Peanut free lunch box ideas

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by Rachel Harris, The Manic but Managed Mom

azfamily.com

Posted on September 8, 2010 at 7:00 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 10 at 1:32 PM

Do you have a nut allergy in your family?  Tree nuts or peanuts?  There is a difference and it can be confusing.  Tree nuts are all of the other kind of nuts like almonds, cashews and walnuts.  My daughter has a tree nut allergy and I find myself explaining the difference with the start of each new school year. *But, first a quick disclaimer - I'm just a Mom who's done research due to my daughter's allergies. If you suspect your child has a nut allergy talk to your doctor and have your child tested. This information should not be construed as professional medical advice just some motherly advice.

Oddly enough even though my daughter can’t have tree nuts, she can have peanuts, but she has some friends that can enjoy an almond, but can't come close to a peanut.  That can make for a tricky play date come snack time.  Plus the list her friends who can't eat peanuts is growing.

According a recent report published by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, cases of peanut allergies in kids have more than tripled and over a ten-year period and 3 million Americans now are allergic to some kind of nut. 

With all of this talk about nut allergies, I decided to write today's column about peanut-free lunches kids.  I enlisted the help of an expert to give me some creative ideas when it comes to filling the daily lunch box with foods that are peanut allergy safe. 
Bronwyn Marmo is the Public Relations Director for Barney's Premium Foods, which produces an all natural almond butter called Barney Butter.  This almond butter is peanut free and made in an almond only facility.  Barney Butter is gluten free, has no trans fats, no hydrogenated oils and contains half of the saturated fat of peanut butter.  And kids like that it doesn't have to be stirred or refrigerated.  Founded by a mom, the company's history is cool to know about, too.

Barney’s Premium Foods was founded in 2006 by Jennifer Barney in her Fresno, California home when she was searching for a healthy alternative to peanut butter for her four young children.  Barney Butter became an instant success and it is now available in 10 ounce and 16 ounce jars, as well as 90-calorie snack packs. 

The snack packs are perfect for kids to take to school in their lunch boxes and easy for moms to throw in their purse or gym bag for a quick protein boost.  You can buy Barney Butter at Whole Foods and in the natural foods section of major grocery stores or at www.BarneyButter.com.

Read on to see unique and tasty peanut-free lunch ideas for kids that I think both you and your children will enjoy.  Bronwyn created five ideas for each school day, so we've got your whole week covered. 

Monday's marvelous lunch box menu:
*Barney Butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread cut in triangle shapes with the crust removed, kid style.  When purchasing a whole wheat loaf, my Mother always told me to buy 100% whole wheat.  Sara Lee's 100% whole wheat bread is the one brand that my kids and I agree on.
*A Clementine, also called "Cuties."
*Fruit Yogurt with peanut free granola sprinkled on top.
*Barney Butter 90-calorie snack pack that you and your kids will both find tasty.  Simply spread on nut free crackers, apples, bananas and anything else you want to try it on.

Tuesday's tasty lunch box menu:
*Tortilla roll-up made with turkey slices, American cheese and lettuce.
*Unsweetened applesauce in single serving cup.  I like to sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top.
*Graham crackers, but be sure to check the label to ensure that the crackers are truly nut-free and aren't made in a facility that makes peanuts.  Fortunately, labels have become much easier to read when it comes to nut ingredients.

Wednesday's wonderful lunch box menu:
*A mini bagel filled with Honey Bunny Cream Cheese which is made with cream cheese, honey and baby carrot shreds.
*Fresh red or green grapes, but be sure to cut them up as whole grapes can be a choking hazard.
*Small bag of popcorn which is a healthy whole grain snack.

Thursday's terrific lunch box menu:
*Sandwich on a stick or "stick-wich" which is cubes of bread, cheese, lunch meat, grape tomatoes, a piece of lettuce, and pickle slid on a popsicle stick. 
*Baby carrots with Ranch dressing and raw veggies are really healthy and tasty to kids.
*Tortilla chips.

Friday's fabulous and fun lunch box menu:
*Hardboiled egg with a heart or smiley face drawn on the shell or a single serving of string cheese in wrapper.
*Alphabet soup in a thermos which will be appealing when as we move into Fall. 
*Fishies  - Goldfish ingredients say that there are no nuts, however double check each label on snacks. 
And if you have any creative peanut-free lunch ideas, share them here in the comments section as I love hearing what other Moms make for their own kiddos.

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