Tot lunch ideas- dairy only, nut free!
I need some EASY lunch ideas for my kiddos who are now eating lunch at pre-school. Nut free, dairy only lunches. (No meat!) They're already sick of hummus, PB is out of the question, and they can' only eat tuna once or twice a week. We also eat plenty of pasta and eggs for other meals, so want to keep pasta out of the lunch if possible.
When I was a kid I loved plain yogurt with a fruit skewer and a veg skewer for lunch. Sometimes I also took a small whole wheat roll also.
Some other ideas..
- mini quiches (with or without crust)
- mini vegetable or cheese pizzas
- stuffed peppers with quinoa or rice (the mini ones are great for kids)
- leftover eggplant or zucchini parm
in a thermos, soup and bread/crackers something they'd like? lentil, split pea (no ham), minestrone, navy bean, butternut squash, corn etc
assemble your own lunchables -- crackers/bread; cheese, etc. of your choosing
also thermos, oatmeal with fruit (if breakfast for lunch is ok)
couscous/lentil salads with veggies and/or cheeses
I feel you. My son's preschool is dairy only (no meat), PLUS no peanuts, tree nuts, sesame or mango, so we can't even do hummus or most Asian foods.
We do lots of boring sandwiches - bagel with cream cheese, whole wheat bread with soybutter (we're allowed sunbutter at the preschool, but I'm allergic to it, so it's not allowed in our house!), whole wheat bread with soy bologna, etc. He is really good about taking leftovers when they're allowed given the school's restrictions, so he'll take things either at room temp or in a thermos. He likes various vegetarian soups such as split pea and lentil, pastas (which I know you're skipping), quesadillas, tuna, tofu dogs, leftover fish (I don't eat this, but he does!) beans and rice, etc.
I always add a water bottle, a piece of fruit or an applesauce, and a small yogurt.
Would you mind making a large batch of empanadas and stashing them in the freezer? if you don't want to make dough, you could pick up a bag of pizza dough from Trader Joes.
lots of options for fillings:
(veg.) refried beans and cheese w/ guac dip
corn, peppers, zucchini and cheese
garlicky greens and olives (my tots like it)
dals or curries w/ yogurt dip
mozzarella+ any pizza topping they like w/ marinara sauce
Preschool - I'm guessing three or four? My daughter is a bit younger than that, but we've still had to come up with nut-free lunches for her for daycare. We *do* do a lot of pasta - I'm a huge fan of mac and cheese with some frozen peas thrown in - but our big find has been potstickers. Yes, there's a pasta-ish component, but the flavor profiles and textures are different, and you can stuff them full of veggies and ginger and general tastiness. (You can also buy them frozen, which, I must admit, is what we do, since our store has nice organic ones. Although with some won-ton wrappers they wouldn't be a huge drag to make ahead.) She also likes shelled edamame, but I'm not expecting that to last too much longer.
Of course, when her dad makes her lunch, yon kiddo gets a slice of american cheese smashed between two pieces of bread. Sigh. At least it's whole-wheat.
How about bean or bean and grain salads? My son is fairly adventurous and happily eats the marinated three-bean salad from Trader Joe's (canned). He also likes brown rice + bean salads with some olive oil, lemon juice dressing and chopped herbs. I add coarse grain mustard and some diced onion to my portion. Baked tofu + avocado + cheese sandwiches are also a hit. I always give him some yogurt with blueberries. Lightly steamed broccoli with ranch dip. Zucchini pancakes.
If they like Indian food and you're comfortable trying some recipes on the weekend, many things last well in the fridge/freezer. Indian food doesn't have to be spicy or hot. :) Let me know if you'd like recipes for mung bean crepes or split chickpeas based dhokla.
For things like chili or soups, I would suggest getting a thermos type of thing that has lower sides and is more shallow than a traditional thermos. It makes it easier for them to eat out of.
Not necessarily this one, but something like this...
Or we have this one, which was a hand-me-down from my sister...but I'm showing you more for the idea.
As for the food, my kids will eat rice and beans. This thread has some good recipes (I've made Gotvin's version dozens of times for my kids). It calls for sausage (I use turkey sausage) but you can just leave it out. And it's easy to add extra vegetables...carrots, peas, broccoli.
I love all these ideas.... some times they'll eat beans, and sometimes not. Depends on the day. today I tried bulgar salad with cheese... and it came home un-eaten.
Then, when they came home and I put low-fat ranch dressing on it, they suddenly devoured it.
Also, we've had the marinated bean salads from TJ's... will try that too. with enough salad dressing any thing is possible
love the tofu dog idea... even though it will be cold! (cut up, of course) or even fake veg bologna.
re: cheesehead in recovery
If fish is okay to send, I sometimes send fish sticks or TJ's fish nuggets for my son. He is the picky one and he will eat these even at room temperature.
The other night I made a spinach and cheese strata for friends and there were leftovers. My daughter, who eats anything, tried the strata and liked it a lot. I know you said you eat eggs a lot at home, but you can put lots of vegetables into a strata.
That strata reminds me of this, which my daughter eats on a regular basis (and which have nothing to do with chocolate, despite the name):
I tend to switch out the mozzarella for whatever cheese I have in the fridge -- cheddar, feta, parm, whatever -- and my 14-month-old loves them. Our daycare calls it "quiche" but it's much more solid and less eggy than quiche. They freeze beautifully, thaw quickly and can be eaten warm, cold or at room temp. I also love this recipe because the spinach isn't hidden, but actually a dominant flavor. And yet, they still get eaten. I think it's the massive amounts of cheese and butter. :)
Blintzes with fruit and or cheese filling
Various types of crepes
Toasted frozen waffles spread with cream cheese
Bean and cheese burritos
English muffin pizzas
Tofurky sandwiches (or other fake meat creations)