What My Everything-Free Kids Eat for Lunch

protein veg fruit

Both of my girls, ages 3 years and 17 months, can not have gluten, dairy, soy, tree nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, mangoes, oranges, grapefruit, and tapioca.  In addition to the former list, my 17 month old can not have eggs or hemp.  We limit corn products because of its allergenicity and low nutrient density.  We limit rice products to decrease their arsenic exposure.

Making lunch for them is not as tough as it seems.  The goal is a protein source, a vegetable, and a fruit.  When I think in terms of these staples, lunch options abound.

To dispel any kind of pediatric lunch piety, please note that Selah is enjoying some sugared up (but dairy free) raspberry sorbet in the picture above.

I’ll also give you a window into my healthy eating OCD brain.  Sometimes I feel guilty that my kids eat “processed” all natural, non-organic turkey slices from Costco because the perfect archerfriendly mom makes a homemade meal for her little girls’ lunch every single day.  When the “you’re a terrible mom” voice turns on, I try to remind myself of both the reality and the truth.  The reality is that I am finishing naturopathic medical school and I don’t have time to entertain perfect mom fantasies.  The truth is that I will never be a perfect mom that feeds her kids the perfect diet…but I can be a good mom that cashes in on the easy without selling out on the health.

Speaking of OCD, I need to whisper that Re’uth is 13 months in the picture below, but currently 17 months.  I’m sure your eyes caught the difference.


Most Popular Allergy Friendly Winter Lunch Options

Protein Vegetables Fruits
all natural turkey slices roasted red garnet yams apples
chicken breast frozen peas frozen blueberries
ground beef steamed broccoli frozen blackberries
ground turkey steamed cauliflower kiwi
eggs* steamed kale bananas
lima beans steamed spinach plantains
white beans microwaved lima beans bosc pears
chickpeas massaged kale salad
black beans steamed beets
peanut butter* raw carrots
raw snap peas
steamed snap peas
cherry tomatoes

*not for my 17 month old

Of course, all of the foods listed above are organic when possible.  We rotate between organic chicken breast and conventional, and the same goes for the ground turkey.  The ground beef is always organic and grass fed.  We buy cage free eggs, organic beans when possible, and our peanut butter is natural.

Lunch Protein Short Cuts

  • I cut raw chicken breasts into 4 chunks and freeze each chunk individually.  When I am in a hurry, I place a frozen chicken chunk in a glass pyrex baking dish and flavor it one of two ways:  with Italian spices & apple cider vinegar or muchi curry powder & coconut milk.  Then, I roast the frozen chicken chunk in the toaster oven.
  • Lima beans are my go to cheater protein source.  I cook them in the microwave.  But aha!   Yesterday, I scored perfect mom points because I cooked them in a glass pot on the stove.  For a quickie lunch that is essentially mess-less, I will take the nuke!  These pack well for outings, too.
  • For the ground turkey or beef, I cook a pound of it in a glass sauce pan with Italian seasoning and garlic powder.  Once it’s cooled, I divide it into lunch portions in 1/2 pint freezer jars or (gasp!) plastic baggies.  Then, it all goes in the freezer.  When it’s time for lunch, individual portions of cooked meat is almost ready to go.

Easy doesn’t have to be junk.  Easy can be healthy.

What are you feeding your kids for lunch these days?  What’s their favorite lunch?  Do you struggle with mom guilt over you kids’ lunches?

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5 Responses

  1. Diane Squyres.....

    oh my and I remember the twinkies…placed in your lunch


  2. Chelsea

    You amaze and inspire me. As a fellow mom and naturopathic physician I can relate to your mom guilt, and your restrictive diet. Both of my kids have food allergies (IgE) and sensitivities that make menu planning more of a necessity rather than an ideal. Keep up the great work!


  3. aunt lisa

    I am curious wht eggs are not good for toddlers. I know it is possible for them to choke on peanutbutter, but I never heard anything about eggs. Please explain. Thank you in advance.
    By the way, my great neices are soo adorable!


  4. aunt lisa

    My grangkids favorite lunch is peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches on 12 grain bread, with a glass of chocolate milk. The youngest gets pedisure instead of milk because she doesnt eat much. Yes I hold the pedisure back until she has eated quite a bit of food. Then they get pudding for desert. They dont eat much so giving them a variety of foods just ends up with a lot of food being wasted. The two older ones get a daily vitamin to help. I also try to get an apple or bananna for a snack.
    I find it hard to get the recemended servings of each group into their bodies because they have little bellies or they just refuse to eat it. I REALLY want the oldest to gain weight! What good foods are high in caleries but taste good? He is extremely picky and I cant force feed him. He will not drink the pedisure or juice. All he will drink is one glass of chocolate milk a day then he asks for only water. I keep trying to offer the other drinks and he keeps refusing. If I try to make him by giving him only juice or milk, he refuses to drink it. Later I find him drinking water from the bathroom sink. I am willing to try anything reasonable to help him gain weight. I have thought about making him milk shakes out of juice and vanilla ice cream but I worry that all that sugar would make him more restless than he already is. Can you help Dr. Archer?


  5. Jaylene

    I love how simple this is. I tend to overthink the healthy foods, then I get overwhelmed and then revert back to old ways :( Can you create a printable for the winter lunch options? It would be so handy to have on the fridge!


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