Safe Foods for School Snacks

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When thinking about snacks for school – either for lunch, snack time or to share with the class – it’s good to keep in mind snacks that are free of allergens.

In fact, many schools in the U.S. are now insisting on strict adherence to pre-approved snack lists or eliminating snacks from home entirely. This may be the case at a school where there are children with known, life-threatening food allergies. But in today’s climate of prevention and protection, more and more schools are putting limits on food choices just to be safe.

Check with your school

The first thing to do is to check the school’s website for posted food recommendations. Many schools are now listing either required or suggested snacks to help guide parents to safe foods.

At our school, the administration strongly recommends fresh fruits and veggies over processed and packaged foods. Raisins, applesauce cups, mandarin oranges, peach or pear cups and any kind of dried fruit snack is on the preferred list.

Dairy snacks meet with approval

While there are many kids with dairy sensitivities or allergies and lactose intolerance, there is no known danger of airborne allergens as there is with nuts. Therefore, diary snacks like cheese sticks are OK. Frozen yogurt tubes will soften through the day but are still a sweet treat option.

Become a label reader

Check the ingredients for allergens, particularly peanuts. Product manufacturers do not legally have to identify whether or not peanuts were used in their packing facilities, but they do have to list peanuts as an ingredient. The ingredients list is the definitive source of information.

Check with other parents

Especially in younger grades, there is usually a parent-teacher open house where all of the parents come together. If you have a student with an allergy, take this opportunity to identify yourself, your child and the allergy. Bring a picture with you so that other parents can identify your child.

Most parents want to help; no one wants to be responsible for the illness of another child, especially when it’s preventable by simply making a different choice for snack.

Sources: HBCSD, PortagerPS

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