It’s back to school time and for many parents, finding allergy-free healthy school lunch ideas is a challenge. Parents already have plenty to do every morning, and struggling to find what’s safe for their kids to eat shouldn’t be one of them.
That’s why we came up with these 9 allergy-free healthy school lunch ideas—plus a few bonus treats! That’s enough for nearly two weeks! The following school lunch ideas are dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, but not delicious free!
Let’s pack a lunch!
For some of these ideas, you may want to use a bento box type container so you can keep the ingredients separate and your child can easily assemble the lunch.
Black bean burritos: Provide corn tortillas, organic refried black beans, vegan cheese (optional), and salsa. Brown rice is optional.
Chicken and hummus. Provide baked corn crackers, thin slices of chicken, grape tomatoes, and hummus in the bento box.
Cauliflower rice salad. You can make this the night before—and make extra because you’ll love it for lunch too!
- 2 cups uncooked rice noodles
- 2 cups cauliflower pieces, riced
- 1 large carrot,
- ½ cup dairy-free mayonnaise
- 1 cup frozen sweet green peas, cooked
- 1 Tbs Italian herb seasoning
- ½ cup cooked beans (pinto, black, white, kidney)
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Cool and set aside. In a large bowl combine the noodles, cauliflower, and carrot. Add the mayonnaise and mix until everything is well coated. Add the peas, beans, and seasoning. Mix well again and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Egg wraps: Use gluten-free tortillas, chopped hard boiled eggs, dairy-free mayonnaise, and lettuce rolled into a delicious egg wrap. Add tomato slices on the side and some jicama sticks with a dash of lemon juice.
Avocado and turkey wraps: Use gluten-free tortillas, mashed avocado, and thin sliced turkey or chicken. Include some grape tomatoes and cucumber slices on the side.
Quinoa salad: This is a high protein alternative to a green salad. Prepare the night before.
- ¾ cup water
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa
- ¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped celery
- 2 Tbs chopped cilantro
- ¼ tsp curry powder
- ¼ cup green peas
- ¼ cup black beans
- ½ lime, juiced
- Salt and pepper to taste
Bring the water to a boil, add the quinoa, reduce the heat, and cook until the water has been absorbed. Place the cooked quinoa into a bowl and chill for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime, combine the remaining ingredients, mix well, and add to the chilled quinoa. Chill overnight.
Pumpkin chili: This is an easy chili recipe the whole family will love. Prepare the night before and place it in a thermos for a great hot lunch.
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbs chili powder
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 15 oz fresh or canned pumpkin puree
- 3 cups cooked beans (your choice: black, kidney, pinto, white, mix and match)
In a large pot, heat the oil and saute the onion, garlic, and seasonings. Add the tomato sauce, pumpkin puree, and beans and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Tuna and hummus wrap: Spread hummus on a grain-free tortilla, add well-drained tuna, top with lettuce, and roll into a wrap.
Vegetable soup: This soup is a family favorite. Prepare the night before and send your child to school with a hot lunch in a thermos.
- 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 potatoes, chopped
- 1 cup frozen green beans or peas
- 1 28-oz jar or diced tomatoes (including the juice)
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup button mushrooms (optional)
- ½ cup celery, chopped
- 1 Tbs dried basil
- 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
In a large soup pot, heat the oil and add the garlic, celery, and potatoes. Saute the onion until translucent. Add the tomatoes, broth, water, basil, and beans. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the green beans or peas, black beans, mushrooms, and balsamic vinegar. Simmer until the green beans or peas are done.
Additional allergy free healthy lunch ideas
Kids love the little extras parents pack in the lunches, so we’ve given you a few ideas.
Ready made healthy snacks. Every kid loves snacks, and there are several brands parents can count on to be safe, healthy, and tasty. Two of them include Made Good (granola bars and minis made from all organic ingredients: whole grains, dried fruits, and full serving of vegetables in every serving; all free of dairy, soy, egg, gluten, sesame, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish), and Healthy Crunch (allergy-free, non-GMO trail mix, coconut chips, and kale chips)
Fresh fruit: Always a favorite are fresh berries, bananas, grapes, and apple slices.
Seeds: Chia seeds, hemp seeds, hulled sunflower seeds, hulled pumpkin seeds–on their own or along with fruit or stirred into hummus dip and enjoyed with raw veggies.
Sweet potato toast: Sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants, and the toppings can be nutritious as well! To make sweet potato toast, slice the potato into ¼ to ½ inch slices. Place the slices in a toaster and toast several times until they are cooked through. Place the cooked slices in a bento box with any of the following toppings: guacamole and salsa, shelled pumpkin seeds and hummus, sliced apples and almond butter, chia seeds and banana
You can be sure to send your kids off to school with an allergy-free healthy school lunch if you include these ideas. Keep a list on your refrigerator and make adjustments as you go along. You’ll know that when you pack a lunch, you’ll be sending them to school with safe, healthy food.
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