Packed Lunches and Food Allergies

Weight loss, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, food allergies, etc.

Packed Lunches and Food Allergies

Postby Libby » Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:45 pm

Hi everyone,

My 5 year old son (in Kindergarten) has multiple, severe, food allergies, so packing a lunch is a necessity for him. I don't make bento lunches, per se, but am always on the lookout for any good ideas I can find to put some more variety, nutrition, and kid appeal into his lunchbox.

I'm hoping that this thread will bring other FA lunch packers out of the woodwork to share some tips!
Packing lunches for a Kindergartener allergic to shellfish, nuts, eggs, beef, lamb, and all dairy products.
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Re: Packed Lunches and Food Allergies

Postby jskidmoreca » Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:57 pm

Libby, no doubt you will find something here! Bet it won't be long before you will be "bento-ing" like the rest of us!
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Re: Packed Lunches and Food Allergies

Postby HeyChelle » Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:00 pm

:raising hand:
I'm another mom of a food allergic kid. My little man (3 yo) also has multiple food allergies, although they are not severe.
"I roll with food." is pretty much my motto.
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Re: Packed Lunches and Food Allergies

Postby bayview » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:15 pm

Hi, my DS (5) also has multiple and severe allergies...dairy, eggs, sesame, fish and nuts. He is also a very careful (and picky) eater. I decided to pack a bento for him b/c the sandwiches I was packing kept coming back uneaten. The bento box has been a big hit so far -- he constantly tells me it's "cool" and nine times out of 10, he's finished the lunch I pack him. I try to make it fun by using the little food picks, cups and other cute bento gear, and it's been working, knock wood.

I usually pack him pasta, fruit and a protein of some sort, whether it's tofu, turkey bacon or ham. At around the age of four he took a sudden and violent disliking to almost all vegetables, much to my frustration.

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Re: Packed Lunches and Food Allergies

Postby TiaLD77 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:11 pm

well, I dont have an Allergic "kid" per say to pack for, but this summer I found out I do have food allergies, most are Mild reactions.
Milk & raw garlic though are big problems, though if it is cooked I am usually ok in small portions.
I laughed heartily when they told me I was allergic to rice & Shrimp...2 of my favorite foods.
New to the Bento Obsession :)
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Re: Packed Lunches and Food Allergies

Postby Pangolin » Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:51 pm

No FA kids here (yet!), but a suggestion: if you list the allergies you're working around, someone else might have suggestions for you. I don't have any food allergies, but the rest of my family does, which makes for interesting substitutions and workd-arounds for meals.

For my family the degrees of allerigies vary, but no one likes feeling sick, so we've always done our best to avoid anything that made anyone sick - which meant somtimes having to really reach for good substitutions.

The alleriges that we contend with for my brother and parents:
-milk (it's the proteins, not just the lactose) This is the kicker because in addition to no milk, there's no ice cream, no cheese, no cream, and no cream/milk-based sauces.
-nuts (it's the molds that grow on them, so peanuts (not really a nut) and slivered almonds are okay, but the others are out)
-onions (any way you want them!) also includes leeks, shallots - anything even remotely related
-olive oil
-tomatoes (usually only in tomato-based things, where it's is primarily tomato)
-overly spicy stuff is out as well, due to medical issues, so lots of taste, but not much "heat"

You'd be surprised how easy/hard it can be to accomodate everyone at once if you are/aren't willing. When we were little, it wasn't uncommon for us to get a pizza for me and mom (who shouldn't have eaten it, but did), then mom had to make spaghetti for my brother, and my dad might have spaghetti noodles with something else on them.

This past Thanksgiving we had 17 people. In addition to my brother and parents' allergies we also had to accomodate for vegetarian, gluten-free, and low-fat. We had five kinds of stuffing and two pasts salads! It was crazy, but everyone was accomodated and left absolutely stuffed!
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Re: Packed Lunches and Food Allergies

Postby Libby » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:13 am

Pangolin, that's an excellent suggestion! My son is allergic to peanuts, shellfish, eggs, cows and goats milk (and anything dairy made from them), beef, and lamb. I'll update my signature to include that info, too. [Update: we also avoid tree nuts due to concerns about cross contamination.]

One question I'd love to put out there, is whether anyone has any alternative uses for all the absolutely adorable egg molds? They are a tool that I'm unable to use due to the egg allergy. Using them to shape cheese is also out of the question.

Packing lunches for a Kindergartener allergic to shellfish, nuts, eggs, beef, lamb, and all dairy products.
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Re: Packed Lunches and Food Allergies

Postby picapica » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:24 am


I feel your frustration, my pre-school aged daughter only shares some of your son's food allergies (all dairy (including amounts used in baking), eggs, and all nuts). I've found that cooking vegan +meat has been our friend. This was a huge change for me since my husband is a vegetarian, and previously we had cooked with a lot of eggs, milk, cheese and butter and not any meat (I eat meat, but I usually ate it out, so I don't really know much about cooking it). Some of the things my daughter likes in her lunch are mini-muffins (check out the Vegan Lunch box, Veginomican, or Vegan with a Vengeance for some seriously wonderful muffin/breakfast food/bread as well as excellent suggestions for milk and egg substitution in baking), and I do both sweet muffins (carrot/pineapple, banana, blueberry) as well as savory ones (corn bread, or her favorite - corn bread muffins with hot-dogs in them - you could use veggie or turkey dogs), noodles (rice or wheat pasta) with a "peanut" sauce made from sunflower butter (I can find sunflower butter increasingly at larger grocery stores, specialty/organic stores like Whole Foods/Trader Joes and even at Target), hummus and carrot sticks or other veggies for dunking, dumplings or goyza (I buy these usually vegetarian, but I think they have chicken ones too). I usually to a big batch of something on the weekend, just to stock the freezer - red sauce for pasta with lots of pureed veggies, muffins, vegan mac -n cheez (white sauce with soy or oat milk, flower, Earthbalance with nutritional yeast, onion, salt and pepper, sometimes I add Tofutti Soy Cheese also, but it's not necessary). Since her pre-school serves lunch, I try to match her lunch with the school menu when I can, but sometimes it's not realistic. One other thing on the muffins- I also try to keep a thing of homemade chocolate frosting in the fridge for during those holiday times of the year (Valentines Day, Winter Holidays, the monthy birthday celebrations) when parents bring in cupcakes to school. Since she can't eat those, I pull a muffin out of the freezer, frost it, and put it in a container that won't smush it too much so that she has something similar to what they have. Also, if you don't already know about Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, you might want to check out a copy. I've made a different birthday cake and various special occasion cakes for the past 3 years from there and everyone (omni as well as FA guests) have loved them.
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