Looking for lunch box ideas for celiac kids? As parents of food allergy kids we understand they have special needs in the school cafeteria. Teachers and classmates need to be educated about the dangers of cross contamination for these kids. They also need physical reminders, too. I’m going to share with you a few options that offer creative lunch box ideas for food allergies. There are several allergy awareness companies that provide products just for our kids. Want to learn a little bit more about them?
When fall is just around the corner, my anxiety starts to build. I hate lunch in the cafeteria. It scares me. I decided to come up with a post about lunch box ideas for celiac kids that offers tips and handy products.
Are you in the same boat? Are you wondering what you can do to make lunch in the cafeteria an easy, safe experience for your child? Check out my lunch box ideas for celiac kids and kids with food allergies!
Lunchroom Needs for Celiac Kids and Kids with Food Allergies
As you know, safety is key.
We have a whole set of additional concerns that go above and beyond whether or not our child finishes the sandwich we packed. We worry about the other kids hands, the table top, the chair, and the railings in the hallway.
Start with a 504 Plan
Safety is best accomplished with a section 504 plan. Parents with a new celiac diagnosis should inform the principal and school nurse in writing and request a meeting. At the meeting you’ll draw up a section 504 plan for your child outlining specific special dietary needs. As part of this plan parents should educate the teachers and lunchroom staff about their food allergy or celiac child’s need for a clean lunch area that is safe from cross contamination. This is best done by providing a detailed letter at the start of the school year.
The Lunchbox is Important, too
The second priority for parents in the celiac community is a visual reminder of that safety plan.
It is especially important for preschool through grade 2 celiac kids and kids with food allergies to have visual reminders at the lunch table every day. This will help classmates and lunchroom supervisors remember the safety rules they learned at the beginning of the year. Often kids that young are not yet mature enough to understand the dangers of gluten cross contamination.
Several allergy safety companies have products available for families with celiac kids and kids with food allergies.
There are also companies that sell products that are very handy for kids who are not eating a regular sandwich in a plastic Ziploc bag.
Lunch Box Ideas for Celiac Kids:
Silly Yak Pack
Parents of small children with gluten intolerance might like the Silly Yak Pack, which is designed especially for kids with a celiac diagnosis. It has convenient labeling right on the bag so that watchful lunch room volunteers will have a daily visual reminder to keep an eye on your small one while he is eating.
Lunch Box Ideas for Food Allergy Kids:
Kids Aware in U.K.
Small kids with multiple food allergies need a box with good visual labeling to help avoid mistakes in the lunch room. Kidsaware.com, based in the U.K., has a handy box for a bargain price that fits the need beautifully. This organization also sells wristbands, labels, shirts, and a variety of other useful items to make people aware that offering food to your child is potentially dangerous.
For those on the other side of the Atlantic, Allergy Apparel, based in the U.S. also sells apparel that informs others your child should not be offered food. They’ve got custom Bento Boxes, cooler bags, and even cloth reusable place mats and sandwich bags.
Recommended Reading: Healthy Family review of Cilie Yack is Under Attack. It’s a book about a child with celiac disease.
Bento Boxes are Great for Packing Gluten free Lunch Boxes
Proper allergy warnings aside, packing lunch for the gluten and/or casein-free kid may be tricky. Often times the many plastic containers you pick up at the store are bulky and awkward to open, especially for little kids. The Japanese Bento Box is a great alternative for celiac kids. In Japan, traditionally half of the box will consist of rice and the rest will be made up of side dishes– vegetables, meat, egg dishes, etc. Fruit dishes are considered the ‘dessert’ item, and an easy, all natural gluten-free choice. Most Japanese moms pack the bento boxes while they are preparing the family dinner the night before. They choose items that would preserve nicely and as a result make their morning a little less hectic. We actually do this in our house as well. Two of our favorite food items are raw carrots and sliced apples (tossed in lemon juice so they don’t brown up).
If you are interested in using a Bento box for your child with celiac disease, take an all-around peek at everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know about the Japanese Bento Box; visit the Japanese American National Museum Kids Bento Box website with your youngster.
Are you looking for snacks to fill your child’s lunch box? Check out our gluten and corn free snacks page!