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nut free lunch Ideas
I get a lot of questions from people about suggestions for nut free lunch ideas.
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 not 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. I thought it might be helpful if I gathered all of my nut free lunches all in one place for you.
Before we get to the lunches, 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, you can substitute it in any recipe that calls for peanut butter. 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. If your school just prohibits peanuts, then there are lots of other nut butter options you can try.
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.
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 nuts, 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 an allergy please just use my lunches as a guideline for ideas, but always carefully read packages to ensure that you know what you are 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 own research please.