I've gathered all of my nut free lunches in one easy place for you!
I get a lot of questions from people about suggestions for nut free lunch ideas. But actually, most of the lunches I pack don't have nuts in them. We do not have any allergies, and we do not go to a nut free school. But because I am always striving for variety, and my kids are huge nut eaters, I end up packing a lot of lunches without nuts anyway. Even though ours is not, I know a lot of schools now are nut free, and I know so many of you struggle for ideas for lunches without nuts, that I thought it might be helpful if I gathered them all in one place for you.
In addition to all of my lunches without nuts, I have a few tips for you:
- Any time peanut butter is called for, just substitute sunflower seed butter. Because it's a seed and not a nut, most schools do allow it, and most kids won't notice a difference. I've packed plenty of "PB&J" sandwiches where the PB was actually SB, and my kids never noticed. Sunflower seed butter is also great for baking too. And you can even make a version of an Asian "peanut sauce" for dipping with sunbutter instead of peanut butter, and nobody will notice the difference.
- I've also heard of folks using sesame seed butter (tahini) or soy nut butter. I've had both and I think they're ok. Soy nut butter tastes a bit more like peanut butter, so I think it would be a better 1 to 1 substitute, if you are ok with having soy. If you can't have soy, then I think tahini is worth a try. I don't think it would be quite the same for dipping celery in, or putting on a sandwich, but for baking in a recipe that calls for peanut butter, I think it's worth a try.
- Any time whole nuts are required in a recipe, you can certainly just leave them out. If you're looking for that added crunch as a topping, try other crunchy things - crush dried banana chips, or get a nut free granola. You can also get roasted and salted soy nut, or try sunflower seeds - they will give you a similar texture.
One final disclaimer: As I said, we do not have nut allergies. I am not an expert on whether or not a product contains traces of nuts. If you have a severe allergy then please just use my lunches as a guideline, but always carefully read packages to ensure that you know what your getting. All of the items I have shown in these lunches do not contain nuts in the ingredients, but I can't guarantee that they are all from a totally nut free facility. Do your research.