5 Tips for Packing School Lunches for Kids with Food Allergies

allergy lunch

I pack a couple school lunches each night. My kindergartener’s is easy—at least it’s easy for me—she’s best described as a pescatarian with a hot dogs exception. But my Pre-K kiddo is a little tougher. She has issues with wheat and dairy and her school doesn’t allow any nuts in the building. But I’ve learned a few things through trial by fire. Check out these five tips for packing school lunches for kids with food allergies.

1. Whole Foods: You can rarely go wrong with simple, whole foods. You don’t need to check ingredients labels on peaches and fresh beans.

2. Divided Lunch Trays: I absolutely love the three-section LunchBot trays because schools often require one veggie, one fruit and one protein. If your school requires more, a PlanetBox is great because it has even more sections. The trays make it easy for me to remember how many items to pack and easy for her school to see we’re complying with their request. I certainly don’t want a Ritz cracker incident on my hands.

3. Allergy Lunch Box: A clear indication of your child’s allergies is very important. Somehow, even with this Allermates lunch box, my kid still received cheese crackers at snack time instead of her own snack on the first day of school. But you do whatever you can. We use an allergy bracelet as well as an allergy lunch box. This ensures that teachers and administrators know not to allow her any other food.

4. Fun Shapes: For my kid, she’s particularly singled out because school lunch is usually required at her school. She only gets a waiver because of her allergies. We make her lunch extra fun so she feels special rather than weird. Buy some bento-style food cutters. Create cold cuts cut into flower shapes or melons made to look like panda bears, whatever floats your boat.

5. Fruits and Veggies: You’re lucky in some ways, to have a child with allergies. Or at least that’s how I feel. You don’t have to deal with wheat, cheese and peanuts. You have a great extra reason not to buy processed food. You can pack your lunches full of fruit and veggies with a small side of protein and that’s just perfect for you child. A big salad or stir fry veggies and a fruit salad is a healthy lunch for any kid, not just those suffering from allergies. But with your kid’s allergies, you may not get as much whining about the lack of crackers or cheese.

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