Nut allergies are not to be taken lightly and these days many schools are not taking any chances. It’s becoming more and more common to see schools banning peanut products in response to the growing number of children affected by life-threatening allergies. Some schools even prohibit any products containing nuts in any form from the cafeteria (almonds, cashews, tree nuts etc). We’re used to PB&J as a foundational food in the childhood experience; a lot of parents are understandably stressed searching for alternatives for finicky children to eat. If your child is less-than-thrilled to part with the PB&J, it might be a great opportunity to introduce them to new foods and get creative when packing lunch.
Whether your child is allergic to peanuts or loves peanut butter but isn’t allowed bring it to school, the guide below will help you explore alternatives to the classic PB&J!
Nut butter alternatives:
If your school only bans peanuts:
PB Free lunches ideas:
- Make a simple switch: Use sunbutter, almond butter or any other peanut butter substitute to make your PB&Js.
- Try mini BLTs & cheese on multigrain or coconut wraps
- Homemade soup in a thermos (or equally delicious, non-homemade soup)
- Banana and blueberry pancake and cream cheese sandwiches (using the pancakes as bread)
- Mini apple slice and sunflower butter sandwiches (using apple slices as bread)
- Wheat or gluten-free pasta salad with veggies
- Macaroni & Cheese (gluten-free versions available!)
- The seemingly obvious but often overlooked: cook a little extra for dinner at night and pack leftovers!
PB Free sides & treats
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Sliced, organic fruit and berries
- Chopped veggies (carrots, celery, broccoli etc) with healthy ranch dressing for dipping
- Homemade chicken or egg salad sandwiches (need organic mayo?)
- Organic cheese sticks/slices
- Brown-rice crackers
- Organic applesauce
- Caprese salad (mozzarella + basil + tomatoes + balsamic)
- Low-sugar dark chocolate
- “Frushi” fruit-sushi (recipe below!)
“Frushi” Fruit Sushi Recipe
Rinse rice until the water runs clean. Let the rice soak in a bowl of clean water for 30 minutes. Bring 1 and 1/4 cups water and rice to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until water is almost absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 15 minutes.
Place rice in a large bowl. Add natural sweetener, coconut milk, and salt, stirring gently until well combined. Cover and let stand 20 minutes.
Lightly coat hands with cooking spray. Divide rice mixture into 12 equal portions, shaping each into a ball (about 2 tablespoons of rice). Lightly press each rice ball into an oval between palms; place ovals on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Top each rice oval with one kiwi slice, one mandarin orange and one raspberry slice. If the fruit doesn’t readily stick to the rice you can brush the tops of the rice ovals with honey first. Cover and chill frushi for at least one hour, up to 8 hours.
This recipe is great because you can use whatever fresh fruit you like to top the rice! What are some of your go-to, peanut-free packed lunches?
*Recipe from dinneratthezoo.com