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The Lunchbox Challenge

OK Moms, Allergy free lunch for a week!

Packing a school lunchbox has become an exercise in memory, nutrition and flavour of the month, all before you have had your morning coffee. You need to know all the school's forbidden foods, your child's favourite of the moment and try to make the lunchbox as nutritious and appealing as possible. Challenging indeed.

Nuts, wheat, dairy, corn, soy and eggs are the most common allergens posted in schools today and banned from the lunchbox. What does that leave? You need to plan ahead for meals, research other options and get really creative.

Fortunately there are many tools in the market today to help. If you are gluten and dairy free (GFCF), investing in a good thermos or bento box is a good bet. There are numerous choices in products in order to avoid top allergens- dairy free yogurts and cheese, egg and soy free choices and gluten free baked goods. Sticking to fresh whole foods as much as you can forms the basis of good nutrition, as well as cutting down the processed lunch foods with additives, colourings and preservatives. Getting children to enjoy water with natural flavourings or even herbal teas, instead of sugary juices or soda, can be better choices for hydration.

Just a five day sample of ideas for safe and innovative lunches:

Day 1- coconut wrap with ham, sprouts and hummus, banana, dried raisins/cranberries and granola, water with mint leaves

Day 2- mixed wild rice with baked salmon, rice crispie clusters with melted chocolate, chopped pears and raspberry mix, slices of cucumber, water with lemon slice

Day 3- beans and sausage, seed crackers, apple slices with sunbutter, sliced carrots, water with orange slice

Day 4- creamy carrot soup, GF zucchini muffin, handful of dates, slices of cantaloupe, cold mint tea

Day 5- vegetable stir fry with left over veg/rice from the week, blueberries, casava chips, and cold strawberry tea

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