In the Kitchen with Kirkman®: Making Summer Camp Snacks Nut Free!

By Nora Heston Tarte
Contributing Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc.


Many schools have made the move to “nut-free zones” in order to accommodate children with life threatening allergies. While the decision has been met with mixed reactions, the goal is to keep children with food allergies safe at school, while allowing parents peace of mind during the time their children are away. The policy also spills over into many camps and after school/summer activities.

Whether your child suffers from allergies or not, chances are you’ll need to learn how to pack some tasty treats for their lunch boxes without the use of peanuts or tree nuts. Take it a step further with these recipes for snacks and lunches for kids—free of dairy, gluten, fish, refined sugar, eggs and nuts!

Pea Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Does your child love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or have they never been able to try the American staple due to food allergies?

 A safe and healthy alternative to the often forbidden lunchtime snack is pea butter.

 Yes, that’s right: Pea butter!

 Yields 1 cup


  • ⅔ cup dry whole yellow peas
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 ½ tbsp refined coconut oil
  • ½ tablespoon agave nectar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Gluten-free bread, sliced
  • Jelly of choice, sugar-free


  • Soften peas by placing them in a bowl and cover with one inch of cool water. Cover and let stand 24 hours.
  • When ready, preheat the oven to 350° F and line a baking sheet with parchment. 
  • Drain peas and spread in one layer on the sheet. Bake for one hour, stopping every 15 minutes to shake the pan (prevents burning).
  • Place the peas in a bowl to cool. Once cooled, move them to a food processor and add water.
  • Let stand 15 minutes then pulse until finely chopped. Add oil, agave and salt and run the food processor until the ingredients turn into a smooth, thick paste, adding more water if necessary.
  • Spread desired amount on gluten-free bread of choice, add sugar-free jelly. Voila!

 Can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Insider Tip:

Use the same pea butter as a spread for vegetables, gluten-free crackers and more!

 Busy Mom Hack:

Buy pea butter by the jar. It’s harder to come by than traditional peanut butter, but health-conscious brands make the blend with safety in mind.

 Chicken Noodle Salad

Kid lunches don’t have to be bland. In fact, there are plenty of ways to stuff your child’s lunchbox with flavorful foods that are allergen-free! Make this chicken and noodle salad packed with protein and plenty of veggies.

Yields 4 servings


  • 4 ounces cooked, gluten-free, whole wheat pasta of choice, rinsed in cold water
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and core removed
  • ½ cup sugar snap peas, sliced
  • ¼ cup dressing of choice, or fresh lemon/lime juice


Cut all vegetables into matchstick slices. Combine with chicken and pasta. Serve with dressing or fresh squeezed juice of your choice.

Insider tip:

Meet picky eaters halfway. Do they have a favorite vegetable? Perhaps green bell peppers are favored, or olives sound more appealing. Mix in your child’s choices to customize this dish to their liking.

Busy Mom Hack:

Reuse the recipe but switch it up with different dressings, or serve over gluten-free rice instead of pasta!

Carrot Salad

Kids love color and crunch in their lunches, and as an added perk, this carrot salad tastes best when made ahead of time. Serve it with vegetables, fruit or gluten-free crackers for dipping.

Yields 6 servings


  • 3 large carrots, grated
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons raisins, sun-dried cranberries or both
  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste


Combine all dry ingredients in bowl. Toss and add oil and vinegar. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Insider Tip:

Spread a tablespoon of dairy-free cream cheese on gluten-free bread and add the salad in between for a satisfying—albeit unusual—sandwich.

Busy Mom Hack:

Make it in the morning and send it to school with your brood (using proper refrigerating technology of course). By the time lunch comes around, the timing will be perfect.

Quinoa Pizza Bites

What kid doesn’t love pizza? Now you can serve it without feeling guilty about your child’s healthy diet being compromised, and free of worry they’ll be exposed (or expose a classmate to) potential allergens.

Yields 12 bites


  • ¾ cup quinoa, uncooked
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup marinara sauce
  • ½ cup dairy-free mozzarella and/or Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 12 slices pepperoni
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • Oregano to taste


  • Soften quinoa by soaking in water for about six hours. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425° F.
  • Place small strips of parchment paper into each section of a muffin pan, and coat each with olive oil.
  • Place quinoa, water, remaining olive oil, baking powder and salt in blender. Run on high until it becomes a thick batter
  • Pour batter in muffin pan.
  • Bake for ten minutes, take out, flip onto a baking sheet, and bake for another 10 minutes or until edges are crispy and browned. Remove. 
  • Top with marinara sauce, shredded, dairy-free cheeses and pepperoni.
  • Return to oven for 8 minutes. Pull out and sprinkle with pepper and oregano.

Insider tip:

Place bites into a thermal lunchbox immediately so they stay warm for lunch or snack time at school!

Busy Mom Hack:

Can’t complete this task in the morning? Save it for free time while the kids are at school and hand deliver the warm bites at lunch. Check ahead to make sure this doesn’t violate your school’s policy.

Add a treat



Before you send your kid on their way, drop in a Just Fruit Pear Bar. This pure-fruit bar is packed with nutritious ingredients, free of casein, gluten and other major allergens and is certified vegan. 

This entry was posted in All, Allergies & Allergens, Gluten Free / Casein Free, recipe. Bookmark the permalink.

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