HELP ! Need Lunchtime advice/ideas...

Posted on: Wed, 08/01/2007 - 4:18am
pohlbarn4's picture
Joined: 08/21/2006 - 09:00

Can you HELP???

I have a meeting scheduled with the school nurse and principal later this month to discuss establishing a safe situation for my son to eat his lunch at school. At the end of the last school year I had a meeting with the nurse and principal and their plan was to have my son eat his lunch ALONE in the nurse's office each day while an adult monitored him. At that time I posted this suggestion for you to read and I received many great responses, and information from many of you.

I felt then, as I do now, that having him eat his lunch seperate from everyone else is NOT THE WAY TO GO...

I am seeking help / advice / suggestions for establishing a safe peanut free lunchtime experience at my son's school cafeteria.

First some facts...

My son will be bringing his OWN lunch each day to school each day, he will NEVER be eating food from the school.

The company that supplies the school's food (Sodexho) says that the food menu they deliver at his school is (supposed to be) peanut and nut-free.

We do not know if AIR-BORN peanut and nut fumes are an issue for him. Our allergist is unable (or unwilling)to say for sure if airborn peanut/nuts will affect him, he just says to assume that it is, and to avoid this scenario. He also says to avoid touching surfaces that have known peanut and nut exposures.

My son will be the ONLY peanut allergy kid this coming year at this school. In addition, this will be the first year that the children eat in a cafeteria setting. Previously, all the children ate in their classrooms.

What is your school's procedures for establishing a safe eating environment for your child???

Thank you for your assistance and ideas,


Posted on: Wed, 08/01/2007 - 6:01am
seanmn's picture
Joined: 10/01/2003 - 09:00

My pa ds has a Peanut Free table in the lunchroom. He always brings his own lunch. The only kids that can sit with him are the one's who are not eating peanutbutter, and the teachers in the lunchroom check. Each teacher eats with her or his class, so the kids are always being monitered. The table does have a sign on it.
The table he uses is at the end closest to the office and the furthest away from the peanutbutter. Yes, the kids can have a peanutbutter sand. if they like.
His table also has it's own bucket and towel. They wash it down before and after he eats.
I also send him with a few papertowels that he uses for a placemat. Wipes every day too for before and after eating.
He also does not throw anything away in the garbage can in the lunchroom. He puts everything back in his lunchbag and brings it home.
It has worked out very well.

Posted on: Wed, 08/01/2007 - 6:58am
chanda4's picture
Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

here's what my school does(love to post this video!!)
so basically my son(and the other allergy students) have 2 large tables to sit at on one side of the lunchroom, they have their own chairs, their own trash bins(and sperate cleaning buckets and rags) son eats hot lunch there, or allergy students with cold lunch can sit there. If room allows(not too many allergic kids) the allergy child can bring a couple friends who purchase a safe(nut free) hot lunch(no cold lunches allowed if you are not an allergy child).
Then in the middle are the hot lunch tables, all non-allergy hot-lunch-eaters sit there.
Then on the other side of the lunchroom are the cold-lunch tables, so all pb eaters would sit there(as well as the hot lunch kids who bought pb...our school serves the individual packaged pb Uncrustables). Those kids have their own trash bins as well(and own cleaning buskets and rags) and those kids are asked to walk over and wash their hands once finished eating.
I honestly think this set up is GREAT!!!! As you can see from the video, some parents aren't too happy though...but if keeps the allergy kids safer, then I think it is the best solution! Good luck!!!!
ps my son would get stomach aches int he lunchroom at first(before they moved the pb across the room)....but it wasn't enough for me to make him eat elsewhere(I was considering it). Once they moved the pb eaters further didn't bother him anymore.
Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 1/2(beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig, hamster & asthma)
Jake-6 1/2(peanut, all tree nuts, seasame seeds, (avoiding all seeds&coconut)eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-4 (milk, tree nuts(avoiding peanuts and seeds)soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig, hamster, grass, mold, dust mite and EE)
Savannah-1 1/2 (milk, beef and egg, dog(avoiding peanuts, tree nuts, strawberries, sesame seeds, green beans, peas and corn)

Posted on: Wed, 08/01/2007 - 9:23am
Chicago's picture
Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

I would just like to echo what was said above - if you do a peanut free table a sign needs to be on it.
At dd's school the tables are often used for parent coffees, teacher meetings, moved about for this and that if people are not aware that that is THE TABLE it is no longer a peanut free thing.
For an example once at our school a guest brought in some MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) while discussing the soldiers conditions for a charity project. A great idea, but the MRE contained a squeeze pack of Peanut Butter - which was eaten at the PN-free table as it had been moved out of its normal spot (sign at that point just hanged overhead).


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