Easy cold lunch ideas for preschool

nynaeve77nynaeve77 Posts: 7,135Registered Users Curl Novice
I found out today that, due to 4 kids in her class having peanut allergies, Danae won't be allowed to have peanut butter sandwiches for lunch at all this year. Those are her favorite (and mine, too...so cheap and easy!). I need some ideas for other fun, easy lunch options; they don't do any hot lunches and don't have the facilities to heat lunches. Danae isn't a big fan of lunch meat but she does like fruits, veggies, and cheese. Usually, I pack her a drink, a fruit or veggie, a sandwich, and a little fruit snack or a cookie. I try not to send anything too messy, since she's still the messiest eater ever and I don't want her teacher to have to deal with it.
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  • cosmicflycosmicfly Posts: 1,814Registered Users
    I often pack my little guys a hard boiled egg, some kind of whole grain cracker or granola bar, fruit, yogurt, and a drink (Maya will only drink water). You also could do a cheese sandwich or cheese and crackers.
  • inheritedcurlsinheritedcurls Posts: 2,954Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    What about having the deli cube the lunch meat? I find my kids like things they can stab (with pretzel sticks). Cubed meat, cheese, etc. Otherwise, I'm clueless. There are lunchables but I know there is a lot of stuff in those so you might hold those as a special treat not for every day. hmm...you stumped me.
  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    Remind me again how old she is?

    For our kiddo we do
    Cheese
    egg noodles
    apple sauce
    Crackers of all types. He seems to really like thes oversized rosemary crackers I get at costco.
    Unsulfered dried fruit
    Granola bars
    Corn
    sun chips
    smoked liverwurst. - if you never had it, it's like better bologna and you can get it in a whole slab and chunk it up in kid friendly sizes.
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  • InissantAngelInissantAngel Posts: 173Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Yikes.

    What everyone else said, don't forget the tried and true tuna fish and chicken salad, heck even turkey or pork salad. Egg sandwiches. Cheese sandwiches ( does she like bacon? You could throw some of that in) or tomato and cheese sandwiches. I'd go for dinner leftovers that you could eat cold with no problem.
    Any kind of pasta and sauce you could eat cold or turn into a pasta salad like pesto. Homemade pizza. I'd have to think about others.
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  • CGNYCCGNYC Posts: 4,938Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    This is totally not helpful but FOUR? FOUR kids with peanut allergies? At some point, they're going to have to start insisting on documentation.
  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,898Registered Users Curl Virtuoso
    This pisses me off, too. I am not allowed to send my 5 y/o to kindergarten w/ nuts due to other kids' possible/potential allergies. She doesn't eat sugary snacks so nuts are IMO an easy, healthy option. But I'm told no. The school would rather dope the kids up w/ candy and chocolate bars and lollipops...rather than nuts and trail mix.

    But back to the original question, why can't the daycare provider heat up (micro or whatever) the lunches you send?

    I find that many kids like to eat their food cold or at room temperature. If yours is one of those, just about anything would work. Roast beef, fried chicken, pork chops, spaghetti/meatballs, a sub on a sourdough baguette, roasted veggies, salad w/ crutons&sliced grilled chicken, corn on the cob, bagels&cream cheese, pasta salad, crab cakes, etc all taste good cold.

  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    Oh I forgot about meatballs.
    Kiddo loves meatballs.


    Re: allergies.

    A school that I am looking to send my kids to (a waldorf/montessori blend) said that they encourage parents not to bring nut stuff, but if they do that they clearly label their food so that when they sit down for lunch they can sit the kids with nut allergies as far away from the rest of the kids that are consuming nuts for lunch.
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  • nynaeve77nynaeve77 Posts: 7,135Registered Users Curl Novice
    But back to the original question, why can't the daycare provider heat up (micro or whatever) the lunches you send?

    It's preschool, and they have about 250 students. There's no way they could get all those kids through lunchtime if they had to heat lunches.

    Webbie, she's four as of a month ago. She's not really picky in general; she just doesn't like lunch meat! LOL I do tend to make chicken pretty often. I guess I could cook up a couple extra pieces and send those in w/ salad. She LOVES salad.
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  • nynaeve77nynaeve77 Posts: 7,135Registered Users Curl Novice
    CGNYC wrote: »
    This is totally not helpful but FOUR? FOUR kids with peanut allergies? At some point, they're going to have to start insisting on documentation.

    I know! That's one-third of her class! What the heck? Maybe they purposely put all the nut allergy kids in one class so that only one teacher had to deal w/ it? I'm not sure. Last year, she went to the same school but I guess there were no kids w/ allergies in her class b/c that girl ate PB for almost every lunch!
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  • FieryCurlsFieryCurls Posts: 2,904Registered Users
    I can't think of any food suggestions right now, but this suggestion was made on another forum that I visit about sending hot food...

    -if you buy a small thermos you could pack anything hot in it- soup or any type of hot meal like mac & cheese, or any leftovers (just fill the thermos with boiling hot water to pre-heat it, then dump the water just before adding the food and it should stay warm until lunch)
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  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    CGNYC wrote: »
    This is totally not helpful but FOUR? FOUR kids with peanut allergies? At some point, they're going to have to start insisting on documentation.


    Oh, wouldn't that be nice. I don't believe 99% of the peanut-allergy-claims...which is a shame, because I know there are a very few people who truly are life-threateningly allergic. But, it's like the boy-who-cried-wolf...so many people now claim allergies who aren't really allergic that it becomes easy to treat it cavalierly.
  • CGNYCCGNYC Posts: 4,938Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I know that actual nut allergies are very very VERY serious but until like ten years ago, who had even heard of kids having peanut allergies? You'd think, in all the bazillions of years of kids eating peanut butter it might have come up before. Certainly none of the six different schools I attended had any problems with peanut butter.
  • mad scientistmad scientist Posts: 3,530Registered Users
    I don't know if documentation is going to solve the issue - in fact, I think its the cause of the issue: allergy testing is notoriously unreliable in small children and much more likely to give false positives than false negatives. Too many kids are being tested.

    My daughter has a diagnosed peanut/nut allergy. Is she actually allergic? I have no clue. She's never had either nuts or peanuts. She does however have real and confirmed allergies to a dozen other foods so really, having no nuts or peanuts in the school isn't particularly helpful to us, nor is a bunch of parents casually claiming their kids have "life threatening" allergies.

    In any case, all the preschools and elementary schools are nut-free here. I send my son to school with a jam sandwich or a cheese sandwich or rolled up turkey breast slices. Or I send him with whole variety of snack foods: veggie sticks, pretzels, cheese, crackers, apple slices, yogurt. He doesn't care whether it looks like a real lunch of not.


  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    FieryCurls wrote: »

    -if you buy a small thermos you could pack anything hot in it- soup or any type of hot meal like mac & cheese, or any leftovers (just fill the thermos with boiling hot water to pre-heat it, then dump the water just before adding the food and it should stay warm until lunch)

    That's what my parents did. The school I went to from Nursery to 8th grade didn't have a microwave or a cafeteria. Everyone ate at their desks in the classroom. If we wanted a hot lunch, it was in a thermos.
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  • CGNYCCGNYC Posts: 4,938Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I don't know if documentation is going to solve the issue - in fact, I think its the cause of the issue: allergy testing is notoriously unreliable in small children and much more likely to give false positives than false negatives. Too many kids are being tested.

    I thought the skin tests were pretty accurate, but the blood tests were wildly inaccurate?

    I had the skin tests as a child. I don't know how they do them now, this was the early 80s, but it sure sucked then.
  • fuzzbucketfuzzbucket Posts: 996Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    It's only the first day here, but I bought Harry a bento-style lunch box and sent him with a homemade lunchable today. Cheese, crackers, roasted chicken (deli style), apple sauce and animal crackers. Oh, and a bottle of water.

    I've been looking into some recipes that I could make in bulk and freeze, like mini quiche cups with bacon and cheese and pizza "cupcakes" (pizza dough in a cupcake pan, filled with sauce, cheese, toppings). I think those would be fine cold/room temp. Harry also likes avocado sushi so I was going to make some onigiri or some simple rolls.

    My motivation is to make a nice lunch for him and also pack one for me. I buy way too many lunches at work and want to limit it to once a week on Fridays (Harry's day off from school).
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  • deezee02deezee02 Posts: 1,509Registered Users
    Only peanut butter or all nuts?

    I would call about almond butter...that may be OK
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  • sarah42sarah42 Posts: 4,034Registered Users
    I love this site that someone posted a while back (I think it was Geeky).

    http://lunchinabox.net/
    ehLB.jpg
  • inheritedcurlsinheritedcurls Posts: 2,954Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Here in Texas daycares are either nut free or not. Then in the schools they have a nut-free table where those with allergies sit. If their friends want to sit with them...they bring a nut-free lunch as well.

    I often wonder how parents handle this at restaurants...etc? I think about people with nut allergies when I'm flying on a plane and opening up a bag of trail mix.

    If you've ever seen a kid have a sever allergic reaction to a peanut allergy it's not great. Chas' old daycare did PB&J every Friday...for the young kids they did jelly only until the parents cleard PB&J. Apparently the parents didn't know about the allergy and something got cross contaminated... Thankfully the ladies there were very experienced and we're able to deal with the situation. I saw the child a couple days later....her skin was all flaking and I asked what happend. They told me about the reaction and the skin flaking was from swelling she had. Very scary.
  • Jess2316Jess2316 Posts: 617Registered Users
    I like to buy the already cooked rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and pull off the meat for sandwiches. If you pack it in the morning cold from the fridge and on cold bread it should stay fine till lunchtime.

    Oil-based pasta salads would work too...I wouldn't trust anything with mayo in it.

    What about cereal? I personally love to eat dry cereal, especially mini-wheats.
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  • Jess the MessJess the Mess Posts: 5,844Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Jess2316 wrote: »
    I like to buy the already cooked rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and pull off the meat for sandwiches. If you pack it in the morning cold from the fridge and on cold bread it should stay fine till lunchtime.

    I do this too and make chicken salad sandwiches. Egg salad sandwiches are a fave too and easy. I boil a dozen at the beginning of the week. I like the idea of homemade lunchables and may try that too. My kids like variety. This is the first year we're packing and I never realized how challenging it can be.
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  • mad scientistmad scientist Posts: 3,530Registered Users
    I just did a double-take at the last two posts: I'm thinking "Why is Jess replying to her own post? Alterna? Is that you?"


  • Jess the MessJess the Mess Posts: 5,844Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I just did a double-take at the last two posts: I'm thinking "Why is Jess replying to her own post? Alterna? Is that you?"

    Hehehe...
    High Priestess JessMess, follower of the Goddess of the Coiling Way and Confiscator of Concoctions in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

  • MunchyMunchy Posts: 5,206Registered Users Curl Novice
    I usually pack:

    1/2 sandwich (cheese or lunchmeat could be good) OR chicken pieces OR a hot dog

    Goldfish

    Cherry tomatoes

    Cheese

    Fruit

    Fruit snacks

    Some kind of sweet (choc rice cakes or low cal cookies)

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  • MagooMagoo Posts: 2,173Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Lots of good ideas so far. I'll be packing my kindergartener a cold lunch everyday too.
    Don't know if it was mentioned but cut up veggies with dip is another good one. You can also freeze a yogurt tube or regular kids yogurt and by lunch time it's soft enough to eat.
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  • subbrocksubbrock Posts: 8,212Registered Users
    sarah42 wrote: »
    I love this site that someone posted a while back (I think it was Geeky).

    http://lunchinabox.net/

    i LOVE this site too. i bought majerle a bento style lunch box as well and i basically pack whatever i know she'll eat. she's the notorius kid in class with life threatening tree nut/peanut (and fish) allergies that the non food allergy families love to hate :)
    some lunches are better than others--the first day of school she wanted breakfast for lunch so i packed a hard boiled egg, mini waffles, breakfast sausage, and fresh fruit. today's lunch was one of the not so great ones--mini jelly sandwiches (i used star and heart shaped cookie cutters to make them cute shapes), pretzels, a plum, and jello.
  • WileE-DeadWileE-Dead Banned Posts: 24,963Banned Users Curl Neophyte
    I just did a double-take at the last two posts: I'm thinking "Why is Jess replying to her own post? Alterna? Is that you?"

    Hehehe...
    :laughing3:
    The little one would want a lunchable every day...
    still not as bad as crustables, right?
    
    :D
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  • MunchyMunchy Posts: 5,206Registered Users Curl Novice
    I just did a double-take at the last two posts: I'm thinking "Why is Jess replying to her own post? Alterna? Is that you?"

    Hehehe...
    :laughing3:
    The little one would want a lunchable every day...
    still not as bad as crustables, right?
    
    :D

    I broke my rule - I bought these darn uncrustables when I brought BK out of town recently. She didn't even like them. In the back of my mind I was wondering what the heck I was doing.

  • Scuba GalScuba Gal Posts: 383Registered Users
    If they won't allow any nut butter, what about sunflower butter? It is nut free and you can hardly tell the difference, my kids can't at all.

    If I am out and need to send a lunch, Jelly & Cream Cheese goes over well.

    But for kids that really like their PB*J, I would invest in sunflower butter!
  • wild_sasparillawild_sasparilla Posts: 4,306Registered Users
    CGNYC wrote: »
    I don't know if documentation is going to solve the issue - in fact, I think its the cause of the issue: allergy testing is notoriously unreliable in small children and much more likely to give false positives than false negatives. Too many kids are being tested.

    I thought the skin tests were pretty accurate, but the blood tests were wildly inaccurate?

    I had the skin tests as a child. I don't know how they do them now, this was the early 80s, but it sure sucked then.

    Did it involve boards full of little needles being shoved into your back? That's how mine was, and it was in the early 2000s. It sucked extra hard because the lady testing me really had to put her back into it and shove the needles in hard, due to me being such a bony kid. I was bawling and clinging to my mom through that part, and then I had to lie there and wait to itch, and one of the ones that reacted was the cat spot. I was not happy to find out that I was allergic to cats, and I was not about to stay away from my grandparents' cat who trusted me almost as much as he trusted Grandpa and wasn't very affectionate with others. It did, however, explain why my hayfever was somehow worse inside, lol.

    [/guano]

    I think anything I would've suggested has already been said except for sandwich roll-ups/wraps: take a tortilla, cream cheese and veggies, cheese and spread, basically anything else you want in there, roll it up and cut it into little bite sized spirals that can be picked up and eaten. I always loved those!
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