More and more families are grappling with the need to pack allergy-friendly lunches, either because one of their own has been diagnosed with a food allergy or because their kids’ school or daycare is a designated allergen-free zone. Either way, I know it can be a major challenge. It’s hard to come up with a ton of allergy-friendly lunch ideas each year—even when you’re used to feeding an allergen-free kid. Which is why we tend to fall back on the same ones over and over.

So we’re here to help, along with our newest sponsors, Made In Nature and Udi’s Gluten Free, which also happen to be two of my favorite school lunch pantry brands. Yay!

I’ve come up with 7 allergy-friendly school lunch ideas that you can rely on all year long, whether you make them just as I have, or you use them as jumping off points then add your own inspiration. Because, hey, even small adjustments can keep things interesting for your kids.

After all, it’s a loooong school year.

– Extra cool: Don’t miss a huge giveaway just for Cool Mom Eats readers, below!
As in, your school lunch pantry will be stocked for a long time. – 

 

I’ve organized the lunch ideas below by allergen, but there are a couple of very important things to keep in mind:

First, remember that it’s easy to substitute. If your child is dairy-free, for example, you can easily pack a whole-grain bagel with dairy-free cream cheese instead of traditional. So check out all of the ideas, regardless of the category.

Second, and most importantly, if your child has a severe allergy or the rules at your school include a ban on foods that are not certified nut-free—which means that the food is both nut-free and processed on a nut-free production line—then check your labels very, very carefully. Some Made In Nature products, for example, may contain coconut or may be processed on a line that also processes coconut. And when you check the Udi’s product labels, you’ll see they are all certified gluten-free with most (though not all) produced in a dedicated nut-free facility.

 

Allergy-free lunch ideas
without milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, gluten, or soy

Looking for allergy-free lunch ideas? Try a chopped salad—with no pesky lettuce that usually bugs kids and just with your kid's favorite raw veggies chopped up and dressed with vinaigrette—along with fresh fruit and dried fruit. | Cool Mom Eats

Chopped Greek Salad

I know what some of you are thinking: Salad? For my kid’s lunch? The answer is yes! Many kids’ aversion to salad has to do with the leafy greens, but a chopped salad does away with them and can include foods your kids love. For example, use whichever cut-up raw veggies they normally like to eat and toss with some oil and vinegar or a favorite dressing. My kids love tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, so I combine them to make the Chopped Greek Salad here.

I add olives for a salty bite; you can also add rinsed, canned chickpeas for extra protein.

To accompany the salad, I pack Made In Nature Organic Dried Apricots, because I like keeping with the Mediterranean vibe—and my kids love them. They are super sweet, soft and chewy, with nothing added. What a relief to find dried fruit snacks without any added sugar!

And of course, fresh fruit goes with any balanced lunch. My kids don’t mind me packing both fresh fruit and dried apricots since the apricots are more like a dessert or treat to them anyway.

 

With the right products, granola and seed butter are safe for kids with allergies and allergy-free schools! This apple, sunflower seed butter and granola sandwich is a school lunch favorite! | Cool Mom Eats

Apple and Sunflower Seed Butter Sandwich with Granola

I’m a fan of great gluten-free breads like the ones made by Udi’s, but sometimes I like to think beyond the sandwich to change things up. So here I used sliced apples instead of bread and paired it with sunflower seed butter and Udi’s Gluten Free Au Natural Granola* for a healthy lunch that can help fuel any kid’s afternoon.

I always pack this fun sandwich alternative with more fruit and veggies, of course, and sometimes even throw in a few Made In Nature Organic Deglet Noor Dates for a super sweet finish. (Although I have a feeling my kids smoosh them into their sandwiches.)  It’s a great lunch idea that feels like a treat, and yet it hardly has any added sugar.

* Though nut-free, be aware that Udi’s Gluten Free Au Natural Granola is manufactured on the same line that processes tree nuts

 

Allergy-free lunch ideas
without eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, gluten, or soy

Skip the bread for this allergy- and gluten-free lunch of Apple, Cheddar and Ham Wraps. Yummy little bundles with healthy snacks, fruit and veg on the side. | Cool Mom Eats

Apple, Cheddar, and Ham Wraps

This is another way to think beyond the sandwich that my kids love. With these Apple, Cheddar, and Ham Wraps, you’re making something creative but easy out of standard lunch box ingredients, and I happen to think that’s pretty genius. Just slice apples into wedges, place half of some sliced cheese (or a half of a cheese stick) next to it, then wrap them together with a piece of deli ham or turkey.

I pair this lunch with Made In Nature Organic Superberry Fruit Fusion, which have fast become one of my standard lunch box pantry items because, convenience! These one-ounce packets come in a five-pack and sometimes I really appreciate that shortcut on busy mornings.

Plus, when I’m not including them in my kids’ lunch boxes, I toss them into their backpacks for an after-school bus snack.

 

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About our sponsors… and an awesome giveaway!

Allergy- and gluten-free lunch ideas using trusted school lunch products from Udi's Gluten Free and Made In Nature | Cool Mom Eats

Made In Nature and Udi’s Gluten Free are both dedicated to helping families eat well, no matter your lifestyle or diet. Made In Nature Supersnacks are organic, non-GMO, and refined sugar free. And with Udi’s, you can make sure that nobody in the family is missing out on sandwiches. Their gluten-free foods are so tasty, it becomes easy to feed the whole family with the same loaf of bread, tortillas, bagels, and more. 

EXTRA COOL: WIN IT!  

Made In Nature and Udi’s are generously offering prize packs to five lucky Cool Mom Eats readers. Whoo!

A big back to school lunch giveaway with Cool Mom Eats, Udi's Gluten Free and Made In Nature. Check out the deets!

-Four winners will each receive a swag bag with plenty of Made In Nature and Udi’s products, as well as a copy of Make It Easy, the family-friendly cookbook authored by our own Stacie Billis, which is packed with easy dinner and lunch ideas your kids will love.

-One lucky grand prize winner will win the swag bag and cookbook, plus a $200 Visa gift card for back to school shopping, stocking the pantry, a little something splurgey for yourself—you name it.

-Hop on over to the Made In Nature page on Facebook to enter to win. The contest ends on 9/30, so hurry!

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Allergy-free lunch ideas
without milk, tree nuts, peanuts, gluten, or soy

Eggs help make allergy- and gluten-free lunches easy. These Veggie Egg Bites are simple to make ahead and keep on hand for a protein-packed mid-day meal, along with guacamole, dried mango and vegetables. | Cool Mom Eats

Veggie Egg Bites

Unless your child is allergic to them, eggs are one of the best ways to pack whole protein in a way that’s safe for schools. While I love packing hard boiled eggs in school lunch because they are so easy to keep on hand in the fridge, sometimes I change things up by making these Vegetable Egg Bites. They’re basically little omelettes—but way easier to make.

All you have to do to whip these up is whisk four eggs with milk of any kind, depending on which allergies are of concern. If your child can eat anything at all and this is to accommodate an allergen-free lunchroom, then regular milk is just fine. However if your child is allergic to milk, nuts, and soy, then use rice milk, which you probably already have on hand.

Add salt, pepper, and a bunch of chopped veggies—I use peppers and spinach—and divide evenly in a mini-muffin tray. Bake at 350 for about 15-18 minutes and you’ve got several days worth of lunches ready to go.

I pack these Egg Bites in my kids’ bentos with raw veggies, a handful of Made In Nature Organic Dried Mango, and some guacamole. Then be sure to slip an ice pack in there to keep it all cold.

I always assumed that my kids would dip the veggies in the guac, but it turns out they were inspired by a mango guacamole that I make sometimes—and so they’ve been using the dried mango like chips. Yum!

(Smart kids.)

 

An allergy- and gluten-free breakfast for lunch idea for school lunch - it's so easy! A gluten-free blueberry muffin, hard boiled egg, apple sauce, veggies and grapes. Yum! | Cool Mom Eats

Breakfast for Lunch

Breakfast for lunch is a classic for us. In fact, my kids have asked that I make it once a week, and with options like this particular combo—an Udi’s Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin, hard boiled egg, fresh fruit, and veggies—I can feel good about it. The egg provides protein and the muffin gives some heft. With 21 grams of sugar total in the muffin, though, I often serve just half of it, which is plenty for young kids anyway.

And by the way, we’re not a gluten-free family and my boys totally love these muffins; so don’t think that they’re just for gluten-free families or for when you’re hosting a gluten-free friend. They really are that good.

 

Deconstruct a traditional sandwich to make this allergy- and gluten-free lunch of toast points and turkey roll-ups. Easy breezy! | Cool Mom Eats

Toast Points and Turkey Roll-Ups

When it comes to school lunch, presentation is key to keeping things interesting. (Well, for me at least.) Since kids love assembling stuff themselves, I like to pack some plain roasted turkey and toast points instead of making the sandwich myself. And by the way, it’s way more fun when you attempt to say “toast points” to your kids with a bad British accent like I do.

With Udi’s Gluten Free White Sandwich Bread, this is a super simple gluten-free lunch to put together. Just toast a couple of fluffy slices of bread and call it a day. Or do as I have been doing, and drizzle the toast with olive oil and sprinkle on some black pepper before packing it. This makes the bread extra delicious when they pile their turkey meat on top at lunch time, and there are no messy condiments on the side required.

Allergy-free lunch ideas
without tree nuts, peanuts, gluten, or soy

An allergy- and gluten-free bagel school lunch? Yes! It's possible. And healthy, too, with this gluten-free whole grain bagel, veggie cream cheese, and dried apples on the side. | Cool Mom Eats

Bagel with Cream Cheese

Udi’s Whole Grain Bagels mean that a kid staple, a good old fashioned bagel with cream cheese, is possible even if you’re packing a gluten-free lunch. Your kids are getting some whole grains, protein, and fiber in there, too, which beats a traditional bagel.

I like to top them with veggie cream cheese to give lunch an extra boost of goodness. And of course, if you prefer, you can make this milk-free instead of soy-free by swapping in non-dairy cream cheese.

If your school allows sesame seeds, also consider hummus as another healthful alternative to cream cheese.

I pair this classic NYC lunch (and, yes, it’s indeed a classic when you live here like I do) with a classic snack: either a helping of nothing-added Organic Dried Apples from Made in Nature, or their Organic Apple Cinnamon Fruit Fusion that my kids are in love with. The extra sweet flavor comes from spices, not sugar, which makes this mama happy.

 

Thanks so much to our fantastic sponsors Made In Nature and Udi’s Gluten Free for making wholesome, allergy-friendly food healthy and delicious so that more families can enjoy them. 

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