25+ Grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free Paleo school lunch and snack ideas1
September means that it’s officially back-to-school routines and with that comes all the joys (or headaches?) of packing lunches. Now that my son is getting older, we’re trying to get him more involved in making his own lunches.
Alison from Health Nut Nation, has this awesome video of ideas for school lunches AND how to get your kids to help.
For us, it’s easy enough to include a protein and veggies, since the protein included in his typical lunch is usually leftover roasted chicken or stew or some other dish from last-night’s dinner that we warm up and put in an insulated container. But, if you’re stuck for ideas beyond leftovers, I’ve included some options for those below too.
Veggies can be as simple as cutting up raw mushrooms, cucumbers, or carrots, a handful of cherry tomatoes or some combination of the like. Kale Chips (this recipe from Whole New Mom), are also a favorite. When the weather gets cooler, a thermos of soup (like this creamy leek soup) is always comforting.
One of our earliest challenges, in going grain-free as a household though, was finding little snack-y extras to include. Don’t get me wrong – there is plenty of fruit included as ‘snacks’. My son loves his fruit and could (and probably does) eat his weight in apples and bananas. But, it can be hard for a kid who is eating “clean”, to look around and see his classmates munching away on candy fruit snacks, cookies and the like.
To make things easier for us and other ‘Paleo’ families, I’ve rounded-up some of my family’s favorite school lunch and snack recipes, and those of some of my favorite bloggers. These lunch and snack recipes are grain-free, and nut-free, since many classrooms these days prohibit nuts.
Protein options for lunch:
As I said before, more often than not, set aside leftovers for lunch the next day. One of our favorite things to do is batch-cook a bunch of meatballs on the weekend for using in lunches for the upcoming week. The great thing is meatballs freeze well too! In a pinch, there’s always the last minute boiled eggs, or some good quality deli-meats like roast beef, salami etc. Check the list for some other awesome ideas:
Autoimmune Paleo Cilantro Meatballs from Canada Girl Eats Paleo
Better-than-Ikea Swedish Meatballs from Ravenous Venus
Curried Chicken Salad from Autoimmune Paleo
Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Cups from My Heart Beets
Trail Mix Tuna from Predominantly Paleo
Bacon Deviled Eggs from Civilized Caveman Cooking
Paleo Turkey Roll-ups with Avocado Dressing from Ditch the Wheat
Breakfast Skewers by Paleo Kitchen Lab
Paleo Pretzel Dogs from A Girl Worth Saving
Bacon Burger Dogs from Nummy for My Tummy
Granola, granola bars and trail mix:
These granola and trail mix recipes are all nut-free, so that they’re still school-safe. They’re great because growing bodies with growing brains need plenty of good fats, which can be found in foods like eggs and avocados, or in a seed and coconut- packed mix of goodness!
Paleo Cereal (contains seeds)
Nut-Free Paleo Chewy Granola Bars from The Paleo Mom
No-Nut Trail Mix Recipe from Paleo Newbie
Puddings & “Jello”:
I like making puddings ahead of time. Mix up a batch in a large bowl and then divide them up in smaller, single serving containers. During the school week, it’s just a matter of including a serving (& a spoon!) in the lunch box.
Pumpkin Pudding (I make just the filling without the crust from this pie recipe)
Raspberry Sherbet Chia Pudding from GI 365
Homemade “Jello” Gelatin from Whole New Mom
Cookies, Bars, Brownies etc.:
Cookies go awfully fast at my house. I’ve now learned that it’s better to make a double-batch, allow some immediate fresh-from-the-oven snacking and also freeze some for later! It’s nice to have a little freezer stash when the mood hits, or when you’ve realized you’re out of fruit and other snack options.
Coconut Cups (with or without the chocolate coating)
2 Ingredient Banana Coconut Cookies from Grok Grub
Chocolate Chip Cookies from Predominantly Paleo
PeaNot Butter Cookies from Predominantly Paleo
Energy Balls (contain seeds) from Primally Inspired
Paleo Chewy Coconut Brownie Bites (contain egg whites) from Beauty and the Foodie
Homemade Protein Bars (contain seeds) from Whole New Mom
Raisin Seed Cookies from The Paleo Mom
I’m not a fan of the commercially available gummy snacks – as evidenced by my post on the marketing and ingredients behind these things. But, gelatin is such a nutritious and gut-healing food that I do think they’re well worth making your own. I highly recommend buying quality gelatin made from grass-fed animals – the Great Lakes brand is great. I’m in Canada, so I’ve had great experiences ordering Great Lakes gelatin from iHerb.
Honey Orange Fruit Snacks from Delicious Obsessions
Yummy Gummy Candy (sugar free) from Whole New Mom
Kombucha & Fruit Gummies from Real Food RN
Cinnamon Coconut Gummies from Ditch the Wheat
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