Healthy Nut-Free Snacks

August 24, 2016   7 Comments

Food allergies are not a joke and many schools and institutions are asking people to leave the nuts at home. I decided to compile a list of healthy nut-free snacks to help out.

Healthy Nut-Free Snacks

It is truly sad that children and adults can’t bring nuts into schools because they are the perfect snack. They are portable, will stay fresh at room temperature, crunchy, and healthy. Alas, I know too much about nut allergies because my daughter is allergic to tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pecans).

If she eats one, she becomes itchy and her skin breaks out into a red rash. After visiting the allergist, we have an Epi-pen in case she goes into anaphylactic shock – fun, no? The chance is about 5% that an allergic reaction she has will be life threatening.

Before we understood her allergy, she traded snacks with another child and ended up in the nurse’s office after eating a walnut. She was sent home and spent the rest of the day wishing she had eaten the snack she had brought from home.

She complains about her nut allergy but I am secretly glad it keeps the Nutella out of the house (oooh that stuff is good!).

I don’t believe middle and high schools should be “nut free” unless there is a child with a severe allergy. My child can read labels and knows how to not eat something she is not sure of but when it comes to elementary schools – it can be important that parents try not to send nuts to school.

What should you send?

1. Cheese Sticks

cheese stick

Check out the product here: Cheese Sticks

2. Smoky Roasted Chickpeas

Get the recipe here: Smoky Roasted Chickpeas

3. Mini Bags of Pretzels

Snyder's of Hanover Pretzels

Check out the nut free product here: Snyder’s of Hanover Pretzels

4. Any Fresh Fruit

In addition to these suggest send baby carrots, snap peas, popcorn, Triscuits (or other 100% whole grain crackers), no-sugar added applesauce or fruit cups, and raisins.

What do you send to school with your child? Is your school nut-free?

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I love your ideas for healthy snacks but did want to point out something. You mentioned it "can be important that parents try not to send nuts to school" but what about all the other food allergies people may have. I am a school nurse and we have nut allergies, sure, but we have just as many milk, egg, strawberry, cinnamon, etc... It can become a very slippery slope when we start trying to eliminate all of those pesky allergens from snacks and lunchboxes. Please don't misunderstand, I completely agree that we need parameters, I just see it firsthand and it can become difficult! I am so happy that your daughter reads labels and makes good decisions. That is awesome!

Our school is trying to be nut free after a peanut allergy child had a macadamia nut cookie, however, I don't think being nut free is the solution. Better education is important for the caretakers and the students.

We are only allowed to send dry snacks and water. I pack cereal bars, granola bars, animal crackers, goldfish. I wish we could send fruit or protein sources.

No strawberries allowed either, and no snacks with the berries as an ingredient. We are not allowed to bring anything made at home and accepted snacks have to be sealed in individual packages made at the factory. Yes, this is accomodation. But the Rehabilitation Act requires reasonable accomodation, and this is neither reasonable nor really safe for severely allergic children.

This is something we are faced with. Even at summer camp, they ask that we bring nut-free snacks. One was even so severe as to ban chickpeas because of a relation to peanuts. sigh. My daughter is allergic to eggs, so she gets a lot of protein from nuts.

People can just sit back and take this or fight for their rights. It is not right to impose upon all parents similar due diligence required of parents of children with disabilities. Furthermore, it is not right to deprive children of nutritious, economical foods they like because some children can't eat them. This is not "reasonable accomodation". This is unreasonable restriction. But let's look at the measures taken to protect allergic children. Are they really protective? I can tell you that I would never, ever put a severely allergic child at this kind of risk. For example, having children wipe hands with Wet Ones when arriving at school would not remove peanut oil or residue from the environment. It might spread it around. Traces would be on clothes anyway, in hair, all over the place. Some kinds of peanut butter substitutes contain soy, which is one of the big 8 allergens. I bought sunbutter and it looks like peanut butter. I'm afraid to send my child to school with it because it looks like peanut butter. Peanut butter sandwiches have been confiscated by personnel at school this year. Are you reading this??? This is the United States of America. What are we doing???

Thank you all for your comments and thoughts on this subject. I think that the answers to these questions can be situational. If there is a child with a life threatening allergy in a particular classroom - I think it is prudent for the children in that class not to bring in the allergen. But, I don't think bans of foods actually works. An allergist I spoke to suggests lunch tables in cafeterias that are kept allergen free and ensuring the child doesn't share food at school as better ways to control the problem.

Many of the school policies seem to be about law suits instead of addressing the problem.

A child with life threatening allergies to foods children commonly eat shouldn't be in school in the mainstream. Look at the practice of children wiping hands with Wet Ones to eliminate exposure. Does it? Would you risk that with your child? Where is the trash can they are put in? How well do 7 year olds wipe hands? My grandson wipes his mouth with his arm? Are they cleaning arms too?

Not only is there too much risk to the allergic child, but this is also a burden on families that shouldn't have that burden. Compare the cost of individually packaged, made by the company Rice Krispie treats to home made for example. I haven't compared it. I'm guessing. I did look at the nutritional info on cookies, remember they have to be Keebler I think it is, and individually packaged, and regret that I can't send the child to school with homemade oatmeal cookies, or God forbid peanut butter cookies. Let's go with individual packages of Oreos, right?

Either way you look at it, this isn't right. And I suggest that allergic children can still go to public school, and un-allergic children can still have nutritious, affordable snacks and lunches, at the same school, at the same time...just not this way.

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