I am the mother to a wonderful daughter who happens to have a severe nut allergy. Not just peanuts, not just tree nuts, but ALL nuts. We first discovered Faith’s allergies when she was about 6 months old and was spitting up a lot in addition to not gaining weight. Our pediatrician referred us to an allergist to be tested and we found out she was allergic to almost everything it seemed. As she grew up she grew out of many of the allergies and by the age of three, she was only testing allergic to nuts and eggs. We carried on with life, buying the epipen, but not always carrying it.
However in December 2010 our world and how we viewed Faith’s allergies took a huge spin. During an event where there was a cookie potluck, Faith had been playing with another kid (who it turns out had eaten a peanut butter cookie). She was in the restroom when a friend came to me and said, “Does Faith ever have trouble breathing?”. My heart went into my throat. I said yes and ran to the bathroom. By that point Faith had taken off her shoes and was crying and gasping. I picked her up and ran for the epipen.
Now here is where the BIG bad mommy moment comes…I didn’t GIVE her the epipen because she was still breathing. I thought, “do I just give it if she stops breathing”? I was on the phone with 911 and begging them to tell me what to do. They advised, “do what your doctor told you.” Wow, thanks a lot. I didn’t recall my doctor telling me when to give the epipen…was it trouble breathing or no breathing?? Wasn’t there something that had to be given after an epipen?? The medics arrived quickly and still NO epipen was given. They didn’t really know what to do either. She was still gasping for breath and her skin had started to show petechia. We were loaded into the ambulance and rushed to the ER. Once admitted it was discovered her oxygen sats were down in the low 80s and she was given a breathing treatment and hooked up to an IV. Thankfully, the treatments succeeded and she recovered.
I’m sharing this because I’m going to start sharing the nut free school lunches I make for my daughters each day. I’m hoping hearing my story will help others see that “nut free” allergies are a life or death threat to some of our kids. To my kid for one. At the end of the day I just want her to live through school, literally. Hopefully this will inspire some of you who have to pack nut-free school lunches because of a school rule or because of your own child.
So, onto the lunches! :)
Week 1 Nut-Free School Lunches
Top Right: mini whole wheat bagel with garden cream cheese and turkey; cheese stick; snow peas & tomatoes; strawberries.
[Items used: Rubbermaid LunchBlox Kid’s Tall Lunch Box Kit]
Bottom Left: sliced ham; soy sauce crackers; cheese wedge; carrots; cucumber; mango.
[Items used: Ziploc Container, Divided Rectangle, Pantry Elements Silicone Baking Cups]
Bottom Right: chicken noodle soup in thermos; mini cucumbers & mini bell peppers; strawberries.
[Items used: Thermos Foogo Leak-Proof Stainless Steel Food Jar]
40 Weeks of Kid’s School Lunches: Week 1 (Why we’re Nut Free!) | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14 | Week 15 | Week 16 |
Week 17 | Week 18 | Week 19 | Week 20 | Week 21 | Week 22 | Week 23 | Week 24 | Week 25 | Week 26 | Week 27 | Week 28 | Week 29 | Week 30 (Spring Break) | Week 31 | Week 32 | Week 33 | Week 34 | Week 35 | Week 36 | Week 37 | Week 38
Sunday 19th of September 2021
This is incredible, thank you so much! My son started Kindergarten this year and is allergic to peanut, eggs, soy, sesame, and sunflower. Making his lunches is challenging sometimes. Thank you for more ideas!
Friday 30th of August 2019
I just wanted to say I really appreciate how much time you took to put together all these lunch ideas. My daughter does not have a nut allergy but her school is nut-free. She's the kind of kid who eats a peanut butter sandwich every day and I am at a complete loss as to what to pack her, so this series has been a great inspiration to me, and hopefully I'll come up with something she'll actually eat. ^_^
Friday 30th of August 2019
That's great to hear, thanks, Michelle! Hopefully, you'll get some great ideas. Consider getting a cookbook or letting her shop with you and come up with ideas she likes. I find both of my girls are way better about growing their palettes when they feel in control of the choices. :)
Monday 3rd of September 2018
Thank you for sharing your story and your recipe ideas. The elementary school in our district is nut-free, but not the middle nor the High School. The reasoning for this (& they start the training in elementary) is that these kids need to learn how to live safely in a "Nutty world". While all this is happening, there are 3 other kids in the school who have the exact same life- threatening allergy : 2 of the kids to eggs & 1 to dairy proteins. You won't believe what dairy is found in. The dairy-allergy kid was given a piece of gum and had a full-on anaphylactic reaction - later discovering that brand of gum has dairy in it. She is allergic to whey & casein. If she touches anything with these proteins she goes into anaphylactic shock. The 2 kids with egg allergies are just as bad. Yet these allergies are not given the same priority. A lot of the lunches you have here would kill these 3 kids. My daughter's class has a peanut allergy kid, egg allergy kid & the dairy allergy kid- all 3 different kids. Bringing in treats that take ALL kids into consideration is incredibly difficult - vegan options work for 2 of them but not always for the nut allergy. I sometimes get the impression that the general population only think peanut & nut allergies are life-threatening & that other food allergies are minor. All food allergies should be taken seriously.
Monday 3rd of September 2018
I absolutely agree! Perhaps you had missed why I started this whole series, it was because of my daughter's allergies to nuts, not because of school rules.
Tuesday 19th of September 2017
Hi! We are not a not free family, or nut free school. However there are LOTS of kiddos with allergies. My son's friend is allergic to eggs and nuts. His 2 favorite lunch items? PB&J and egg salad. I started making an egg free sugar cookie (nut free as well) for the school functions just so his friend could eat them too!! I make him wow butter and jelly (soy beans, tastes just like peanut butter) sandwiches. As for egg salad lol he just eats that at home. I took her allergy way more serious than the teacher. I too have allergies, to cinnamon!!
Tuesday 26th of September 2017
You're such a caring person to go to such lengths. It means so much to us as parents to have a friend on our allergy kiddo's side, and to know their parent(s) understand the threat and care! :) Thank you!
Tuesday 15th of August 2017
Thank you for posting all of these ideas! My daughter, who is in 2nd grade this year, also has a severe nut allergy. It drives me crazy when other moms say that their child will only eat PBJ for lunch so she can't sit near them at school. These are such great ideas to share!
Wednesday 16th of August 2017
It's so hard to help others understand how serious the issue is. It's not just a bunch of moms being overprotective. Our children could die because they touch a table where your child put their peanut butter hands. Educating the general population is very hard!