Nut-free school lunch add-ons


A few years ago, I went to my first preschool orientation. Before that, the kids were in daycare and lunches were provided. Now, I had the task of packing lunches. I quickly learned on of the first rules was that the preschool was and is completely nut-free. We are blessed that it wasn’t something we had thought of before, but it made me realize just how many lunch items contain nuts. 

nut-free school lunch add-ons

I had to rethink my lunch planning game. I’ve shared some of our favorite easy to pack lunches for preschooler and toddlers, but we are always looking for variety, ease and most importantly, being aware of serving sizes since my oldest two girls pack their own lunches. I headed to the store and with the help of the girls, picked up some great additions to their lunches that would allow them to be nut-free at preschool, or sit with their friends that have nut allergies (and many other allergies) at the elementary school.

MadeGood granola snack

For our little ones that lunch at home, (okay, really for me), I picked up some some Simply Smart Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders. These also make great “entrees” in a lunch. So I can cook a couple and then the girls can put them in their lunches in the morning. 

nut-free school lunch add-ons gluten free chicken tenders

It can be hard enough to find lunchbox fillers you and your kids agree on when your child doesn’t have food allergies and sensitivities. When they do or their friends do, or the school has rules, it can be even harder. BJ’s is working hard to simplify their allergy labeling so we can grab snacks in bulk for lunches. 

nut-free school lunch add-ons

A tried and true favorite is fruit. The girls go through so many bananas, clementines, strawberries, blueberries and apples. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the precut apples, but there were more apples eaten in one week with those in the house, so it’s a win. 

Nature’s Bakery, a line of better-for-you soft baked snacks that are both nutritious and delicious. These guilt-free bars are baked with real fruit and whole grains and they also cater to a variety of dietary needs including gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, soy-free and Non-GMO Project Verified, making them the perfect base for your classroom treats.

Nature's Bakery Gluten Free Fig Bar

They come in several different flavors that are sure to be a hit. It’s a nice snack that is also a treat and works perfectly for school snacks!

Nature's Bakery Gluten Free Fig Bar variety

MadeGood is one of the leading allergy-friendly and nutrient-rich granola snack creators. All of their products are produced in a dedicated facility free from the common allergens: peanut, tree nut, wheat, dairy, egg, soy, sesame, fish and shellfish. They also contain vegetables, are gluten-free, organic, non-GMO Project verified, certified vegan and they taste good! 

MadeGood granola snack

MadeGood and Mabel’s Labels have announced a partnership to provide customers with value-add offers that will be available in stores on these four MadeGood products.

Lowfat Milk that is shelf stable is actually a great add-on because it gets them drinking milk and it has protein which we sometimes struggle with getting enough of. I let the girls get a tub of Animal Crackers and they devoured them. It’s a good way to help them understand label reading and servings without getting the individual bags of everything.

Another great protein source is Stonyfield YoKids Squeeze. We freeze these overnight and the kids grab them in the morning. By the time they get to lunch time, they are thawed and ready to enjoy. My younger two girls like to eat them as a frozen treat for their after school snacks.

In the cracker and crunch category, we picked up some individual Goldfish Cheese Crackers, Pirates Booty, and some Organic Original Brown Rice, Sesame and Flax Crackers (these are so good. I am reluctant to let them enjoy them in their lunches because I don’t want to share).

I did cave a little and let them get Chocolate Pudding, but they must have a piece of fruit (in addition to other fruit) to counteract it and they don’t get to eat it every day.

After putting these in lunches for just over two weeks, everything was a big hit. They’ve been reasonable with packing it in lunches and for school snacks and I’m happy knowing they are eating safe foods at school for their friends.

What is your favorite nut-free add-on for school lunches?

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  1. Allergies make life so hard. Nut free additions we like for lunch are cheese sticks, grapes, croissants, crackers, and cottage cheese. My girls love Pirates Booty too!

    1. I had no idea of the obsession with this stuff! Grapes are always a winner here. Even the youngest gets excited about them!

      And, cottage cheese..I’ll have to try again. I usually only like it cooked, but I know it’s a great protein source!

  2. As a food allergy family, I’m glad schools are requiring nut-free snacks.
    Even though our son can be around someone eating nuts, other kids can’t even tolerate them being in the same room.

  3. All great choices. We put out chicken in a thermos (for soup) and it keeps them nice and warm.

  4. Oh such a great post! Thank you! Last year our little one had a child in his class that had a severe peanut allergy. We had to be very careful with what we sent for snack and lunch. These are some great ideas!

  5. Oh yes… “pirate snacks” are a HUGE thing on our house. We had them at a birthday party once and it was downhill from there. We add raisins, melon balls, and cheese cubes as sides.

  6. We don’t have a nut allergy and our class is nut allergy-free but I didn’t realize that SO many of the snacks I buy are allergy friendly!

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