According to verywellhealth.com, peanut allergies are the third most common food allergy for American children and the second most common food allergy for adults. About 1.4% of children and 0.6% of adults are allergic to peanuts. Allergic reactions tend to affect the skin, stomach, airways, eyes, or the entire body; common responses include a rash, swelling, an upset stomach, breathing difficulty, and itchy eyes. In some cases, life-threatening anaphylaxis can occur.
Schools, parents, teachers, and kids need to be aware of foods that contain peanuts or tree nuts and foods that are prepared in facilities that have peanuts. Unfortunately, labeling can be lax. When you’re shopping for peanut-free snacks, first read the ingredients and look for anything that says “peanut” or “nut.” These are definite no-nos. Look for warnings like “may include traces of peanuts” or “manufactured on a shared line with tree nuts.” Because of the potential for cross-contamination, these products should also be avoided. Packages that state “made in a nut-free facility” are safe. Some products, however, come with no warning or notice at all. What follows are some easy ideas for peanut-free snacks for kids.
If you’d like to replicate the salty, crunchy characteristics of peanuts and lean toward the nutritious, roasted organic chickpeas are a great option. Popcorn (with just oil and salt added) provides fiber and isn’t loaded with calories. Organic potato chips, tortilla chips, and rice cakes are also good choices.
On the sweet and chewy side, organic fresh and dried fruits are naturally sweet, are a good source of fiber and vitamins, and are a healthy alternative to sugar-loaded cookies and candy. Even though they might not be at the top of a kid’s go-list list, organic carrots and fresh veggies really are terrific snacks for kids, especially if paired with organic hummus or salsa.
You can also make your own snacks – this way you know exactly what your child is eating. There are several delicious nut-free recipes to choose from that will sure to be a hit with your kids and also teacher approved.