Protein options for nut-free lunches

A friend from the US who recently moved to Canada was surprised  to find out about our nut-free policy at schools. I was equally surprised to find out that where she taught in the US, the kids with allergies sit separately from the other children who are allowed to bring in peanut butter and the like. The surprise turned to semi-panic at the thought that peanut butter is now never an option for her son’s school lunch. The conversation moved to what I pack for protein in my kids’ lunches. This week another mom asked the same thing so here’s a list of 10 healthy lunches, including protein that helps us all to feel energized and stay focused.

  1. Canned baked beans (look for lower sodium options), wedges of whole wheat pita, pear slices, cucumber coins, raw carrots, yogurt cup, water
  2. Bento-box style lunch: Hard-cooked egg, bread sticks, red pepper “rings”, yogurt tube, mini homemade muffin, milk in a thermos
  3. Whole-grain wrap spread with hummus and filled with chopped lettuce and shredded carrots (or have carrots on the side), mandarin orange cup, raw broccoli and grape tomatoes with ranch dip, water
  4. Leftover dinner meats added to lower sodium canned vegetable soup served hot in a thermos, whole grain crackers with cheese, cut up kiwi, water
  5. Egg/tuna/salmon salad stuffed into mini whole wheat pitas (or on a hot dog bun or with whole grain crackers), raw cauliflower and green beans with yogurt dip, apple, water
  6. Cheese and soft fruit “kabobs” (on straws), celery sticks filled with hummus, cheesy bread sticks, homemade cookies, water
  7. Cold mini quiche, small whole grain roll with hard cheese and lettuce, frozen berries stirred into Greek yogurt, water
  8. Whole wheat couscous salad (or quinoa, with chickpeas or any bean, frozen peas and preferred salad dressing), tangerine, Greek yogurt, water
  9. Stir fry with brown rice (fresh or frozen veggies with diced tofu and any store bought lower sodium sauce) in a thermos, cantaloupe pieces, water
  10. Egg fried rice (use up leftover rice and veggies or frozen veggies) in a thermos, apple, nut-free granola bar, water