Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Peanut-Free School Lunch Ideas: Even I Get Stumped

School has been in session for awhile now and it seems that many parents -- of allergic and non-allergic kids alike -- are seeking peanut-free lunch ideas. Some people need an alternative lunch because school is peanut-free or their child wants to sit a lunch table with a friend (love this reason!) and then of course there are those in the same boat with us: peanut butter just isn't an option.

I occasionally get stumped myself, something I discussed on my blog post for Sunbutter in August. Another issue is people who use tree nut butters instead of peanut butter. We can't do those either since my daughter and an increasing number of kids are also tree nut-allergic.

If your child will try it, Sunbutter is a great PB substitute that contains no tree nuts (though it does have some traces of soy. I believe Sunbutter is trying to change that.)

For all of us who need options, whether you are nut-free mom or you just have a nut-allergic child in your life, check out delicious list of 15 peanut-free lunches from Parenting magazine. I love the creativity and nutrition factor in these lunches!

Offering kids something other than peanut butter for lunch has a nice side option in that it teaches kids to enjoy a variety of foods.

What's your favorite, go-to nut-free lunch?


Jane Anne said...

I had fun looking through those ideas. Most of them are too "old" for my 7 year old - meaning his tastes are simple and still a little picky. He loves sunbutter but doesn't not want me to pack it in his lunch. He kept getting told on at school for sitting at the peanut free table with PB&J -just because it looked like peanut butter.
Anyway, I pack:
ham and cheese rolled up in tortillas
deli (slicked ham, turkey,or chicken) sandwiches
bagels with light cream cheese

I love getting new ideas! I'm always trying new things to see if he likes it and it can be added to the lunch menu.

caramama said...

My daughter loves chicken salad sandwich. We just mix up chicken and mayo, put it on a sandwich and voila! She also loves cold pasta with butter.

(I recently discovered that as long as food has mayo or butter, she is much more likely to eat it!)

Elizabeth, blogging for SunButter said...

Hi again Jenny, and hello, Jane Anne ~
Another great post. About the soy: For now, the only step that shares equipment with soy is roasting, which is the first step of our process. We never roast sunflower kernels and soy together and we have a thorough cleanout. All the details on the process are here:
Jane Anne, we share your frustration in school lunchroom staff members confusing SunButter with peanut butter. We are working on stickers or labels and education for schools. Meanwhile, you could consider printing out the SunButter info on an index card for your son's school. Take care!

Anonymous said...


this is Sarah from Germany. I have read your entries and am surprised that there are peanut-free schools in the United States.

Are all schools peanut-free?
Or only a part of them?

And do they do this voluntarily or is there a law for this?

Thank you in advance for a short information - its a very interesting blog.

Yours faithfully


Jenny said...

Hello Sarah,

To answer your questions: Peanut-free schools in the U.S. are VERY rare. In fact, most primary or elementary schools (K-6) are NOT peanut-free. I have heard of very few primary schools that enforce a completely peanut-free policy.

Preschools and kindergartens are sometimes peanut-free because young children are so unpredictable in terms of what they will eat or put in their mouths. In these cases, a peanut-free policy for the entire school or daycare is put into place.

Hope this answers your questions!

Best, Jenny

Anonymous said...

These are 15 great ideas... for grown ups who actually have a grown up palate. I would eat everything on this list, but no one else in my family would. I don't even know many teenagers who would eat this stuff. Sorry, but these are not great ideas for many preschoolers and kindergarteners - the people whom you admit are the most likely to be in peanut-free environments.

I sure wish "peanut free lunch ideas" put out by bloggers would actually include ideas that REAL kids would eat - you know, picky kids with texture aversion issues, picky kids with visual aversion issues, LOL! My kids. Oh well, I guess I keep on looking!

Jenny said...

My kids can be picky too, I know what you mean but I read somewhere that you have to offer a child a food 17 times before they may consider eating and enjoying it. This is the philosophy I used for veggies and stuff when my kids were young and it seemed to work. Sorry bloggers are letting you down, but this list came from Parenting magazine--I'm not as creative as they are when it comes to lunches! Good luck!

Mommysews said...

Here, in Canada, Peanut & Tree Nut Free schools are the norm. Even peanut-butter "look-alikes" like Sunbutter are banned (for fear that someone would see it, think it was okay to pack PB and inadvertently bring "real PB" to school).

At all of the schools in our area (Ontario), even products labelled "may contain traces amounts of nuts/peanuts" are banned at schools.
Families may not send in home-baking for classroom birthdays, etc., either.

Many indoor play-grounds and YMCAs are also nut-free.

Packing lunches is quite a challenge and, unfortunately, familes are often forced to resort to pre-packaged foods to meeet with appropriate labelling requirements.