My oldest son starts 1st grade this year and this pregnant mama has mixed feelings about it! Starting kindergarten was a piece of cake because it was just 1/2 day, but now he will be in school all day until 3:45pm. Is it just me or does that seem so long?! It could be that I’m overly nostalgic and pregnant, but we will miss him – especially his 2-year-old brother!
I go back and forth between being devastated to have him gone so long and excited to have him off and away. It definitely depends on how crazy the day has been! We’ve been trying to embrace these lazy summer days before the school year starts. He is excited for school which makes it easier and I’m hoping it will be perfect timing with him starting right before the baby comes. I’ll let you know how the adjustment goes!
With such a long school day school lunches have been on my mind. I want to make sure I pack him things that are healthy and sustaining, but also things that he will look forward to eating. Neither one of my sons have food allergies (thankfully) but I know that so many kids do. Today I’ve partnered with Enjoy Life Foods to share some allergy-free lunch box ideas! All of these lunch boxes are top-8-free (meaning they are dairy, egg, soy, gluten, and nut-free).
When brainstorming lunch ideas I wanted to think of things my kids would actually eat. This Confetti Pasta Salad has all of my sons favorite veggies in it. He actually loves black olives (you can skip them or swap them out for something else if your kid isn’t a fan) in addition to red pepper, corn and peas. This pasta salad can be customized to your child’s preferences. I also like using chickpea pasta to keep this gluten-free and for some added protein. Add some fruit and an Enjoy Life Foods Caramel Blondie Chewy Bar and lunch is ready! I like this pasta salad because I can eat the rest of it for my lunch later in the day.
Confetti Pasta Salad
For the Dressing:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine or white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Mix everything together in a mason jar or container with a lid.
For the Pasta Salad:
- 8oz chickpea pasta, cooked according to package instructions then rinsed
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
- 1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted
- 1/2 black olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup red pepper, diced
Toss all the ingredients together with the dressing.
Chicken salad is another easy, kid-friendly lunch that can easily be made allergen-free. Just use a mayonnaise that is egg-free or soy-free as needed. There are so many great mayo options out there these days. Add some carrot sticks, gluten-free crackers and a Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Chewy Bar and lunch is ready to go.
Chicken Poppyseed Salad
- 1-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 2-3 tablespoons allergy-free mayo
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
- 1/2 cup grapes
- 1/3 cup celery, chopped
Mix all the ingredients together. Refrigerate or keep with an ice pack until you’re ready to eat.
My kids love wraps and they are a great gluten-free option if you use gluten-free tortillas. You can use brown rice tortillas to keep these totally top-8 free. Just be sure to check the label of whatever tortilla you buy. I spread this wrap with hummus and filled it with turkey and avocado. Simple and healthy!
My kids are also crazy about Enjoy Life Foods Plentils. I love the Dill & Sour Cream flavor because it’s not a flavor you get very often dairy-free!
This lunchbox is very similar to what we eat for lunch at home most days – a bunch of snacks! It has ham and apple skewers, Enjoy Life Foods Plentils, carrots and hummus, an Enjoy Life Foods Carrot Cake Chewy Bar and a few allergy-free chocolate chips for a surprise.
Enjoy Life Foods is a brand that I’m grateful for everyday as someone who eats gluten and mostly dairy-free! They just released 3 new flavors of their delicious chewy bars. August 1-September 15th I’m offering a special coupon code to get 20% off single boxes of our 3 new Chewy Bar Flavors. Head over to this link for their online shop and enter the code CHEWYBLOG at check out!
Wish me luck as we embark on this daily lunch-packing journey! What are your favorite things to pack in your kids lunch?