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Banishing Lunch Time Boredom for the Allergic Child

Banishing Lunch Time Boredom for the Allergic Child

The allergic child has the same dietary needs as all children. Ensuring they meet these needs, however, often entails creativity and knowledge. Knowing how to replace nutrients that they might be missing from their allergic foods, in addition to varying their choices can be a challenge.

Research shows that children who eat lunch fare much better in school than those who skip this important meal. Trouble concentrating, lack of energy, stomach aches, and headaches are common concerns for the child who misses out on daytime meals.

To prevent your child from trading foods or tossing their lunch, follow these tips:

-Let your child be the chef. Have them pack up their own lunches the night before to prevent a morning scramble.
-Create a checklist of favorites for them using MyPlate guidelines. Create columns with the following headings: Proteins, Dairy, Fruits/Vegetables, and Grains. Under each category, have your child fill in their favorites. A balanced lunch will consist of one portion from each category. Brainstorm safe choices for your child and ensure that no food group is eliminated despite allergies.
-Sit down once a week and plan out lunches together. Grocery shop accordingly.
-Review school lunch menus together and decide what a balanced meal looks like before they buy. Speak to the cafeteria manager about allergens in the foods and what is safe for your child.
-Variety is key! Branch out from sandwiches and try: salads, soups, or chilli.
-Instead of bread on a sandwich try: tortillas, lettuce wraps, or luncheon meat wrapped around a cheese stick.
-Give it eye appeal. Use fun equipment that is colorful and bright. Practice using new containers at home before you send them to school to prevent frustration.
-Use different shapes/sizes. Cookie cutters can be used for fruits and sandwiches.
-Use the power of peer pressure for picky eaters. Pack extras of certain foods that your child is having trouble with to use the power of persuasion.
-Try sending variations of their favorites to help them branch out. For example, if your child likes carrots, try sending cut up jicama sticks. Same texture, slightly different taste.
Again, send extras if you can so that friends can try it as well.

For more creative and safe allergen free lunch boxes ideas, visit: Keeley is an allergic mom who has creatively designed a website with numerous fun lunch ideas for the allergic child.