Do you use peanut butter alternatives with young children?

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Hi. My son is 4 and we have known of his peanut allergy for two years. Until now I have not given him sunbutter or any of the peanut butter alternatives. I have been concerned that he might be confused because it looks so much like peanut butter. Has anyone else struggled with this concern? At what age did you feel comfortable giving peanut butter alternatives? Thank you!

By ElizabethY on Jan 20, 2009

I share that concern. When we heard of the PB substitute, we went out and bought it, tried it and agreed it tasted pretty good, but at some point realized it isn't really healthy to give to our 2 year old. It looks so much like real PB, and he needs to learn PB isn't ok. So, I'll save it for baking (rare) for now.

By OneBadNut on Jan 23, 2009

Why would anyone take the chance of confusing kids with PB alternatives?

I've had PA my whole life but didn't actually know until I was in my 20's.

I did know that I didn't like PB sandwiches like all the other kids and I stayed away from them like the plague. I don't even know if alternatives existed back then and I survived just fine.

Judy, Your son's favorite sandwiches wouldn't be his favorites if you never offered them.

By CKH on Jan 24, 2009

Thanks everyone for your input. My concerns come because 1. my son is pretty impulsive and 2. right now he doesn't see pb sandwiches except in pictures, but when he goes to kindergarten they serve them in the cafeteria. I may want to wait to introduce sunbutter until he has navigated staying away from peanut butter in kindergarten. I do like the idea of having more options - we may consider just serving it at home. But until I'm sure, I guess waiting is best!

By momto4boys on Jan 26, 2009

I use Sunbutter with my now 4 year old that is PA. I used it with hime before we knew that he was PA. He is also allergic to dairy and egg. We kept him away from peanut products until he was tested when he was three. He had already been eating it for a year and a half and loved it. Until ds was diagnosed my older 2 ate PB. He had never had a reaction, I was only avoiding with ds because of his other allergies. When ds was diagnosed we removed all peanut products from our house. This was difficult because older 2 sons were used to eating PB (They were never PB only kids but did like it).

With ds's other allergies (egg and dairy) there are not much sandwich options as cheese and butter are out and also mayo. So either he has to eat a dry sandwich (mustard is too strong of a taste for him yet and he does not like it) or he eats sunbutter and jelly. My almost 2 year old (also egg and dairy allergic) also eats sunbutter and jelly.

The Sunbutter is a great source of good fat and protein that is very difficult to get in an egg and dairyfree diet. It is also easy to prepare and take on the go. Right now we only eat it at home or at relatives (ds is only in half-day preschool) but I imagine that he will take it for lunch when in grade school (I will clear it with school first) as there really are not much sandwich options to him. He is very smart and amazingly aware of his allergies and has been instructed not to take anything except from me or DH.

My oldest (not PA) also likes the Walmart brand of soybutter. This one smells and tastes alot like PB. I would not let ds with PA take this one to school (he does really like it so this will probably not be an issue). I also told oldest that when he takes the soybutter sandwich to school that he is NOT to sit at the peanut free table.

These are just my opinions and experiences. Everyone has to do what they feel is in the best interest of their child. I do have a very tight comfort zone when it comes to PA issues. Every child is different and what works for one child might not work for another (even in the same family).

By CKH on Jan 30, 2009

Of course I have taught my son never to accept food from others without asking. I am still debating though whether this is a good time to introduce a food that looks exactly like a food that could kill him. I completely respect both decisions, and I feel like we will use sunbutter at some point, I'm just trying to decide what that point is.

By cristym on Jan 26, 2009

We use and love sunbutter.

We teach our children not to eat ANY food offered to them by anyone else unless we have told them it is ok. I have not sent the sunbutter to school, but I have told DS's school that he does eat it. My children also know that other children might eat PB which is not safe, this is why they are never to eat anything, even if it looks safe with out checking with us first.

What happens when someone offers your child a cookie? A cupcake?

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