Lunchbox Ideas For Kids With Food Allergies

Today I’m going to share with you how I pack a healthy lunchbox every day for my two children with food allergies and intolerances.  I usually make their lunches every morning and I can do both lunchboxes in under 10 minutes (on a good day!).  We’ve been talking about school lunches on my Instagram feed this week and a whopping 83% of you who have kids with allergies send your children to school with a packed lunch.  This is much higher than the national average of 60%.

lunchbox ideas for kids with food allergies

The list below is my mental checklist for a good lunchbox.  As a mum, I aim to tick all 6 of these boxes every day.  By hitting each of these I hope I’m providing my kids with a balanced meal.  I also include what I consider to be a ‘treat’ a few times a week – something that may not always have great nutritional value but my children will enjoy it.  Although health and nutrition is my top priority, I also want my kids to enjoy their lunch.  Equally important is the social aspect.  They’ll see their friends eating those types of foods and kids just want to fit in.  This is especially significant for food allergy kids as they so often they have to be different to everyone else.

Lunchbox checklist

  1. Protein – tuna, boiled egg, ham or other deli meat, chicken drumsticks, leftover cooked meat, prawns, houmous, smoked salmon, sausages, cooked meatballs
  2. Carbs – bread, wraps, pizza, crackers, breadsticks, pasta, new potatoes, oatcakes
  3. Veggies – cucumber, tomatoes, sweetcorn, carrots, sugar snap peas, celery, red peppers
  4. Fruit – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, banana, apple, kiwi, mango, melon, pear, orange, satsuma, pineapple, or dried fruit like raisins or apricots
  5. Healthy Fat – olives, avocado, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil (may be in/on something else e.g. coconut oil in bliss balls or extra virgin olive oil drizzled on pasta salad)
  6. Treat/Extra – cakes, biscuits, crisps, peperami, dried fruit snacks, flapjacks, packaged snacks, jelly

Lunchbox recipes

Here are some of our family’s favourite lunchbox recipes:

Lunchbox examples

Here are some photos of my girls’ lunchboxes.  These are their real lunchboxes on days when I’ve taken a quick snap during the morning rush.  Please forgive the picture quality!

Note that I have one daughter who is allergic to dairy and soya, but can have cooked milk.  My other daughter is intolerant to gluten and lactose.  So we have a mixture of different allergy needs catered for in these photos – always check to make sure specific foods are suitable for your child’s needs.

dairy free lunchbox
Breadsticks, houmous, cherry tomatoes, olives, raspberries and Organix carrot cake oaty bar.
dairy and soya free lunchbox
Peppers and houmous, chipolatas, cream crackers with dairy-free spread and an apple.
gluten, dairy and soya free lunchbox
Tuna and sweetcorn wrap, breadsticks and houmous, tomatoes, olives, kiwi fruit and shop bought cake. All gluten, dairy and soya free.
Crackers with pate, breadsticks and houmous, cucumber and olives, kiwi fruit and jammy dodger (these do contain milk as my little girl is on the milk ladder now, free from ones are available)
dairy free lunchbox
Turkey sandwich, cherry tomatoes and olives, satsuma, peperami and homemade carrot muffin.
Gluten-free baguette, cucumber and olives, boiled egg, satsuma, carrot muffin and Fruit Yoyo.
dairy and soya free packed lunch
Mini baguette (soya free), boiled egg, tomatoes and olives, satsuma, Ella’s kitchen pouch and Fruit Yoyo
dairy and soya free packed lunchbox
Buckwheat pasta salad, strawberries, raisins, Ella’s kitchen pouch, Koko dairy free chocolate milk drink

I hope this gives you some ideas and inspiration.  I also want you to know that lunchboxes don’t have to be a perfect work of art.  Yes cutting peppers into star shapes looks beautiful, kids love sandwiches shaped like dinosaurs/butterflies and there are some really nice designer lunchboxes out there.  If you enjoy that, great!  Please keep sharing those pics because they are beautiful!  But my kids usually wolf their lunch down as fast as possible so they can go out to play with their friends.  I don’t think they’re going to be admiring the presentation.

If your kid has allergies please share your lunchbox photos with me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.  Remember to tag me and use hashtag #allergylunchbox