Back-to-School Lunch Help – Nut Allergy Friendly Ideas

Tomorrow will be exciting but it will also be tough.  Tough to wake up and get it all done in time for school.  Luckily here are some quick and allergy friendly ideas from PositiveHealthWellness to get you and your kids excited to make lunch tomorrow and all the school days ahead.  Click the link at the bottom for a slide show of some great lunch options that are nut free.

10 Delicious Nut Allergy Friendly Recipes For Your Child’s Lunchbox


Finding child-friendly recipes for lunch that are exciting, delicious and nutritious can be difficult. But what if you throw a nut allergy into the equation? It can make it so much harder since nuts have always been considered the go-to for something quick and easy.

Don’t panic. You can put together the perfect menu for your child’s lunchbox. Their friends will be jealous, and you’ll have the mums and dads at school wondering what you do differently and asking you for your secrets.

All you need is a few recipe ideas to get you started. Here are 10 delicious recipes that are nut allergy friendly to try today. Many of these you can make with the kids and encourage them to try something new.


Empower Your Kids and Free Yourself of School Lunch Packing


Are you looking forward to summer because you can take time off from making your kids’ school lunches?  I have heard this complaint from quite a few moms.  Now that I got my kids to make their own lunches I’m not worried about the frantic morning lunch rush.   Ok there is a rush…but it’s not me scrambling.  My kids have made lunches in the past but somehow it always comes back on my shoulders when we’re in a hurry and my kids are enjoying a leisurely breakfast.  I love that my kids have breakfast with Dad every morning while I’m in the shower.  However is doesn’t need to go on for 40 minutes!


I turned the tables on my kids a few weeks ago and told them they needed to scale back their breakfast time and were now officially in charge of their lunches.  This was met at first with groans.  However when I told them about their new power and freedom in packing what they want they got excited with questions.

First was my daughter.  “We can pack whatever we want?!”

“Well within reason”, I said.  “I am going to check the lunches before you put them in your backpack”.

My son then requested,  “Can I put in a dessert?”

“Depends on the size and type of dessert”.  Thinking an ice cream sundae doesn’t really pack in a stainless lunch box.


I did have to confiscate a chocolate egg the size of a real egg from lunch day number one.  My kids were laughing when I found it.  Of course I expected some testing and trickery.  (I forgot about the neighbors bringing Easter chocolate)  But my son was happy when I suggested he could have a small mini chocolate egg.  “See.  If you don’t push it and put treats and sugar in every time, you can do this yourself and I won’t even have to check.  You know what gives you good energy to play P.E. and get your through the day.”  Yes, that was a bit of my usual healthy food reminder, but they get it.  That reminds me if you don’t have junk in the house, they can’t pack it.


So now it’s been a month and with the exception of Dad being out of town and the kids and I oversleeping, I haven’t had to help with the lunches.  I do have to set a timer so they get up from the breakfast table and sometimes I help clean up as we’re hurrying out the door.  The clean up part is always the bummer.  It’s the reason why sometimes I don’t feel like cooking.  It’s not the cooking but the mess and cleaning that inevitably comes after.


My kids have gotten very creative and sometimes even competitive about who’s packed a better lunch and now ask for specific things for me to buy for them to pack.  My daughter has discovered all the various burritos she can make with veggies and beans and left-overs.  They both now like pickles on sandwiches.  Flat bread pizza is easy if you toast it while gathering the rest of your lunch items.  My son now makes his wrap with less turkey and more hummus so it’s not too thick, like “mom used to make”.  And they both now cut carrots into “coin” shapes.


I hope we can keep this up until the end of the school year and then for camps and summer outings.  I’ll just look forward to sleeping in a bit this summer.


Here’s 6 tips for getting your kids to pack their own lunches:

  • Set expectations and timers so they have enough time to get the packing done.
  • Stock the pantry with things they like so they’re excited to make and eat their lunch.
  • Store all the lunch containers in one location, and within their reach, so they can find things easily.
  • Give them some variety and flexibility.  Make cookies or muffins on the weekend so they can pack for their lunches.  Make a dip they can pack with their veggies.  They may need some help with suggestions.
  • Show them which food prep items are appropriate for them  (knives, cutting boards) and show them how to use them with caution.
  • Praise their efforts and tell them how great their lunch looks.  You may have to take foodie photos too.





Start Packing – Kids Konserve Sale and Give Away is On

I can’t believe we’re less than a month away before school starts.  I’m already getting PTA notices and school plans.  I’m not ready to go back to school.  We’re all having too much fun.  Anyways…they have to go back and we have to start packing lunches again.  There’s lots of anxiety around packing lunches.  Not only about the food you’ll pack but also about what you’ll use to hold the food.  There are so many options but one clear choice I’ve had for a few years is the stainless containers from Kids Konserve.  I’m happy to say they now have see thru clear lids.  Yeah!  Since I also use these to pack up left-overs and other items at home I no longer have to guess what’s inside.  My favorites for packing kids pastas and soups are their thermos containers.  And the trio nesting containers are great for all types of veggies, fruits and snacks for on the go.


Kids Konserve has rolled back prices across the board and have a back to school sale happening now.  Use coupon GIVE AWAY 15  for 15% off through September.  You can feel good about saving the planet with less school lunch trash and also preserving your wonderful culinary creations.  Speaking of which…


Kids Konserve is teaming up with cookbook author Katie Morford of Best Lunchbox Ever to give away their  stainless steel nesting trio set  (colors vary) and Katie’s book.  If you want to enter please like both Petit Appetit and Kids Konserve on Facebook.  (Petit Appetit will request your mailing address if you are a winner and Kids Konserve will send winning items).



Send ‘Em Packing – Easy, Healthy Food/Drink Container

I was going to skip the back to school lunch packing tips. So many blogs talk about it.  And I wrote about packing a healthy and waste free lunch last year.  The surprising and interesting thing is while there are many more product offerings, my favorites remain those I tested (and still use) from last year.  And I realize while this may seem old news to some, it’s brand new for others.  So take a look at what my family has been using and liking.  The added bonus is that some are local Bay Area companies.

My kids will not be getting new lunchboxes this year, as their PlanetBoxes have
held up perfectly. They are easy to pack with appropriate compartments for
everything. The bag can be washed and new magnets can be purchased if your
PlanetBox is needing something fresh.


We also still love and are using our Kids Konserve freezer packs (fits well in
the PlanetBox pocket). I am never without one of their stainless steel
containers for snacks in my purse. They now offer more colors and sizes than
ever. Hurry to their online sale thru August.

As far as drink bottles go, we are not as satisfied with the longevity and
rotate quite a bit. My kids have just discovered the new Thermos/Threadless
stainless bottles with spouts, which are easy to open and close tightly. (I
can’t stand the leaky straw designs of some bottles). We also use EarthLust‘s
nature inspired stainless steel designs. I’m enjoying my Lifefactory 22 oz
large glass bottle and have ordered the new lunchbox ready 9 oz size for my
kids. Note: I only pack water in these. I find it is the easiest to clean, the
bottle lasts longer and healthiest for my kids and self. (If needing help with baby bottle choices for the youngest set, check out this article/review from The Babble Out.)

Finally, our organic cotton napkins by Fabkins are holding up from school
lunches, picnics, camps and home use. They continue to introduce new patterns
to make lunch fun and less messy.

So go forth and pack a healthy lunch with reusable, responsible products that are good for you, your kids and the planet. Yes, that is a lofty statement, but every little bit countsm as your child can create more than their weight in school lunch trash each year.


Send ‘Em Packing – School Lunch Bag Reviews (with Organic Turkey Roll-up Recipe For Kids)

From Lisa Barnes

It’s almost time for kids to head back to school.  Where did the summer go?  Parents switch from camp and vacation planning to carpools, clothing labels and packing lunches.  The idea of a simple brown paper bag to hold your child’s lunch has come a long way.

Kids are very visual and a lunch or snack packed in a fun container is always more exciting (and safer) than a plain paper bag. I suggest allowing your child to choose his lunchbox or snack bag. Children like to make decisions and feel in control. Ask them about wrappings and containers. Several years ago, my college roommate told me about her four-year-old son’s preference for sandwiches in a plastic bag “top side in.” “Top side in,” she explained, is when the rounded top of the bread goes in the bag first and the sandwich is packed vertically. Apparently it led to a few melt-downs before she got it right. Basically he didn’t want to get messy hands, so he wanted to reach in for crust, instead of the cut side where sandwich elements can leak out. Whew! Glad she figured that one out.

Snack Packing and Storing
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation estimates that one student taking a disposable lunch to school each day will create 45 to 90 pounds of garbage per year.

In an effort to teach children about the environmental impact of their food and beverage choices, and focus on reducing, recycling, and reusing to avoid waste, many schools are committed to reducing waste on campus. One method is to encourage parents to pack a “waste-free” lunch. This means everything in your child’s lunchbox is reusable or consumable. Schools such as Marin Primary School in Marin, California, are not only recycling and composting, but they have done away with plastic utensils, cups, and plates by washing reusable plates that the children have made themselves. Children’s cloth napkin company, Fabkins, is working with schools to provide children’s size napkins for fundraisers, classroom party baskets, and lunchrooms throughout the country.

The number of children’s product recalls due to lead paint, poor plastics, and PVC have increased dramatically. Luckily there is a big “green” market to fill the void of safe products, when it comes to lunchboxes and food storage. There are many fun and colorful lead-free, old-fashioned metal lunchboxes as well as soft PVC- and lead-free lunch totes that children can choose from. Allowing your child to choose is important so your child is proud of his lunchbox and excited to see and eat what’s inside.  By shopping at stores that carry “green” options such as  Elephant Pharmacy and Whole Foods (and avoiding the toy stores such as Toys R Us and Walmart) you can be sure your child will choose a safe lunchbox – free of harmful materials.

A new way to eliminate the waste of plastic bags, sandwich wrap, and waxed paper is with a lunchbox system. These are composed of a set of safe plastic boxes arranged in a larger box, like that of a traditional Japanese bento box. And for disposable options bamboo is a great renewable resource now used for making utensils and plates. Even corn is being made into plastic for cups, straws, and biodegradable utensils for use at restaurants and sports venues.

Keep perishables cold in insulated lunch bags. There are many PVC- and lead-free choices. Rather than using an ice pack you can freeze items such as yogurt or water, which will thaw and be ready by mealtime.

Pack drinks in reusable non-plastic bottles and drink holders. Thermos containers made from stainless steel and aluminum reduces waste and concern of leaching of toxins such as Bisphenol A, which is linked to birth defects, miscarriage, and prostate cancer.

Wrap sandwiches in foil over plastic wrap and baggies. Unlike waxed paper and plastic wrap, aluminum foil is available in 100 percent recycled form, is recyclable in most areas, withstands heat and cold, and works better than plastic and waxed paper at keeping moisture in. Aluminum is also oil free and is not made from petroleum, the way that wax and plastic are. You can also reduce landfill waste by eliminating plastic bag use, as they can last up to 1,000 years.

Provide metal or ceramic utensils that can be used and washed. Just remind your child to bring them home. Or provide bamboo renewable and biodegradable forks and spoons, rather than plastic.

Lunch Box Options Tested and Reviewed
My kids and I have been testing many different lunch box options and systems.  Like with most children’s products the parent has different concerns and priorities (safe, leak-proof, easy to clean) than the child (looks cool, can open it).  Here are our findings…

Fabkins: cloth napkins for kids.  Our family loves these.  They are a bit pricey, and you could cut your own or buy cocktail size fabric napkins for less.  However the kids really like the little embroidered images and actually take care of them.  We haven’t lost one in over 8 months.

Fleurville: the makers famous for their diaper bags also make PVC free lunch totes and back packs.  This is my son’s favorite because it has a skull (although friendly ones) pattern.  Some of the patterns are wipe easy vinyl (my daughter’s) and some are not (my son’s).  This makes a big difference in clean up (for mom).  After using a lunch box system with containers built in – this is not as easy and there is more waste.  I find myself putting the containers from the other lunchbox systems in this. About the same price as the “system” approach.  A few styles including a backpack that can be used for other things (carrying pj’s and stuffed buddy for overnight).

Laptop Lunches: bento box style lunchbox system.  This is my favorite and was my son’s too, until the Fleurville arrived.  Looks like a briefcase with a handle and messenger style strap.  Plain colors are not as “fun” as others.  Perfect for waste free packing.  Pricey at around $30, but my pick for easiest and neatest.

Klean Kanteen: stainless steel drinking containers.  Great stainless steel option, with a good design for smaller hands to grip easily.  New colors and basic silver.  About $15 each but long lasting and worth it.  In sizes 12 ounce through 40 ounce.

Lunchopolis: garbage free lunchbox system.  Some interesting but very limited fabrics (waterdrops, pink dots), in an easy to carry design (more upright than others – less spilage).  Comes with stacking containers with lids that fit – even after washing in the dishwasher.

Sigg: aluminum drinking containers.  Great aluminum option with various sizes,  designs and tops.  Kids may not be able to settle on one or two.  There are lots to choose from.  Each family member has at least one at my house.

Wrap-N-Mat: reusable sandwich wrap and place mat in one.  This is appealing to both my kids.  The wrap-n-mat is inexpensive at about $6 each and is a great alternative to wrapping sandwiches in disposable wrap.  The mat unwraps and becomes a placemat for your child too.  My daughter loves this when we’re out and about and she can lay her sandwich on the mat on her lap or any surface.

Now what do you pack in it?  Here’s a favorite that keeps my son satisfied and fueled during school time.  My daughter just started school, so I’ll be packing her the same thing.  That’s another tip – different kids but same lunches (or at least ingredients) makes for easier and faster packing for mom and dad.

Jonas’ Organic Turkey Roll-Up Recipe

At the time of this writing my son requests this be packed for school almost every day. The best part is it is simple and can be done in only a few minutes. This is super versatile as you can also use other meats such as prosciutto or roast beef slices. Or for a veggie option simply thinly slice or shred veggies such as red pepper, zucchini, carrots and cucumber. I usually make one whole lavosh roll-up for the day, half for my son’s lunchbox and half for my daughter’s on-the-go snack.

1 roll, 2 servings

1 piece lavosh (about 13 × 9 inches) – white or wheat
2 ounces organic Neufchatel cheese
2 ounces thinly sliced organic cooked turkey

Spread lavosh with a layer of cheese. Layer turkey in single layer on cheese.

Starting from narrow side, roll lavosh until you reach the end. You may want to add a small spread of cream cheese to secure roll. Using a sharp knife, make a quick cut in the center of roll. Cut each half in half again. Then each quarter in half, so you have 8 pieces.

Need more glue! My son likes these rolled tightly and packed in his bento-style container. He likes to be sure I spread enough “glue”, a.k.a cream cheese to keep them together without unraveling.

See also Lisa’s Freeze Please! (do your kids hate eating veggies?)
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, and Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and lives in Sausalito, California.
Images Credit: Laptop Lunches |
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