Monday, June 23, 2014

Mommy Mondays: Packing It Up (Part 3)

As a disclaimer, I make no pretense of being well-versed in dietary needs or allergies.  Thatboy is luckily not allergic to anything he has tried, and neither Thatboy nor I follow any special diets.  So please don't take this post as any sort of advice or gospel about dealing with your own child if your child suffers from any allergies or dietary restrictions.  Some of these pointers might work for you, and some of them might not.  Take it all with a grain of salt - as long as you're not sodium free.

That being said, we've had a challenging 2 years sending in lunches with Thatbaby, so I thought our experience might help others.  The lunches we've sent in were meat free, nut free, seed free, and egg free.  I remember when I first started dealing with these restrictions, I felt a little lost and helpless.  But now I'm basically a pro, right? 

Instead of: A peanut butter and jelly sandwich (the lunch staple).
Try:  Soy butter and jelly sandwich!  (almond butter and sunflower seed butter are both good choices depending on if your school is only peanut free or nut free)  We're a big fan of Wow Butter.  Thatbaby honestly doesn't know the difference between peanut butter and soy butter.  This also works if you want to send in peanut butter and apples or celery sticks.  I haven't tried cooking with it though, so not sure if it would work for peanut noodles or cookies.

Instead of: Cold cuts
Try:  Veggie sandwiches and wraps.  Peppers, mushrooms, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, shredded carrots, avocado, and hummus (if seeds aren't an issue).

Instead of: Chicken nuggets
Try: Chicken-less nuggets.  Vegetarian meats can be hit or miss.  But for some reason, chicken nuggets seem to work pretty well.  Maybe because most chicken nuggets are kind of smashed up meat anyway?  Our two favorite are Trader Joe's Chickenless Chicken Tenders and Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders.

Instead of: Using meats in dishes like chili and stirfries.
Try: Leaving out the meat entirely (like a black bean chili or cheese enchiladas), or tofu (like in stirfries or fried rice)

Instead of: Dips like hummus, tahini, or peanut butter.
Try: White bean dip or yogurt dip.  Tzatziki is a big hit over here.

Instead of: Eggs
Try: Tofu.  Tofu makes a great "scramble" or even an "egg-less salad".


  1. I'm so glad/sad that I don't have to pack lunch for my little dude. In lots of ways, it's awesome not having to throw things together and think up new ideas, in other ways - I hate that I don't get to control what my kid eats when he's not with me.

    I think your ideas are great, and useable not just for packed lunches, but in general - great list!

  2. Oh wow! I totally missed this stage in my kids life. I won't dare say what was packed in their daily lunches (laugh). Luckily, my kids have no food allergies and there was not as much concern about sharing their food with other chiclren who might have allergies. My kids lunches were so boring. Both my sons eventually started buying their lunches at school-ewwww! Those school lunches have not changed in 40 years- Still bad as ever.

  3. Lucky that I don't have this long list of dietary restrictions for my boy's school. We are not allowed to bring nuts and that's all.

  4. The good thing about us is first that he has no allergies or other metabolic problems and second he returns back home for lunch, so I pretty much know exactly what he eats and I cook for him exactly what I want for him to eat!