Nut-free lunch ideas and more. Need nut-free snacks for school or plant-based nut-free recipes for the family? Ideas fit for nut-free vegan kids or anyone.
Nuts are an important source of protein and healthy fats, particularly for plant-based children. They’re also a concentrated source of calories to help support a child’s growth and development.
But what about nut-free families or kids who attend nut-free schools, daycares, or camps?
After all, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, approximately 2.5% of children have a peanut allergy, a number that has increased by 20% in the last decade and is likely becoming more prominent. Plus, an estimated 25-40% of individuals with a peanut allergy are also allergic to tree nuts – which include hazelnuts (filberts), pecans, cashews, pistachios, almonds, and walnuts.
Allergies can be life-threatening and it’s important to take them seriously, whether the allergy is within your own family or you’re participating in an environment where others are allergic.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to create healthy plant-based meals and snacks without nuts. Here are some of our favorites that are nut-free but still rich in protein, fat, and flavor.
1. Seed Butter + Jam Sandwiches
PB&J may be a staple food, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t equally tasty and nutritious variations. For homes that are only peanut-free, try almond butter. For homes that are totally nut-free, try sunflower butter.
We also suggest trying your own homemade Chia Seed Jam, using thawed frozen berries, chia seeds, and optional sweeteners.
2. Hummus, Guacamole, or Bean Spread
Dips and sauces are a great vehicle for nutrients that can be served alongside crackers or pita bread, or with chopped raw veggies like carrot sticks, broccoli florets, or cucumber slices.
Make lunch-box-friendly pinwheels using one of these spreads or a vegan cream cheese or cheeze dip with veggies rolled up inside.
3. Dried Legume Snacks
Packaged kid-friendly snacks can be overwhelming, but there are plenty of good ones out there. Dried edamame beans, as well as dehydrated legume or lentil snaps are a convenient, lunch-box-friendly nut-free snack.
For more snack ideas, see our post on 10 Healthy Packaged Plant-Based Snacks for Kids.
4. No-Bake PBJ Balls
This is an easy, nutrient-dense snack that just requires blending ingredients in the food processor, molding into balls, and popping them in the fridge. We like using beans in these sometimes as well as seeds or seed butter.
Try our recipe for Raspberry Tahini Chickpea Balls.
5. Roasted Tofu or Chickpeas
Tofu and chickpeas are both made of legumes and naturally good sources of protein and healthy fats, as well as an array of vitamins and minerals. Both are also of course nut-free and versatile for use as snacks or in lunches. Plus, soy is a good source of the amino acid lysine.
For Roasted Chickpeas, all you need is drained, rinsed, and dried canned chickpeas, seasoning, and a little olive oil. Roast at 350 F for around 30 minutes to get a crunchy, flavorful snack to eat on their own in a lunch box or as a crouton-like topping for salad.
For Crispy Baked Tofu, you’ll drain a press a block of tofu, slice and season it, and bake on a cooking sheet at 400 F for around 30 minutes. These little cubes are also great for lunches, but can also be rolled up into burritos or mixed with a grain or pasta dish.
We hope these ideas give you a place to start when planning nut-free snacks for school or incorporating more plant-based nut-free recipes at home.
For more nut-free meal and snack ideas for kids, grab your copy of the Plant-Based Juniors’ Nut-Free Lunch Box Book.
Chime In: What are some of your family’s go-to nut-free snacks and meals? Share your ideas below!
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