peanut free

Nut Free Lunchbox Ideas

If your child’s school has a no nut policy, or if you’re navigating tree nut or peanut allergies, this one is for you!

My home is always nut free because of my allergies, and here’s a roundup of some of my favorite no-nut lunches. You’ll see that some of these lunchboxes have sunflower seed butter. We usually use a store bought variety for that, but I’ve also made my own. Patience is key with that, but the reward is great.

Don’t forget that the LaLa Lunchbox app has a special Nut Free Bundle available for download to provide you with some lunch packing inspiration. Let’s get to it…

Nut free granola, grapes, carrots, banana, dates with sunflower seed butter

Nut free granola, grapes, carrots, banana, dates with sunflower seed butter

There’s a lot to love about this lunchbox.

It’s got my favorite homemade granola - which is usually hard to find without nuts. If you’re nut free, trust me, you’re going to want this recipe. It’s perfect for snacking, breakfast or lunch, filled with a variety of wonderful textures and flavors, with exactly the right sweet/salt balance.

Here we’ve also got carrots, grapes, a tuxedo banana, a couple of strawberries and some dates filled with sunflower seed butter. I eat that regularly as a hearty, delicious snack and it always hits the spot.

Lunchbox with prosciutto, peppers, grapefruit, pomegranate, dates with sunflower seed butter and chocolate chips.

Lunchbox with prosciutto, peppers, grapefruit, pomegranate, dates with sunflower seed butter and chocolate chips.

I like to think about this lunchbox as a cold busting-lunchbox. Here we’ve got vitamin C from both the citrus and the peppers, with fiber and magnesium from the dates, protein from the sunflower seed butter, and vitamins B and C from the pomegranate. 💪🏻 As for that prosciutto and the chocolate chips? Well, that’s for added deliciousness. 

In the lunchbox: Turkey BLT with guacamole and peppers, grapes and orange.

In the lunchbox: Turkey BLT with guacamole and peppers, grapes and orange.

How about a turkey BLT for that lunchbox? We make ours with mustard instead of mayo, but you can customize yours however you’d like! The key is to toast the bread first, so that this sandwich stays crispy for lunchtime. This lunchbox features turkey bacon, but any bacon will do. My tomato-hating kid gets a BL sandwich with no T, occasionally with a scrambled egg. Make sure not to place the lettuce next to your condiment, or you’ll end up with limp soggy lettuce!

In the lunchbox: pizza rollups, banana with chocolate chips, cucumber and baby carrots, strawberries.

In the lunchbox: pizza rollups, banana with chocolate chips, cucumber and baby carrots, strawberries.

Here’s a lunchbox that is sure to make the kids smile. These pizza rollups are made with naan, but you can make them with any bread. Here’s how:
Spread marinara sauce on top of the bread. Add shredded mozzarella and fresh basil and place under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese has melted. When cool enough to touch, roll the bread up, and slice to make these bite sized roll ups. The process is very similar to rolling sushi. Want a tutorial? Right this way.

To make that spotted banana, use the pointy tip of a chocolate chip and spear into the banana.

Grilled cheese wafflewich in the lunchbox with strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, cucumber and chocolate.

Grilled cheese wafflewich in the lunchbox with strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, cucumber and chocolate.

When I made grilled cheese wafflewiches for the first time, my kids celebrated! What a fun mash up of breakfast and lunch! They're easy to eat, delicious and my kids dig them hot and melty, or cold from the fridge. It’s a serious win in my book! Hop on over to find that recipe, and be sure to stash some in the freezer!

Allergy Friendly Meals

I had the honor of doing a takeover for @theallergychef on Instagram recently. I marvel at Kathlena; she runs an allergy friendly bakery and hosts weekly livestreaming cooking demos, but she's allergic to most of the food that she creates and has to wear a mask to handle the fumes. In fact, she's allergic to about 200 things but has dedicated her life to helping others in the allergy community who struggle with what to eat. Incredibly admirable. Beyond all of this though, Kathlena is one of the nicest people I have met. 

For my takeover, I shared ideas for breakfast, lunch, after school snacks and dinner.  If you're looking for more allergy friendly ideas, be sure to follow Kathlena on Instagram and check out more from her here, here and here. I recently did a series about Top 8 Allergy Safe Lunches - with a dozen different lunchbox ideas - and you can find that right here

Without further ado, here's a recap of that takeover with some additional information that might be handy: 


Banana Oatmeal Bars with Dried Blueberries

Banana Oatmeal Bars with Dried Blueberries

Two things about this breakfast: 
1. It's super easy to make. My kids can make this without an adult and call me in to put it in and take it out of the oven. That's how easy it is. Seriously. 
2. It's ridiculously delicious, as well as filling and healthful. Find the recipe here

Two more things I want you to know about this breakfast: 
1. I've added açaí powder to the recipe (as well as dried blueberries). I'm allergic to fish and walnuts, both of which are rich in omega 3s. I do try and put flax into things when I remember but I definitely don't have a reliably steady source of omega 3s. Açaí is an antioxidant that also contains omega 3s, so I like to to add it where I can.
2. Did you know that non organic strawberries may contain fish DNA? I'm not going to get into the topic of GMOs here but for the sake of allergies, I think it's important to pass this information on. Some strawberry crops are genetically engineered with fish DNA to prevent the fruit from frost damage. I was unable to find any information as to whether this genetic modification had any implications for fish allergies. I'm guessing that it doesn't, but honestly, I don't know. I would guess that the anti-freezing trait is passed on with no other part of the fish DNA but I'm not a scientist and I'm not sure. Read more here


Below are two lunches that are Top 8 Free. They're simple, easy and fun to eat, loaded with colorful, healthful foods and most importantly, safe for allergic kids. 

Top 8 Free pancakes on a stick

Breakfast for lunch + food on a stick = a super fun, delicious lunch! Here we've got some oatmeal pancakes, free of egg, dairy, soy, gluten and nuts (as well as the other top 8 foods) and you can find the easy recipe right here

top 8 free leftovers

This Top 8 Free lunch has leftover roasted chicken wings, hummus and veggies for dipping (I like Ithaka brand because it's free of soy), plus fruit and a carrot cake cookie, made with this recipe. Substitute flax eggs for the eggs and you're set for a delicious top 8 yummy treat! 


top 8 free meatballs

I make meatballs fairly often. It's one of those dishes that all five of us enjoy, and leftovers are great for lunchboxes so they're kind of perfect. I love that I can switch up meatballs just by varying the meat and the size. But recently I went on a hunt to find a meatless meatball -- and not just any meatless meatball, I wanted a top 8 free meatless meatball. Tall order! 

Confession: I tried 6 different recipes and some of them were such flops that my kids took one bite and almost staged a coup! Then I came upon this recipe and it was a success. Actually, it wasn't a success the first time, and that's because I used regular green lentils, not french green lentils. I can tell you with 100% certainty - it makes a HUGE difference. Serve these beauties with your fave gluten free pasta (my family likes the ones made from corn and quinoa) and some veggies and you're in business. 

Do you have favorite top 8 free recipes that you love? I'd love to hear about them so please share!

Be sure to follow us on Instagram for more meal inspiration and follow along with The Allergy Chef for some amazing allergy friendly recipes, ideas and products. Plus - a huge bonus: she hosts a livestream cooking demo every Monday. You won't want to miss that. 

Top Allergy Safe Lunch #12

Top 8 Safe 12

Who says BLTs require bread?! Not us. These bunless BLTs are a fun DIY for kids, who can wrap their bacon and tomato slices inside of lettuce! If you're looking for a bit of a crunch to go along with that, some gluten free corn chips do the trick. This lunch is fun to eat, and fun at lunch is important! Here we've also got kiwi, raspberries, mango and some dairy free chocolate chips. 

Top Allergy Safe Lunch #11

Top 8 Safe 11

Around here, breakfast for lunch is a huge hit. I like to make a double batch of pancakes and either refrigerate or freeze the extras, depending on when my kids plan to pack them for lunch. The lunchroom is a social place, and because of that, a fun lunch experience (like eating pancakes with mini maple syrup) is something I can get behind. 

This lunch is Top 8 Free, so it has no peanuts, tree nuts, egg, dairy, soy, gluten, fish or shellfish. The pancake recipe is below and though my home is not gluten free or egg free or soy free, these pancakes are the ones we make regularly. Yeah, they're that good. This lunch also features coconut milk yogurt, carrots, dried banana, kiwi, raspberries and a sweet note from me. 

Top 8 Free Pancakes

1 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut milk yogurt
1/4 cup water
1 flax egg (1 tablespoon of flax meal + 2.5 tablespoons water)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons avocado oil, plus extra for frying (feel free to substitute coconut oil) 
1 teaspoon vanilla
optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Combine the dry and wet ingredients. Add the oil to a frying pan on medium high heat. Spoon in the batter to make the pancake size you desire. When the top bubbles a little, flip them. Fry for another minute or two until done. 


Top 8 Allergy Safe Lunch #9

Top 8 Safe #9

Rosemary chicken is a staple in my house for dinner. My kids are dark meat fans, so often I buy packs of just drumsticks or whole legs. You really can't beat the simplicity: place the pieces in an oven safe dish lined with parchment paper, sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, paprika and rosemary and roast at 375 for approximately 35-40 minutes. When I see that my kids have requested leftovers for their lunches, I buy extra and roast all at once. Chicken legs are fun to eat (no utensils required!) and yes, they're gobbled up cold. 

This lunch features a leftover chicken leg plus a strawnana kebab, leftover steamed zucchini and carrot, orange slices and dairy free chocolate chips.