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.