School Lunches & Snacks ~ Peanut-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free Ideas

NOTE:  Not all Aldi Simply Nature products are organic.  My bad!  ;)

I am super excited to share this video and blog post with you!  Hopefully it will help my home school group and others who are trying to pack allergy-friendly lunches and snacks this school year.

Our home school co-op is a peanut-free and nut-free campus and has a dairy-free classroom.  

Since we only meet once a week for 24 weeks, I'm hopeful that this will be very do-able for our families.  

The goal of an allergy-free campus is to avoid contact reactions.
Food residue from allergen foods can get on tables, chairs, door knobs, sink faucets, water fountains, toys, classroom supplies, etc. via dirty hands and mouths.  Then if a food allergy student touches contaminated surfaces, they can have a severe, life-threatening reaction.    

So I am posting a video, list of tips, and pictures to offer affordable, easy, and safe lunch and snack ideas.

Peanut-Free Tip
Substitute peanut butter with sunflower seed butter, also known as Sunbutter.  It's good! Just like peanut butter, some have sugar, some have honey, some are sugar-free.  Find your favorite!

Be sure to check granola bars and snack bars.  They often contain peanut.

Nut-Free Tip
Substitute nuts (cashews, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, etc) with seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc).  I like to get these in bulk at Hyvee, Food Fantasies, etc.  

Be sure to check granola bars, snack bars, and cereals.  They often contain tree nuts.

Granola Bar Alternative = DIY Trail Mix

Dangerous Foods for Dairy Allergy
Cheesy Chips & Crackers (Doritos, Cheetos, Gold Fish, etc)
Ranch Dip
Chocolate Candy

The church requests water-only to prevent stained carpets, but it works great for food allergy safety, too.  Our students should bring labeled water bottles to community day.

Candy-Free Incentives
Our tutors will be using non-candy, daily incentives this year.  This will help with food allergies and alleviate other dietary concerns by parents such as food dye, sugar, additives, etc.  

Party Food
All of our classes this year will be able to earn a classroom party once a semester for good behavior. The party food will be provided by the director and will be allergy-safe and yummy.  
If you wish to bring in birthday treats for your child's class, please see the director for safe options ahead of time.  This is not done often on our campus, but sometimes is requested.

Snack & Lunch Ideas
Meat sandwiches or wraps with no cheese
Microwaved hot dog
Microwaved chicken nuggets
Tuna salad, egg salad, chicken salad
Sunbutter and jelly
Sunbutter and apples
Meat jerky
Sunflower or pumpkin seeds
Plain chips 
Graham Crackers
Popcorn with salt
Fruit snacks

Food Labels 
Label laws require processed foods to say if they contain allergens like milk/dairy, peanut, or tree nut. Taking the extra step to read labels before you pack your child's snack and lunch would help a lot.

Allergy-Free Concession Basket
For those parents overwhelmed with finding safe classroom snacks or who just don't have time to pack snacks in the morning, we are going to try offering an allergy-free "vending machine" this year. We will stock it with safe snacks that anyone can enjoy.  We will do it on a "suggested donation" basis, and hope that this will become a fun and helpful feature on our campus.  

Washing hands with soap and water or at least a baby wipe helps tremendously in the pursuit of food allergy safety.  Antibacterial gel does not remove allergens from hands.  

It is our practice to have all children sit and eat with their parent(s) at lunch and to wash hands with a provided baby wipe before continuing onto class or play.  This helps streamline and ensure hand-washing as well as teaches children how to sit and enjoy fellowship over a meal.  

Each classroom will also have it's own hand-washing times.  Please follow your tutor's instructions. And always wash hands as needed.  As a bonus, this will help cut down on spreading germs and sickness in our community, too!

Thank You!
The purpose of our co-op is "To know God and to make Him known".  Our families love each other well as God loves us.  Thank you very much for your cooperation to keep our food allergy students protected. If you have any questions, just ask me.  :)

1 comment:

Tarah Davis said...

Nicely done Jamie! Great ideas for snacks and lunchtime. Should make packing lunches much easier and our kids would love any and all of those suggestions!