Preschool, Grade R, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7

Wheat-free lunchbox ideas

Packing school lunch boxes can be tricky at the best of times – the urge to fall back on a daily sandwich and an apple is sometimes overwhelming, particularly if, like me, your brain only kicks in at 9 a.m. I am clearly not a morning person!
As a gluten-intolerant, semi-allergic to food additives, newly-turned-vegetarian mom, a rational person might assume I am used to finding food substitutes. For me – yes, certainly. I have my wheat-free muesli, my special rusks, my 100% rye bread (which my children hate), my organic spices, and now, some yummy alternatives to eating meat. In the case of my children, however, I was hoping the food-allergy gremlins would pass them by.
Alas, the daily sandwich-and-apple idea, with occasional yoghurt thrown into the mix, was not to be. With one child who has food allergies and digestion issues, and another who simply hates bread, packing a lunch box has become a challenge.
I had to get creative. So, I now pack these items in a form of loose rotation, depending what is currently in my fridge:
  • Yoghurt (with a plastic spoon; the angst for non-returning metal spoons is simply too great.)
  • Cocktail/baby tomatoes (some, in a little sandwich bag)
  • Rice cakes (sometimes plain, sometimes dipped in yoghurt, or as a peanut butter sandwich that they pull apart at school)
  • Little packets of dried fruit
  • Little packets of peanuts
  •  Cheese wedges/ little round packaged cheeses (until both children went off them. These re-emerge periodically and are suddenly liked again.)
  • Sausages sliced on toothpicks (with cheese or pickles in between)
  • Cut up pieces of cucumber (wrapped in clingwrap)
  •  Fruit: a banana, grapes, naartjies, and yes, often apple, but I have discovered through meticulous scientific research that if I cut the apple into large pieces, and then tightly clingwrap to prevent browning, the apple pieces actually get eaten, as opposed to the same apple journeying back and forth to school each day. This method also allows me to share an apple between the 2 kids.
  • A boiled egg (this requires pre-planning)
  • Once a week, a cereal or oats bar
  • Occasionally, wheat-free plain biscuits (and Marie biscuits for the other child).
I’m sure there are many more ideas, some involving making intricate treats, but this works for me with my non-morning brain, and as a rushed working single mom of two.
Preschool, Grade R
Plastic bottles/containers with lids
Paper or a funnel
Rice, pasta, screws, beans, beads (any small, hard objects which can be placed in the bottles/containers)
Stickers for decorating
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Preschool, Grade R, Grade 1
Toys/household objects that can be used to measure length and height (e.g. Legos, blocks, books, apples, spoons)
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Preschool, Grade R
Cookie cutters in various geometrical shapes (If you don’t have these, you can use a knife)
Your child’s favourite “cut-able” foods – pancakes, cheese slices, fruit, bread
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Preschool, Grade R, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7
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