Thursday, March 11, 2010

No nuts in this lunch

In my last post, I talked about gluten, providing you with a fun raw cupcake recipe, which was naturally gluten-free. However, it was loaded with nuts, another increasingly common allergy.

When I was a little kid, the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich (as well as this old school lunchbox I wouldn't dare send my child's lunch in today) was all the rage. It was a staple in most lunches.

Unfortunately, with nut allergies on the rise, this once lunch of champions (although still good on raw bread with a nut/seed butter and chia-thickened berry jelly) has been banned at many schools. At my son's school, there is a peanut-free zone; all food brought in to share with the class must not contain nuts nor be made in a facility that manufacturers its products on equipment shared with nuts.

It's good to know that NaturalZing is a peanut-free packager. It also carries a nice selection of nut-free products and substitutes for those traditionally nut-based concoctions. For example, you can still pack that pb&j or "ants on a log" (you know that peanut butter celery with raisin "ants") substituting hemp spread, pumpkin seed butter (these two have a gruesome green color kids love, and you don't need food coloring to achieve it), tahini, or for the more adventurous eater, black sesame tahini.

Speaking of adventurous eaters, has your little one ever tried Nori? He or she may be curious when you explain how it comes from the sea (if not, dehydrated banana/spirulina wraps are sure to please). You can have your child help out with fun flavors for your "Nemo" nori wraps and rolls, or check out some of the Gopal Raw Power Wraps for convenient packing (the company also sells a few nut-free seed-based bars that are also good to go. Not all of them are nut-free, so read the ingredients prior to purchase).

Don't forget that cereal doesn't just have to be for breakfast. Lydia's Organics offers a variety of nut-free cereals (sprouted quinoa is also an excellent choice), which serve well in a small bowl mixed with fresh fruits or veggies (don't knock it 'til you try it) with a side of coconut milk (NatualZing's coconut flakes and coconut oil whip up nicely into a creamy white beverage).

If all else fails, what kid doesn't love to dip? Serve a savory one with veggies and a sweeter one for fruit. Need a recipe to get started. Here's one Helen posted on the Zing Babies blog. I hear Sundance can't get enough of it :-)

Helen's Not Just for Halloween Dip
2 cups pumpkin seeds, soaked overnight
1/4 cup hemp seeds
juice from 2 lemons
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. sea salt or Himalayan salt
1/4 tsp. chili powder

Soak the pumpkin seeds overnight for about 8 hours. Drain them and let them sit and germinate for about 2 hours. Put all ingredients into a blender and start blending. You may need to stop and use a spatula to help move the contents around to get it to blend better. When smooth as desired, spoon out into a serving bowl and serve with fresh veggies.

Shannonmarie, a.k.a. "Rawdorable," also posts on her blog of the same name,


Sarah said...

My 3 year old has decided she loves Snoopy and Woodstock and would LOVE that lunchbox!!! Jealous :D

shannonmarie said...

Hi Sarah. That's so cute that your child is interested in that lunchbox. Unfortunately, it is a really old one that may contain some toxins. I wonder if there is a safer Snoopy and Woodstock option on the market. They should make some of those reusable sandwich wraps :-)