I’m always interested in helpful ideas on how to deal with peanut-free environments. Dare Foods recently shared some some advice on what to send children to school or daycare with when dealing with a peanut-free environment.
- Don’t assume that snacks, such as kids’ crackers, are peanut-free. Ingredients and manufacturing processes can change, so read the label every time to make the most informed choices. To make choosing a safe and delicious snack easier, all Dare products are made in a nut-free/peanut-free facility. In the case of products that are likely to be purchased for children, or consumed in environments such as schools and daycare centres, Dare takes the extra step of applying an easily-recognizable peanut-free icon on the front of the packaging so you can identify them as peanut-free. This is your way of knowing that Bear Paws kids’ crackers are made in a peanut-free facility and have undergone finished goods testing.
- Ask your child’s school to provide an approved list of safe snacks and foods. Schools have different policies when it comes to food allergies. Most have a nut-free policy throughout the whole school and it is best to know about the foods that need to be avoided. Make sure to check the listed items to see if they carry the peanut-free icon; Bear Paws kids’ crackers have it and it’s your way of knowing that these kids’ crackers are made in a peanut-free facility and they have undergone finished goods testing.
- Teach your kids about the peanut-free icon and what it means. If you bring kids grocery shopping, let them choose nut-free/peanut-free crackers for lunchtime and recess snacks.
- Avoid buying in bulk. While it may be nice to save a few extra pennies, bulk bins are known for cross-contamination and can potentially expose your child (and their friends) to unlabelled ingredients
Packing a Nutritious peanut-free lunch
- Avoid cross-contamination. When preparing food, use clean dishes and utensils and ensure your fruit spreads, jams and jellies are spread using a clean, unused knife.
- Encourage healthy eating. Provide dried fruit, cheese or crackers with no artificial flavouring, such as Bear Paws kids’ crackers, as a snack. These nutritious options will give your kids the energy boost they need to make it through their day.
- Create fun sandwiches and wraps. Whole wheat bagels, sliced hard cheese, yogurt, fresh fruit and kids’ crackers round out a balanced meal. Always pack water or milk to drink.
- Include a variety of fresh fruit. Send your kids out the door with fresh, fibrous fruit and avoid any unnecessary added sugars that can be found in fruit drinks and pop.
- Leftovers are yummy. Get creative with last night’s dinner. Wrap leftover stir-fry in a whole wheat tortilla, sprinkle leftover chicken, sliced peppers and salsa on a whole wheat hot dog bun, or send your famous vegetarian chilli or homemade soup along with grainsfirst crackers for dipping.
- Wash your hands. Teach your children the importance of washing their hands and mouths after they have finished eating and before going to school, play dates or other social gatherings. This is especially important if they ate or were touching foods containing nuts.
- Share toys, not meals. Encourage your child to always eat their lunch and avoid sharing food, drinks and utensils with other children.
- Ask in advance. Always ask a parent about their kids’ allergies before offering any food.