Think of this as your back-to-school public service announcement, for all those times that you’re asked to bring a food item to your kid’s school but feel overwhelmed by the allergy-based restrictions.
Recently, a friend asked what kinds of snacks might be appropriate for a classroom with peanut, HFCS, tomato, wheat, egg, strawberry, soy allergic kids present. Oy!
There are the obvious fruit and veg options, but let’s be honest… not every kid is keen on them, especially during the preschool years. And, much like nut allergy sufferers who have to worry about exposure to allergens during food prep, pre-made trays can present problems for kids with allergies to foods such as tomato and strawberries. So, unless you grow/purchase and clean the fruit and keep a meticulous, safe food prep area, it may be better to skip this one if those allergies are present in the party-goers.
A word of caution about bakery and restaurant-produced items: these can be some of the riskiest things to bring. Again, it’s the food prep issue. Workers can be cavalier about proper cleaning of supplies and the prep space. It can even prove fatal.
And for those folks who think that peanut allergies are a “crock” or that requesting that other families respect the health and safety of food-allergic individuals is a “burden,” consider this: Some allergies worsen over time and can lead to anaphylaxis and death. In the event of a worse case scenario resulting from a cavalier introduction of a food allergen in a school setting, do you want your kid to see what happens next, possibly before the teacher can locate and administer an Epi-Pen or an EMS team can arrive?
All that said, here’s my very small run-down of snack options. It’s bare-bones on purpose, mind you. Remember to always check the label for any allergy warnings, even for products that you’ve purchased before with no problem. Moreover, some kids can’t even have food from a manufacturing facility with nuts or gluten present, so when in doubt… skip it.
- Tortilla chips and bean dip
- Sunbutter sunflower spread (can pose problems for soy-allergic individuals) in lieu of peanut butter
- Potato chips
- Fruit leathers
- Popcorn (older kids only because of choking hazard)
- Pirate’s Booty snacks
- Cherrybrook Kitchens line of baked good mixes
- Honest Kids drinks
- How to Use an Epi-Pen video