Today on the eve of Back to School, I have this nagging anxiety in the pit of my stomach. Part of it is the same back to school anxiety I had as a kid. Part of it is the dread of the lunchboxes coming home as full as they go to school, of cranky whiney kids who haven’t eaten properly all day while they were at school. By the end of the last school year there was very little the boys would eat for me for lunch. Cries of ‘I don’t even like ham’ or ‘I don’t like bread OR wraps OR rolls’ were shouted at me and lunchboxes were emptied straight into the dog’s dish on return from school.
When my eldest boy started junior infants 4 years ago, I had great notions of what I would give him for lunch. Sandwiches or wraps, pastas, fruit and healthy home cooked treats. The reality hasn’t worked out that way. Sandwiches get boring very fast, I get that. With the milk allergy cheese is immediately ruled out. The boys have only in the past week finally decided they like vegan cheese [thank you Nature Moi!]. There is a nut ban for infant classes in my son’s school so for the first two years there was no such thing as nut butters for sambos [one of the few things the boys are guaranteed to eat]. There is now a continued nut ban as there is a child with nut allergy in the class.
I’ve learnt the hard way that their lunches need to be varied, so this year I think I will do a weekly plan so I know they aren’t having the same thing three days in a row and then get sick of it. I’ve also got a tip from my friend to take sandwich orders the night before so the child can’t argue later that they didn’t want it.
Here’s their sandwich menu for this year:
Hummus and ham
Turkey/Chicken/Beef slices with mayonnaise
Ham, tomato chutney and salad
Vegan cheese and ham
Vegan cheese and dairy free spread
Tuna, sweetcorn & mayonnaise
Smoked salmon and cucumber
Jam sandwiches (maybe on a Friday)
I’m going to alternate the sandwiches with soup and pasta and rice salads some days. I’m hoping this list will get us through to mid-term, especially if I vary it each day. Happy Back to School everyone!
Thanks to everyone who responded to a reader’s question on my facebook page lately about recommended sandwich fillers that are dairy free. Some great ideas there. What are your favourite dairy free nut free sandwich fillings? Can you add any to my list?