Last Updated: 7th October 2016
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.
Sunbutter Apple or Banana Slices
Image Source: Back to Organic
Why not start things simple for yourself and make sure your kids get some nutritional goodness into their diets. Start by slicing up some fruits. Apples and bananas make the best options, but you could also choose peaches and nectarines, apricots or even pears.
Cover them in Sunbutter. This looks and tastes very much like peanut butter, but without the ingredient, your kids are allergic to. It’s made from sunflower seeds instead, in a similar way to peanut butter. Unless your kids say something to their friends, they’ll never know your child has something different.
If you want to offer something a little sweeter as a treat, you could opt for cinnamon sugar on the fruit slices instead. Only opt for this now and again, as it won’t be as filling as sunbutter.
Image Source: Sunbutter LLC
Children love peanut butter sandwiches. Since your child can’t have that, they may feel left out, but they really don’t have to. You can use the Sunbutter alternative instead.
Try the Sunbutter with different types of fillings, too. You could add in some strawberry jam for an allergy-friendly PB&J sandwich, or you can opt for some chocolate spread (just look out for those that don’t include any nuts).
If your child wants something different to a sandwich, while not try the Sunbutter on crackers or rye bread? You can sit them together to prevent the Sunbutter getting everywhere in the lunchbox so your child can separate them when at school.
Hearty Granola Bars
Image Source: Lizzy T
Granola is still allowed, and can make an extremely hearty breakfast. The benefit of granola is that it works like porridge oats, can be baked so you get breakfast bars out of it. It is also full of fibre so you will get a nutritious lunch; something you can even eat on the go!
Mix the granola with some berries, seeds and dried fruit to give you something different. There are many different types of granola recipes out there, and you can substitute all the nuts with anything else. Hemp or sunflower seeds tend to work out the best when replacing the likes of walnuts and almonds.
You can either bake your bars or just eat them raw. It’s completely up to you and your kids. Try a mixture of different ones throughout the week or from week to week so your kids have something exciting totry on a regular basis.
Image Source: Baked by an Introvert
Why not use up your ripe bananas by making some banana bread? This loaf is a great snack, but you can also offer it as a healthy dessert in the lunch box. You can butter it or add some Sunbutter if you really want.
Many banana bread recipes will include some nuts. You can substitute them extremely easily with dates, seeds and other dried fruit. You could also add some cinnamon to it, just to give it a little bit of a different taste. Ginger or nutmeg also work well with banana, and will offer something delicious for the lunchbox.
You may even want to offer something a little sweeter for a treat. Why not replace walnuts with chocolate chips for a nut allergy friendly recipe?
Pumpkin and Gingerbread Snack Bars
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Another delicious dessert for the lunchbox, and full of nutrients from the pumpkin. Kids just love gingerbread, so why not mix it in with pumpkin and create some chewy, melt in the mouth snack bars.
Many recipes will top with cashew butter, but you can substitute it for icing sugar or Sunbutter. You could also other dried fruits and seeds into the mix to really give it a health kick. Try a cinnamon glaze over the top if you want something different that offers it a sweet kick.
Your kids will only need one of these in their lunchbox, and they’ll be full. Just watch out for them coming home asking for some for their friends! You’ll have the whole neighbourhood intrigued and following you for the recipe.
Make Your Own Trail Mix
Image Source: Rachel Cooks
This is popular for many kids because it is so easy and fun to eat. You can add whatever you want into it, whether youkids absolutely adore marshmallows, or you want them to try more seeds and dried fruit.
Start with some cereal, whether you want to opt for granola, bran flakes or even Cheerios. You can then throw in some dried fruits and seeds, and anything else your kids think will work. Get them to help you, because they’ll be more likely to try it out when they are at school with their friends.
With enough fibre mixed in, you’ll have something extremely filling for your kids. They may want to save some for after school as a snack on the way home until they are ready for dinner. It also makes a great option for those with afterschool clubs, especially Sporting ones, to give them a bit of extra energy.
Some of the most popular options for trail mix include:
- Dried apricots
- Dried bananas
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Chocolate chips
- Mini marshmallows (yes, really!)
- Dried pineapple
- Dried papaya
Just make sure you all have fun with it!
If you haven’t got any dried fruits in the house, you don’t need to buy them. You can make your own by popping chopped pieces of fruit in the oven. This can be much healthier for your child with a nut allergy because some packaged dried fruits will have nut contamination. You’ll need to check the packaging to see if your kids’ favourites are a problem.
Make Your Own Hummus
Image Source: Inspired Taste
Hummus is traditionally made with nuts, but you can substitute them and make your own allergy-friendly option. You can even make other types of salad dressings or dips for healthy lunchboxes.
Put bags of chopped vegetables in your children’s lunchboxes, with tubs of your homemade dips and dressings. You’ll know exactly what they are eating and will make sure they get all the nutrients needed throughout the day. You can even send them with the dressings already on, such as a salad premade with an Italian dressing or the hummus sitting inside celery sticks.
Some of the allergy friendly dressings you’ll find online will skip out the dairy, too. You can always add that back in if your children don’t have a problem with the ingredient. Some will use substitutes like almond or coconut milk, so you’ll need to put normal or soya milk in to avoid the nut allergy problem!
When you make your own hummus, try out different flavourings. You can add chives, or you could consider a fruity option. Get your kids involved in making the dips so they are more likely to try them.
Have a mixture of vegetable sticks for the dipping. Carrots and celery sticks are the most common, but you could try out peppers, pumpkin and even courgette instead. Again, get your kids involved and find out what they want to dip. You may be surprised.
When the vegetable sticks have worn off, why not try some melba toast or crackers? You can even make your own with seeds and dried fruits if you want to avoid potential nut contamination.
Image Source:The Suburban Soap Box
Who doesn’t love chocolate pudding? This will quickly become a favourite in your kids’ lunchboxes, so you’ll need to be ready to make much more in the future when you first start.
You can make any chocolate pudding you find, substituting any of the ingredients that you’re allergic to. In most cases, any nuts will be optional, and you can substitute them with seeds or even some dried fruit.
If you really want to try something different, why not buy some chia seeds to throw into the mix? Chia seeds are one of the superfoods available, and just add a little extra that you never knew was missing.
When searching for chocolate pudding on allergy friendly websites, you may come across almond milk as a substitute. Switch this back for full fat or semi-skimmed normal dairy milk to make sure it is nut allergy friendly. You can also use soya milk if there is also a dairy allergy.
Oatmeal Squares or Flapjacks
Image Source: A Few Short Cuts
How about adding some flapjacks into the lunchbox? Many of these are made with nut butter, but you can substitute this for sunflower seed butter instead.
The benefit of oatmeal squares and flapjacks is that you can add any ingredient in that you want. You can throw in lots of seeds, or choose to add some dried fruit and chocolate chips. Kids will never get bored because there will always be something different in their lunchboxes.
This is another option that you can get your kids involved with. They’ll love to mix the flapjacks together and experiment with different ingredients. They may find a new favourite snack, without even thinking about how healthy it is. You’ll just know that they’re getting plenty of nutrients on a daily basis.
Oatmeal squares are also extremely filling thanks to all the fibre. They make great on the go snacks or quick desserts for lunchtime.
Try dried cranberries or cherries just to add something different for once. You could even try out different toppings, including chocolate, maple syrup and icing sugar.
Image Source: My Recipe Magic
Like the chocolate puddings, chocolate cupcakes will always go down a treat for the lunchbox. Your kids will want more and more, so be prepared to have them.
You can try adding different types of fruits to the cupcakes to offer something different now and then. Dark chocolate and cherries work extremely well, or you could add some biscuit and mini marshmallows for a rocky road type cupcake. Seeds are other great options when it comes to fillings for the cupcakes, and you can add some buttercream to the middle for a running texture.
The benefit of cupcakes is the icing. You can add all sorts of patterns on top and even create something perfect for seasonal lunches. Why not add some white icing and chocolate chip ghoul eyes for Halloween or add a maple or cinnamon glaze for Thanksgiving and the day before the Christmas break.
Dark chocolate always works best for chocolate cupcakes, but you can try with milk and white. If your child also has a milk allergy as well as a nut one, you’ll need to stick to dark chocolate.
Again, getting your kids involved with making the cupcakes will be fun. Make a day of it, so they have something to look forward to for the rest of the week. Just watch out for the badgering when they want (or insist they need) a cupcake right now!
Don’t be afraid to experiment with food and the layout in the lunchboxes. Kids just love to see something fun and will taste new things if they’ve been involved in the making process. Don’t let their nut allergy make them have a boring time at school and feel unfulfilled with their pack lunches.
There are just so many options available. You can switch the peanut butter with Sunbutter, or you can opt for seeds instead of walnuts and almonds. Your kids will hardly notice the difference, but you’re giving them delicious and nutritious lunches that work with their allergies. Now you just need to make dinners that they’ll love just as much.
Just keep in mind that you should always be mindful of any food allergy. You can start keeping it in check by finding an alternative which may not taste the same but still has the same nutrients or even has more.