Dairy-Free Lunch Box Ideas with Kid-Friendly Recipes


Q: Katherine – I am after some lunch tips for a 7-year-old girl who has just been put on a dairy-free diet. She loves yogurt and cheese, so I’m not sure what to do. Do you have any dairy-free lunch box ideas?

Dairy-Free Lunch Box Recipes, Resources and Ideas (Kid-Friendly!)

A: Alisa – There are ample dairy-free substitutes available on the market for both yogurt and cheese. So Delicious is the expert in coconut-based yogurt with sweetened, unsweetened, and various flavor options. Silk whips up indulgent, higher protein soy-based yogurts and delicious almond-based yogurts. In terms of cheese alternatives, Daiya is the most allergy-friendly and they now have single-serve cheese sticks. But Follow Your Heart slices & mini single-serve cuts have dazzled us, and Go Veggie now offers vegan “cream cheese” singles. Since these products can be a scary investment at first, we have cheese alternative product reviews and yogurt product reviews to give you an unbiased taste preview.

However, dairy alternatives may not meet your little one’s expectations at first. Sometimes switching straight from a dairy product to a dairy-free substitute for that product might be a bit too “different” for young or sensitive taste buds. Taking a full “dairy break” can remove a little of that taste memory, so that she can later enjoy these other products in their own right. You can certainly leap into the world of dairy alternatives if you wish, but also consider venturing out into some other kid-friendly foods. Below are numerous dairy-free lunch box resources, recipes and ideas to help!

Go Dairy Free for Back to School

Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook is my largest compilation of tips, snacks, and recipes for kids and lunch boxes. Within you will find sections entitled, “Kids: Back to School & Celebrations” and “Snack Time,” plus recommendations for quick meals and snacks, grocery shopping guides, and numerous health tips (calcium and protein anyone?). And of course, there are the recipes.

Just a few of the dairy-free lunch box ready recipes in Go Dairy Free include (clockwise from top left) Chewy Granola Bars (easy and versatile), Maple Bran Muffins (one of my favorite pack-along breakfasts), Cashew Creme Cheeze (great for spreading on bagels), and Fudge Brownie Cookies (a special dairy-free lunch box treat). All of these are not only dairy-free, but also made without eggs and peanuts for those peanut-free school zones.

Dairy-Free Lunch Box Recipes - Chewy Granola Bars, Maple Bran Muffins, Cashew Creme Cheeze, Fudge Brownie Cookies

Our Favorite Dairy-Free Lunch Box Recipes Online

These are some delicious dairy-free lunch box ready recipes that have been very popular with moms.

Sweet Treats & Snacks

  1. Super-Friendly Trail Mix Bars (pictured below)
  2. Easy DIY Candy Bars
  3. Dirt Pudding Cups
  4. Super Banana Oat Bars
  5. Amazing Apple Fries
  6. Peanut Butter Protein Balls
  7. Dairy-Free Yogurt Cheese
  8. Bavarian Pretzel Bites with Honey Mustard Dip
  9. Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Bars
  10. Strawberry Smash Muffins
  11. Vanilla Chia Pudding
  12. Healthy Cookie Dough Bites
  13. Slow Cooker Tomato Queso Dip
  14. Chocolate Truffle Snacks
  15. Butternut Banana Mini Muffins
  16. Healthy Hummus Pinwheels (pictured below)
  17. Power Muffins
  18. Healthy Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
  19. Plain Old Tots
  20. Blackberry Oat Muffins
  21. Grape Salad
  22. Lunchbox Cookies

Marvelous Mains

  1. Healthier Ramen with Fresh Veggies
  2. Mild Curry Chicken Nuggets
  3. Apple English Muffin Rounds
  4. Pepperoni Rolls
  5. Apple Treasure Chests or Kabobs
  6. Ranch Pasta Salad
  7. Tarragon Chicken Salad Sandwiches
  8. Baked Falafel Pitas (pictured below)
  9. Freezable Pizza Pockets
  10. Plant-Based Pasta Salad
  11. Tahoe Crunch Sandwiches
  12. Hawaiian Pizza Pasta
  13. Salmon Salad Sandwiches
  14. Veggie Frittata Bites
  15. Gnocchi in Tomato Basil Cream Sauce
  16. Ten-Minute Tuna Couscous
  17. Superfast Tuna Edamame Salad
  18. Pizza Focaccia Bread
  19. Luis’s Empanadas
  20. Meatloaf Muffins (pictured below)
  21. Butternut Mac ‘n Peas
  22. Deli Spirals with Rainbow Bento
  23. Chipotle BLTA Sandwiches

Over 50 Dairy-Free Lunch Box Ideas with Kid-Friendly Recipes and Resources!

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. I want to be positive but these recipes are too carb heavy! My daughter has weight issues and sugar makes her off-the-charts hungry! I’m adapting the pasta to high protein and adding more fat. Still thank you even 1-2 ideas makes a difference

  2. Great ideas! I just recently started having to pack lunches for my toddler, and while she does not have allergies, having Celiac Disease has made me more aware of the nutritional needs of others. I try to keep her lunches as allergy friendly as possible, and these ideas will help!

  3. Follow Your Heart has the best dairy free cheese! It really does taste like traditional!! I have yet to try Kite Hill because I can’t find it anywhere by me (gotta get to a Whole Foods soon!). And I love subbing avocado or hummus in place of cheese in most things too – works wonderfully! Great options here, Alisa!

  4. I love all of these ideas. This is such a great resource for those of us who can’t eat dairy but can get stuck in a rut of eating the same thing every day for lunch! What a great idea to share some recipes that are also peanut and egg free in case there are allergies in the child’s classroom! I have so many recipes to peruse now I can’t decide where to begin!

  5. Oh and I forgot to mention, Asian food is a life saver, as long as she’s not allergic to soy! We eat a lot of sushi, noodles, wonton soups, and stir fries for dinners then eat the leftovers for lunch the next day 🙂

  6. I definitely recommend avoiding the “dairy alternatives.” Some are hard to “swallow” in comparison to the wonderful dairy your child might be used to. Some other snack ideas for protein are: hard boiled eggs or egg salad sandwiches, Grimms deli meats (dairy free), if allowed we like almond butter snacks such as ants on a log (celery, almond butter and raisins). We also like dried fruit snacks like apricots and raisins. We use a lot of mayonnaise in replacement of butter on bread and in recipes for tuna casserole where they ask for sour cream, etc. I’ve been off dairy for 20 years (allergies), so its possible, but challenging. Also a surviving tip for us with our dairy free kids is to either bring a snack along to meals out, social gatherings, or eat beforehand so they won’t die when they just eat fries, or soup for dinner. Good luck!

  7. I have recently found out my 7 year old needs to go dairy free and gluten free so here goes a life changing experience please help. Thanks much

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