It’s the start of the school year and parents face the daunting task of packing lunches that appeal to their children, but are also nutritional. Deciding what to put in your child’s school lunch box is especially challenging if he or she suffers from food allergies. A little planning however can make this daily parenting task much easier.
Here are some tips for packing lunch boxes for kids with food allergies.
- Plan the lunchbox menu for the week. Thinking ahead not only avoids the daily job of figuring out what to prepare, but can also save you a few dollars by shopping for groceries in bulk.
- Involve your child in jotting down healthy lunch box ideas. Ask for their preference from your list of safe meals. Perhaps a friend with food allergies had something interesting in their lunch box that you could include in the menu this week.
- Ensure that each packed meal is balanced and has a combination of vegetables, fruits, and proteins.
- Try simple tricks to improve the visual appeal of the foods you pack. For instance, sprinkle sliced fruits with orange or lime juice to prevent the fruit from going brown and to add some zestful flavour.
Simple Lunch Box Ideas for Kids with Food Allergies
- As a source of protein, add small pieces of chicken, beef, or shrimp to homemade soups, and gluten free spring rolls or bread.
- Make a fruit salad with seasonal fruits.
- Various types of gluten-free bread are available in most supermarkets or health food stores; find one that your child prefers. Since gluten-free bread tends to become crumbly after a few days, cut it in vertical slices and store in the freezer. Refresh slices quickly in the microwave before spreading with fillings. Toast the bread so that it doesn’t become soggy in the lunch box. Slice vegetables such as cucumber, carrots, and cherry tomato sprinkled with olive oil to make gluten free sandwiches.
- Try this great gluten-free tuna nicoise salad recipe from kids spot.
- Dried figs and apricots are packed with nutrients and a great addition to your child’s packed lunch. Some children, especially asthmatics, might be sensitive to the sulphur-containing compounds found in orange dried apricots. Buy brown dried apricots instead.
- For the occasional baked treat, make your favourite brownie recipe substituting plain flour with brown rice flour.
Some quick bites to include in your child’s lunchbox:
- Cut up the veggies such as carrots and celery sticks over the weekend and store them in a container of water in the fridge. This will keep them fresh and make it easier for you to add a helping of healthy veggies in the lunch box. Include healthy dippers such as hummus, baba ghanoush, or a homemade dairy-free dressing of your choice.
- Crackers with cheese
- Chickpea chips
- Muesli or health food bars; read the ingredients carefully before buying
- Tub of yogurt
What are your favourite gluten free and allergy friendly lunches and/or snacks for children? Share in the comments below!