumber cups, Paleo “granola” bar, vegetable chips, and tangerines.Paleo School Lunches
  11. Plantain chips with garlic bacon guacamole, rolled Iberian ham, raw broccoli, and grapes.
    Paleo School Lunches
  12.  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.Paleo School Lunches
  13.  Baba Ganoush dip, sliced organic summer sausage, carrot sticks, sliced cucumber, green beans, and a chia podPaleo School Lunches
  14.  Zucchini noodles with bacon Bolognese sauce (leftover dinner), coconut oil roasted seaweed, homemade “granola” bar, mushrooms, and papaya. Paleo School Lunches
  15.  Homemade roast beef/ cucumber sandwich, pomegranate (read this to learn the fastest way to seed them), sliced bell peppers, taro root chips.Paleo School Lunches
  16. Grain-free bread with duck pate, dulse, sliced persian cucumber, and longans.
    Paleo nut-free school lunches
  17. 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.
    Paleo nut-free school lunches
  18. 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.
    Paleo nut-free school lunches
  19. 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.
    Paleo nut-free school lunches
  20. Do-it yourself chicken salad lettuce wraps, cherry tomatoes, and nut-free trail mix.
    Paleo nut-free school lunches
  21. 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.
    Paleo nut-free school lunches
  22. 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.paleo school lunches

More lunches coming soon… Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to get weekly recipes and updates.