By Anita Wallak, MS, RD, LDN
Founder, Eat Right To Live Right
Now that school has started, the dreaded school lunch has most parents’ brains in a tailspin—especially for the parents of children with food intolerances or allergies. With an 11 and 8-year-old that have totally different tastes, and one with a gluten/dairy intolerance, I understand completely. Even as a Registered Dietitian (RD), I found myself stressed over what to put in their lunch boxes.
The solution? Create a menu
One that is kid friendly, nutrient dense, satisfying, and can be altered for food intolerances or allergies. These lunches all have 4 key components. They contain a hunger busting protein, a nutrient dense fruit and/or vegetable, a complex carbohydrates for energy, and a treat.
For best nutrition, avoid excess sugar
I use organic, unprocessed brands to avoid excess sugar, preservatives, food dyes, and unwanted toxic ingredients. Any of the foods listed on this menu can be substituted for your favorite dairy-free, vegan or gluten-free versions.
You can take help from the store whenever possible, just be sure you can pronounce the ingredients! Supermarkets offer lots of healthy prepared foods in the fresh cooked or frozen section that have no preservatives or unwanted stuff.
Two weeks of school lunches your child will eat, not matter what your situation is
Taco meat – turkey, beef, chicken, buffalo or beans
Sliced, fresh mango
Tuna, salmon, chicken or egg salad
Crackers or plantain chips
Sugar snap peas
2 graham cracker squares
Grilled chicken fingers with a biscuit
Sliced red bell peppers
⅛ cup chocolate chips
Peanut butter, sunflower butter, tahini paste or almond butter WITH honey or jelly sandwich
Trail mix (Pistachios, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, raisins, mini chocolate chips, mini marshmellows)
Italian or french bread (for df & gf Schar brand)
Rice or noodle chicken soup
Broccoli with ranch dressing
2 small cookies
Hard boiled or deviled eggs
Hummus or tzsaiki with pita bread
Celery/carrots/sliced bell pepper/cucumbers
Turkey, ham, salami and/or cheese wrap roll-ups
Lettuce, tomato, mustard and/or mayo
Anita Wallak is the founder of Eat Right To Live Right and is a Registered & Licensed Dietitian in the State of North Carolina. She has her MS in Nutrition and has been in the field of nutrition for 20 years. She is a member of Dietitians of Integrative & Functional Medicine and The American Dietetic Association.
Anita works with individuals who are struggling with a variety of digestive issues leading to pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation & more. She teaches her clients how to identify which foods are triggering their symptoms so they can regulate digestion, manage their symptoms and enjoy food again.