Monday, August 31, 2009

Healthy, Nut-Free Ideas for School Snack Time

My nut-allergic daughter attends an elementary school that permits a mid-morning snack from home--either eaten in the classroom or on the playground, weather permitting. As you can imagine, I've had to do some fancy footwork to make sure that the allergy risk to her is minimal with regards to this snack. The teachers have been helpful in this task and last Friday, our child's teacher sent a note home asking that the mid-morning snack be both healthy and nut-free.

In my experience, sheer numbers make it more likely that a classroom goes nut-free. For example, this year, 3 other students in my daughter's classroom alone (not counting the rest of her grade level) have a peanut/tree nut allergy. One child also has a dairy allergy. So the class is taking many extra precautions such as more frequent hand-washing and also limiting certain foods.

I realize that this can be difficult for other parents to comply with if they have no knowledge of food allergies. To help out, I am planning to share a short list of "nut-free" snacks with the teacher (and by this I mean they don't contain any nuts in their ingredients list) that can be eaten by everyone. As always, I welcome more suggestions from all of you, but here's my short list:

- Fruit. If you child likes it peeled and cut up and you're short on time, you can even buy prepared fruit slices or chunks at most supermarkets. Check out the produce section for varieties of pre-sliced fruit.

- Enjoy Life snacks. Enjoy Life provides allergy-free foods that taste great even if you don't have an allergy and this product is available at many more supermarkets than it used to be. Enjoy Life is sold at Whole Foods but also now at many of the larger supermarket chains. Plus, it's healthy!

- Whole grain cereals (nut-free). Many of these are good even eaten dry--Cheerios and the newer Multi-Grain Cheerios are favorites in our family.

- Rice crackers or mini rice cakes. Check the labels but many of these don't contain nuts.

- Small boxes of unsweetened raisins. They satisfy a sweet tooth but are loaded with iron and give an energy boost without sugar.


bsouth said...

Organix Snacks are quite good too. My kids like the cereal bars and the fruit bars (I can't stand them but can report that their crisps are quite yummy too!).

bsouth said...

I've just realised that as you're in the US you might not have Organix! Possibly helpful for your other UK readers though.

kelly said...

Thanks Jenny for all the great tips! We also like the Kashi Cereal Bars...the soft ones in apple, blackberry, and strawberry. You can buy them at Costco too which is great.

Elizabeth said...

Teddy Grahams. Not as healthly as fresh fruit but easy to transport.

Mary Beth said...

I've been making mini-muffins for my son in various flavors, like chocolate chip, pumpkin, oat/butterscotch... Since they are homemade, I can make them somewhat healthy. Also, I make a few batches and pop them in the freezer and we are good to go for a few weeks! Among the pre-packaged items we buy on occasion are Rice Krispie treats, any Hostess product (muffins, donuts, etc.), Goldfish in a variety of flavors and whole grain crackers. I will often send a cheese stick and/or raisins, too.

Jenny said...

We also like Teddy Grahams and those mini-muffins sound really good! Yum.

I'll check on the Organix brand--it could be in the U.S. under a different name.


Anonymous said...

graham crackers, fruit-a-bu, tortilla chips, veggies...
i thought we were supposed to stay away from kashi?
does anyone know of a granola bar that is peanut/tree nut safe?

Anonymous said...

Great idea on those mini muffins. I think I'll try that and then I can sneak something healthy in the mix.


lekmay said...

Snikiddy ( a nut free, gluten free all natural healthy snack you can try. Their cheese puffs are so yummy. The chocolate chip bites are good too. They are on sale at Toy's R US.

Karen said...

JUst went on snikiddy site - the cookies are processed in a facility that processes nut products - so that won't work for their cookies. :(

Jenny said...

Vermont Nut-Free Chocolate makes a nut-free granola bar and so does Enjoy Life Foods:

I am not familiar with Snikiddy--I'll look at the site and their labels.

Thanks for everyone's input.