Back to School Lunch Ideas

To All Parents,

Welcome to the new school year!  One of the most popular questions I get from parents is what to pack their kids for lunch when they test for food sensitivities and/or allergies.  As I do my best to combine what my kids love to eat with what nourishes them, the fact is that food sensitivities are not a consistent issue in my family.  To add to current advice given to patients, I asked Boundless Well-Being’s Patient Ally, Crystal Holmes, to share her tried and true experiences for kids with alternate needs.  I have seen firsthand her commitment and creativity to food choices that have created a world of difference for herself and her family.

The one thing I’d add is to buy your kids thermoses for hot food.  Once Fall hits, eating stews, soups, and bone broth will greatly aid in your child’s immature digestive system and foster healing of the gut on a daily basis.

Love, Vivianne

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In hopes of making the transition back to school flow smoothly, I hope this information will leave you inspired and prepared for the busy back-to-school days ahead.
  1. Leftovers – This is by far my favorite way to prepare lunches. Make a little extra food at dinner time and you have lunch for the next day (or two!) Check out this great resource for make-ahead meals and diet-specific menus:
  2. Soup – Another great make-ahead option that will provide several main dish lunch servings. Nothing beats a simple chicken soup that can be customized to use vegetables that you have on hand. Here’s one of my favorite recipes:
  3. Smoothies – packed with fruits and vegetables, and easy to transport in a thermos, these are another great nutrient-dense choice.
  4. Fresh fruits & veggies – these are a common choice, but try to mix it up and use seasonal options. Serving with a healthy homemade dip makes them more fun to eat! Try mashed avocado with lemon juice and sea salt or check out this Tahini Dressing – use less water to make a thicker consistency.
  5. Salad – for my family, this is much easier with one child than the other. Some crisp romaine or “cute” (as my daughter would say) micro-greens with a few cut up veggies and a side of homemade dressing is a great side dish. If you don’t have the time for homemade, check your local grocer for Tessemae’s dressings (or that are truly natural and use only healthy oils. Our favorite is the French Vinaigrette.
  6. Tuna/Chicken/Salmon salad – These are a favorite in my home and can be customized in so many ways! Skip the mayo and use olive oil, celery seed, salt, and pepper for an egg-free version. Instead of using bread try: romaine lettuce boats, wraps with Bibb lettuce or collard greens, serve with celery sticks or apple slices as a “dip”, rice crackers, make cucumber sandwiches, rice flour tortillas…or just eat it right out of the dish!
  7. Veggie chips – kale chips are all the rage right now, and for good reason. Kale is a super-food and baking it into chips makes it more palatable and fun to eat! Brussel sprout leaves, carrots, or zucchini slices also work well! Here is a great recipe for kale chips:
  8. Dehydrated fruits & veggies – Let your imagination go wild with this one! You can dehydrate any fruit or vegetable (even meats, fish, and herbs) and make a healthy snack that is easy to pack. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your oven, set on the lowest temperature setting, or simply leave the light on and the door ajar.
  9. Gummies/Fruit Snacks – these are a super easy on-the-go snack that provide gut-healing yumminess!
  10. Assorted finger foods and treats
    1. Hard boiled eggs, olives, pickles
    2. Almond/cashew/sunflower seed butter (Try Justin’s brand individual serving packs)
    3. Mini muffins
    4. These are great for peanut-free schools and there is even an egg-free option!
    5. There is also a lot of great lunch box inspiration here as well:

-Crystal Holmes, Boundless Well-Being Patient Ally