They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I’m not sure who “they” is, but if “they” would ask kids, they’d probably say lunch was far more important. Lunchtime without a doubt is my kids’ favorite meal of the day so I’m always looking for new dairy free lunch ideas to keep them satisfied.
Keep scrolling for our list of easy to prepare lunches that are also non-dairy.
Why Dairy Free Lunches?
Many people have some form of intolerance for dairy products. While we don’t have any major adverse reactions to dairy in my house, I usually try to keep my lunches dairy free. I notice that my 3 year old will sometimes have more mucus and I will develop a slight case of eczema when we ramp up the dairy with one too many pizza nights.
Keeping dairy to a minimum cuts down on our misery.
This list was quite easy to come up with because the kids can still enjoy many of their favorites like sandwiches and fruit. Who says you HAVE to have a sandwich with a slice of cheese? You can either use a cheese substitute or hold the cheese altogether.
Keep reading and scrolling for more non-dairy lunch ideas.
When in doubt, leave it out! Go with a simple starch for sides but avoid traditional Mac n Cheese. Fruit always makes a great side for kids because it’s sweet and healthy. Most kids will eat fruit before they dare touch a vegetable so it’s a great idea to allow them to indulge in this healthy treat.
Some fruits that travel well are grapes, oranges, plums, apples (whole), and pears. For homeschool your options for lunch is wide open because the kids don’t have to travel with the food. You can prepare fresh fruit to accompany all of their meals.
Believe it or not some kids do like salads especially if they contain pasta. A small salad can be a great dairy free option for lunch. Be sure to stay away from dressings that contain dairy. There are many options for dairy free dressings, but I enjoy a simple splash of olive oil and vinegar. My oldest enjoys it too. Salads may be a big hit for your older kids, but try to get them used to eating salads and greens as early as possible.
I have some ideas for getting kids to eat veggies, but trying to get my kids to eat a fully raw vegan lunch in Charlotte, NC was an epic fail. I try, but I’m not perfect.
Read The Ingredients
It’s homeschool! Of course you can have french toast sticks! Why not take a break from the lesson with a full brunch spread. I suggest pairing the sticky brunch favorite with almond milk in order to maintain a dairy free lunch.
In addition to avoiding cheese and cow’s milk, you’ll want to be sure all of the ingredients in your lunches are dairy free as well. This means if you serve baked goods, then they too will have to be made with non-dairy options. Be mindful and read the ingredients on pre-packaged foods.
Lunch Without Limits
A soup and sandwich are perfect for the colder months when kids may want something warm to fill their bellies. If you can’t or don’t make your own soups, then I suggest a low sodium soup or a brand known for quality ingredients.
The purpose of this list is to push your own imagination and broaden our children’s food experience. Homeschool allows you to play around with your menu without worrying about other kids bullying your children about their food choices or how well the lunch will keep as they travel to school.
From bento boxes to eggplant parmesan, your options for dairy free lunches are endless.
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