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In the Kitchen with Gillian cooking with food allergies

In the Kitchen with Gillian cooking with food allergies

Zestfull In the Kitchen Series

The kitchen is the heart of every home, especially when cooking with food allergies.  This month, Gillian Fein invites us into her kitchen for our “In the Kitchen” series

Everyone manages food allergies differently. Some of us manage multiple food allergies and have allergens in the house, while others keep an allergen-free kitchen. We hope that by sharing our kitchens we learn tips and tricks from each other that will help make cooking more joyful.

In the Kitchen with LaLa Lunchbox cooking with food allergies

Gillian is the creator behind the popular and resourceful family meal planning apps; LaLa Lunchbox & LaLa Breakfast.  She shares healthy, colorful lunchbox ideas for busy families on her Instagram feed. 

Gillian’s lunchboxes are free from nuts and fish

This New York City mama, aka lunch packer extraordinaire, of three kids has lived with food allergies since she was a baby. Her food allergies do not hold her back from celebrating food which she shares with her family in the form of inventive lunchboxes and the most drool-worthy platters.

Gillian’s Kitchen Tour


7 questions for Gillian about packing and lunches and cooking with food allergies

Gillian's lunchbox collection- Zestfull's In the Kitchen Series
Gillian’s colorful lunchbox collection where she leaves lunchbox love notes for her kids

1. Who cooks and eats in your kitchen?

All of us! My three kids and husband. 

2. Food allergies you or your family live with?

I’m anaphylactic to tree nuts and fish.

3. Do you have food allergens in your house? If so, what influenced your decision?

Definitely not. My allergies are too sensitive to permit them into our home. My family doesn’t have any food allergies so unfortunately they have to live without my allergens in our house.

4. What are a few tips or hacks for making lunch box packing easier?

  • Pack ahead of time to make busy mornings easier.
  • Get the kids involved using the LaLa Lunchbox Meal Planning for School app. When kids have a voice, they’re more excited to eat lunch, more likely to eat more and less likely to waste food. Everyone wins.
  • Prep whatever you can ahead of time to make packing easier. Whether that’s peeling carrots or slicing oranges, using time wisely makes a difference!

5. What are some of your kids favorite homemade allergy friendly foods that you pack for them in their lunchboxes?

My kids’ most loved foods are all different. My oldest child loves avocado sushi. Our middle kid loves breakfast for lunch. The youngest loves veggies, dips and leftover meatballs.

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6. Describe a meal you’re really proud of that you’ve cooked in your kitchen? 

During quarantine, I started making challah using my mom’s legendary recipe. It never fails. Never! My kids think it’s such a treat to have a fresh baked challah, and I feel like a rockstar.

7. Are you still packing lunch boxes during online learning at home? What are you packing for your kid’s lunch boxes this week?

Absolutely! Packing lunches in advance even when the kids are learning from home makes it possible for them to grab their meal from the fridge when it’s lunchtime. Planning ahead means that I don’t have to stop what I’m doing to prepare food for them. Does it always work smoothly? No. I’m a work in progress.

Check out what Gillian is packing for her kids lunchboxes this week on Instagram.

Zestfull's In the Kitchen Series with Gillian Fein
Gillian shares a sweet moment with her daughter in her favorite part of the kitchen

Thanks for sharing your kitchen with us!

Cant’ get enough of Gillian? Check her out here:


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