How to create an allergy-free lunchbox for your child. Advice for Au Pairs, Nannies & Moms

Nowadays there are so many things to consider before packing our little ones a school lunch for the day. Some of these factors include practicality (will the lunch box item make other items sticky) and allergies (we have to keep in mind that other children may be allergic to certain ingredients such as nuts and dairy)

Lunch Box Ideas

  • Turkey and cheese rolled up
  • Fresh Berries
  • Trail Mix
  • Pita Bread
  • Sliced Oranges, Apples, Bananas, Strawberries, Grapes and Raspberries
  • Pretzels
  • Baby carrots
  • Pasta Salad
  • Granola Bar
  • Crackers
  • Muesli and breakfast bars
  • Cheddar Cubes
  • Sandwich (we recommend on Low GI Bread or Brown Bread as it is a slow energy release)
  • Hot Dogs
  • Samosas
  • Chicken drumsticks and chicken pieces
  • Greek Salad with Tuna
  • Greek Salad with Chicken
  • Spaghetti Bolognese
  • Biltong

Toddler Friendly Lunch Box Ideas

Children who have just started on solids will require different meals to older children and adults. Here are some quick and healthy meal ideas for your toddler:

  • Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese with a small serving of applesauce
  • Sweet potato and steamed veggie greens
  • Yoghurt with fruit chopped up finely (too big and they will choke)
  • Banana mashed up
  • Mashed up pasta with mashed up peas and butternut
  • Fish fingers and sweet potato
  • Spaghetti Bolognese
  • Cottage pie with veggie mix and butternut

Typical afternoon snacks for children

Whilst it is important to ensure our children are never hungry, it is also important to ensure they maintain a healthy appetite and balanced lifestyle. Children should not be given a snack after 16:30 as it ruins their appetite for dinner.

Here are some fun ideas for afternoon snacks:

  • Fruit salad and greek yoghurt
  • A handful of nuts
  • Chopped up carrots and cucumbers
  • Ham and cheese sandwich
  • Mini Pizzas
  • Mini Burgers
  • Raisons
  • Biltong
  • Popcorn
  • Fruit and yoghurt jelly cups
  • Banana, oat and seed cookies
  • Nut-free apricot balls
  • Coconut and strawberry muffins

Lunch Box No No’s

As mentioned earlier, there are certain items that simply cannot go into your child’s lunch box due to practical and allergy reasons.

The following items are not recommended in your child’s lunch box:

  • Chocolate (as it decreases the children’s focus levels and increases the child’s energy levels)
  • Chips (they are a fatty snack full of oil)
  • Chewing gum (this isn’t food and is a chocking hazard)
  • Suckers (Increase the children’s energy levels and is a choking hazard)
  • Nuts/peanuts (this is a common allergy amongst children)
  • Peanut butter (Nut allergy)
  • Biscuits
  • Juice

How to deal with an allergic reaction

Don’t panic and stay calm. If you don’t, it could exacerbate the situation and cause your child to become more panicked. Take a few deep breaths, analyse the situation and your child’s condition and then take the necessary action from there.

When it comes to these type of emergency situations (allergic reactions), it is important to know that you can and should prepare for them incase they do happen (which they will, trust me).

For example:

If you know your child is asthmatic and is prone to asthma attacks, be sure to inform any of your employees such as a nanny, gardener, tutor, au pair or governess that your child could experience such an attack and provide them with the necessary information and an additional inhaler (Asthma pump)

If you know a child is allergic to bees, be sure to keep an epipen on you at all times.

In any event that you aren’t sure of something and the child’s symptoms start to worsen, take the child to the closest emergency room.

Best Drink Ideas for Lunch Boxes

It is recommend that children be given either water or milk in their lunch boxes. Water is fantastic for keeping hydrated, fit and healthy, whilst milk helps the bones grow stronger and healthier. Sweet drinks such as fruit juices, juice drinks, cordials, sports drinks, flavoured mineral waters, soft drinks and fizzy drinks are high in sugar and not necessary. Fizzy drinks are a serious no no in any lunch box as it invites tooth decay and possible health issues later on down the line such as diabetes.

Why is my child not eating their lunch?

This is a common frustration amongst most of the families that I have worked with. Whilst it is incredibly frustrating, we need to remember that there may be a reason your child isn’t eating their lunch.

The reasons could be as follows:

  • They may not like what their lunch box looks like – take them to the shops with you to make them feel excited about eating lunch and being apart of the decision making process. Make eating stylish
  • Your child may be bored of the food you are giving them. Try and change things up a bit. Why not cut shapes out of the bread and make your child a sandwich made out of shapes. It is a fun way to eat and learn!
  • The food may be too dry
  • The food may be too sticky (Children with sensory issues may not like this)

Dinner Ideas:

  • Beef stroganoff
  • Spaghetti Bolognese
  • Chicken, polenta and veggies (side salad optional)
  • Chicken stew, rice, green beans and butternut (side salad optional)
  • Cottage pie with veggies
  • Chicken Pasta with Napoletana sauce
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Fish, veggies and chips
  • Fish and salad
  • Fish, rice and salad
  • Chops, mash potato, pies and mashed butternut
  • Tuna and avocado wrap
  • Chicken/Tune Wrap
  • Chicken Pasta
  • Beef Pasta

Additional Information:

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For additional questions, please kindly contact us directly

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