Lunches- Beyond the PB&J, Yogurts and Cheese

This months edition is all about allergy-free lunches. That’s right – zero gluten, dairy, corn, yeast, sugar, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and soy. Packing a lunch for kids who are allergic to one or more of the above isn’t always the easiest because lets face it – everyone’s “go-to” is a quick PB & J sandwich, yogurt and slices of cheese. These ideas are not just for kids either, they make great ideas for everyone. Most of the gluten-free convenience breads are full of artificial ingredients, refined gluten-free flours and little to no protein or fiber which makes them very nutrient depleted and leaves your poor little kiddo struggling for energy. So how can you have a lunch that’s safe for your kid, tingles their taste buds, AND easy for you to prepare? Lets brainstorm! Serve all with fresh fruit and vegetables on the side because those are always allergy-free.

1. Layered Mexican Dip
* Salsa*** or  (Organic Neil Brother’s Mild Salsa)
* Amy’s Kitchen re-fried beans, or black beans with cumin and chili powder
* Avocado or Guacamole (Garden Fresh)
* Shredded lettuce
* Serve with rice chips and peppers
2. Vietnamese Spring Rolls ***
* Rice paper wraps, slightly damp
* Fill with – Avocado, grilled chicken or shrimp, shredded lettuce, carrot matchsticks, cilantro, sliced mango (optional)
* Hummus – for dipping, or a safe salad dressing of choice
* Or Spicy “Peanut” Sauce (No peanuts or fish sauce)***
3. Tuna Salad
* Mash tuna with avocado, olive oil and lemon juice instead of mayo
* Serve with your wholegrain cracker of choice or Allergic Solution Bread if you have some made up. Some kids even enjoy tuna inside a baked potato.
4. Soup
* Lentil/chicken and vegetable soup using all leftovers and veggie broth, optional gluten free pasta noodles, quinoa or brown rice
* Coconut Carrot Ginger Soup***
* Imagine brand Butternut Squash Soup, Imagine Sweet Potato Soup, or Pacific Coast Butternut Squash Soup (contains soy and cane sugar) add your own veggies and protein
* Pacific Coast brand Curried Red Lentil Soup (contains coconut and cane sugar)
* Amy’s Kitchen brand Lentil Soup, Split pea soup, Lentil and vegetable soup, Tuscan bean and rice soup
5. Dinner leftovers
* Roasted potatoes/sweet potato fries and Roast chicken
* Homemade burger (or Beretta Farms mini burgers)

*** recipe below
If your kiddos need more options or have even further food sensitivities don’t hesitate to contact me at for your own personal brainstorming session.

Thai Cold Rolls

10 – 12 rice paper wraps
1 – 2 large carrots 2/3 of a cucumber
half a head of lettuce
1 cup freshly chopped cilantro
other options – sliced chicken, mango, shrimp

1. Julienne (thinly slice with a mandolin in long matchsticks) the carrots and cucumber and coarsely chop the lettuce
2. Place rice paper wraps in a bowl with warm water and let sit until they become soft
3. Pull one out at a time and lay flat on a cutting board or the counter
4. In each wrap towards the end add a mixture of carrots, cucumber, lettuce and cilantro to fill ¼ of the wrap
5. Fold in the edges of the wrap on each side of your hand and roll the wrap away from you – like a burrito, so all edges are stuck together
6. Repeat this for all the wraps and then slight on a diagonal into two and serve with a sauce of choice

Spicy No “Fish Sauce” “Peanut” Sauce

1/2 cup coconut milk – lite – or 1/3 cup other milk beverage of choice
1/4 cup finely chopped dry-roasted, unsalted roasted sunflower seeds ( Or peanuts if you are not allergic)
1-2 tsp Umeboshi paste
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Jamaican hot pepper – ½ or full depending on your spice tolerance (advised to remove for children)

1. Combine all in a food processor and blend until smooth or leaving some of the peanuts chunky for a great texture
2. Best served with thai cold rolls or veggies for dipping

Tomato Salsa

1 ripe tomato
1 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
½ tsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
To taste, salt and pepper
Optional: jalapeno or Serrano chili

1. In a medium bowl, seed and chop tomato.
2. Mix all ingredients together
3. Season with sea salt and pepper.
Coconut Carrot Ginger Soup

1 tbsp coconut oil – can use extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 inches ginger root, shaved, and finely chopped
7 – 8 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
6 cups low sodium vegetable stock (ensure gluten free)
1 cup lite coconut milk (or other milk beverage of choice)
1 cup red lentils
3 cups chopped kale (optional)
¼ tsp nutmeg
Sea salt to taste (if used low sodium broth)
1 cup water

1. Heat the oil, onion and ginger in a large pot until the onion is translucent
2. Add in carrots, potato, vegetable stock, coconut milk and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil . Add an extra 1 cup water as needed for desired thickness.
3. Used a hand blender (or regular blender in batches) to puree the soup
4. One the soup is pureed, add the spices and chopped kale and heat until kale is wilted.

-Article and recipes by  Sarah Maughan, B.A, RHN

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