Without a doubt the hardest aspect of this whole allergy business is packing a school lunch. When we're in our own environment and I'm buying and preparing the food it's easy to feel pretty normal. It's only when we venture out that reality hits.
Making an allergy friendly lunch box 5 days a week can be really hard work when you can't use sandwiches or bread rolls. GF baking needs to be fresh - which is why you can often find me bending over a bowl of muffin mix at 7am on a school morning. I want Ben's lunches to be interesting, yummy, satisfying and full of nutrients - and the key to this is all in the planning.
Here's a list of 20 allergy friendly lunch ideas made up of things I've successfully tried over the years. If you have some ideas of your own I'd love to hear them in the comments section - let's keep this list a work in progress!
- White corn GF tortillas sandwiched together and crisped up in a dry frying pan (like a quesadilla) with fillings inside. Fillings we like are: salmon and cheese (if we're eating cheese); baked beans; Mighty Mite (GF marmite) and cheese; tuna and vegan mayonnaise.
- GF mini pizzas with either vegetarian toppings or salami. I make a big pizza and cut it into smaller portions to freeze. Hummus is great in place of cheese.
- Meatballs - either organic beef or chicken using soy milk and GF breadcrumbs to bind
- Chicken drumsticks
- Sushi - watch for GF rice wine vinegar and use GF soy sauce
- GF mini muffins - make a basic muffin mix and alternate with sweet and savoury additions
- Pasta salad - GF pasta spirals, vegan mayonnaise, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, salmon
- Potato salad - Vegan mayonnaise, leftover roast potatoes, chopped herbs
- Apple slices with nut butter - Sliced apples spread with nut or seed butter and sprinkled with raisins
- Fruit salad - with yoghurt (dairy, sheep, goat or coconut) and sprinkled with ground seed mix
- Hummus and rice crackers
- Toasted GF bread with seed butter
- Leftovers GF pasta and sauce in a Thermos
- Asian style rice noodles and vegetables
- GF cheese scones - make DF by omitting cheese and adding flavour enhancers like chopped sundried tomatoes or roasted capsicum instead
- GF pumpkin scones - using cold mashed pumpkin as a binder
- Potato cakes
- Corn fritters
- Roast vegetable salad with lemon juice and olive oil dressing
- Tapioca or chia puddings - For Chia Puddings see the recipe here
- Invest in some good lunch packaging - small containers with no leak lids are great
- Make in bulk and freeze individual portions
- Buy a good quality Thermos
- Think about how to keep high risk foods like meat or sushi cold, especially in the summer months. Ice packs and insulated lunch bags are one idea - or see if you can access a fridge at school for your child
- Plan ahead - with allergy lunch boxes improvisation is not your friend