Poll: Brown bag or cafeteria?

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 4:08am
Nina's picture
Joined: 07/18/1999 - 09:00

Some background:
My son will be starting all day kindergarten this Fall. He's been in daycare the past 5 years and he has eaten their lunches and breakfasts with no problems (I do provide alternative treats and snacks). However, it is a small daycare center and they have been fabulous about not serving anything with peanut. I have also called many of their food suppliers to check on what is safe or not and if something is not safe or in question, they provide a different meal option of him (how customer friendly is this? :-) ).

Now that Grant is starting public school, I just assumed we would pack a lunch and snacks each day. Obviously this will be the safest option, but I do wish he could eat the same foods as his friends, both so he is "less different" and as a convenience to us.

This school is NOT peanut free, although they do have other PA kids. I am planning to check with their parents before school starts to find out their experiences, practices, comfort levels, etc. We've also started the usual education/communication process with school staff and will continue to do so as we get closer, including parents and students.

Question: Do your PA kids eat in the school cafeterias and, if so, is the school peanut free? And, how old are your PA kids? (I'm thinking it will be more likely for an older child eat the cafeteria food vs. a 5 year old.)

Thanks! Nina

Sorry -- I should have posted under "Schools" -- Can someone move for me, please? I tried, but am not allowed.

[This message has been edited by Nina (edited March 05, 2003).]

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 4:42am
Dawn's picture
Joined: 02/22/1999 - 09:00

I copy and pasted it to the school forum. Is there an another way? (Just wondering)
Be safe,
FYI, I deleted my copy and paste, but Going Nuts posted while I was deleting, Sorry again, Amy!
[This message has been edited by Dawn (edited March 05, 2003).]

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 4:44am
Chicago's picture
Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

My dd is 8 (2nd grade) - PA and TNA. Her school is not peanut free. She brings her lunch and eats in the cafeteria - although she does eats some of the special lunches. (for example Pizza or Hot Dog day). She has been doing that since preschool (at the same school).
There are other PA kids (a couple contact senstive)and a peanut free table which is new this year. DD sat there for a while at the beginning of this year, but it sort of became a social issue for her. No one was teasing or anything - she just missed all of her friends and hated sitting there with only one or two others or even by herself. The school was reluctant to let others sit there, not knowing if their lunches were safe, unless the parents had gone to the effort saying it was OK. It is not the best system IMHO, but they are trying and I understand the need to protect those that have had contact reactions and keep that table (also used for different lunch periods as peanut free) clean of residue. Since dd has never had a contact or airborne reaction (through many years of daycare, as well as the previous 3 years of school experience when the kids were messier and less careful eaters), we decided that she could go back to a "regular" table.
The kids all bring their own snacks, which are eaten in the classroom. The school did ask that peanut snacks be avoided since those are eaten in the room.
I know that my comfort level is a little different then some. I will be interested in the responses of others.

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 5:54am
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Chicago and I have a lot in common. I also have an 8 year old second grade dd who is pa and tna. This year she is at a school that does not have a true hot lunch program. The PTA provides lunch two days a week for a fee: pizza from Round Table one day, and some choices from KFC the other day. My dd eats both of these without any problems. Last year we were at a different school with a hot lunch program. She ate hot lunch about 1/2 the time. I met with the director of Food Service - during a 504 meeting - and he assured me they don't use peanuts or nuts. I didn't call suppliers, but I went with my gut, which was to let her eat the stuff that seemed most likely to be safe. We are fortunate that she had no problems. We tried the peanut free table and it didn't work for us because of social issues, too. The other kids just didn't seem to think to eat there, even if they had safe lunches. We gave that up this year and haven't had any problems at all. Leah doesn't have a history of contact reactions, either, so I'm sure that makes a difference in our comfort zone - which is obviously looser than many on the boards. Good luck! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 6:18am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

My son is 7 and in the 1st grade. Our school is not peanut free, however, I was able to convince the prinipal to make the hot lunch program peanut free. We do not have a peanut free table, but my son eats in a designated section of the table that (supposedly) is cleansed down accoring to my 504 plan before he arrives for lunch each day.
Since my son is still young, he brown bags his lunch almost every day. He has eaten the hot lunch a couple times when either my husband or I could join him at lunch time. Overall the lunch seems to be safe, however, I have a friend who works in the cafeteria who told me that a co-worker who was not aware of the peanut free hot lunch policy at our school almost provided peanut butter sandwiches one day (all of the food is made off site at the high school, and then transported to our school).
I am hoping to be able to let my son eat hot lunch more often as he gets older. He is very conciencious of his allergy, and knows what to avoid. I think, for example, hot dog day would be safe. I would read the lunch menu and discuss his choices with him before school started each day. This would be just one step towards letting him take control of his allergy and me letting go.

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 6:52am
samirosenjacken's picture
Joined: 09/30/2002 - 09:00

My dd is in the first grade and sits at a peanut free table. I pack for her 4 days a week and she is allowed to buy pizza on fridays. I also cleared the chicken nuggets with the nurse and nutritionist so we are safe there.
I think if you talk with all the necessary people, your child can safely eat some things the school has. Everyone knows my daughter so they double check and triple check for her safety!

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 9:49am
Sandra Y's picture
Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

If you are in a public school, the hot lunch program is a federal program and must accommodate food allergies. What this would mean varies from one place to another. At some schools, they might eliminate all unsafe foods. Other schools would provide a safe substitute for the allergic child. All children attending public school have a right to participate in the hot lunch program. In my case, I decided this was not a right I wanted to pursue. My PA son brings his lunch every day. But FAAN does have some information about getting accommodations in the school lunch program. Good luck.

Posted on: Thu, 03/06/2003 - 4:07am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

We will always brown bag. My dyed blonde hair would turn grey from constant worry if we didn't go this route. However, I'm a SAHM and have the time to pack some really awesome lunches for my kids.

Posted on: Thu, 03/06/2003 - 6:03am
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Sandra Y, good point about FAAN. I gave the director of Food Services all the FAAN info. from the "School Food Allergy Program" before our 504 meeting. I think this helped a lot. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

Posted on: Thu, 03/06/2003 - 12:48pm
LisaMcDowell's picture
Joined: 12/06/2002 - 09:00

My Chelsea is an 8 year old third grader who use to think it was a privilege to eat school lunches, now its a routine thing. Her school is not peanut free, her classroom is.
As soon as she learned to read we began teaching her about restaurant menus by looking for entrees that could pose a problem. We also help her formulate questions to ask the wait staff about food preparation, type of oil(s) used, etc. This is what we have developed to teach her how to take care of her allergy. We've chosen to start ASAP. We learned how quickly they grow from our 27 year old son!
[This message has been edited by LisaMcDowell (edited March 06, 2003).]

Posted on: Fri, 03/07/2003 - 1:51am
Nina's picture
Joined: 07/18/1999 - 09:00

Thanks everyone for all the info! Lots to absorb and think about - very helpful and I greatly appreciate it as we approach and plan for this new phase. Take care, Nina

Peanut Free Store

More Articles

You already know that if you or your child has a peanut allergy you need to avoid peanut butter. Some...

There are many reasons why you may want to substitute almond flour for wheat flour in recipes. Of course, if you have a...

Are you looking for peanut-free candies as a special treat for a child with...

Do you have a child with peanut allergies and an upcoming birthday? Perhaps you'd like to bake a...

Most nut butters provide all the same benefits: an easy sandwich spread, a great dip for veggies, a fun addition to a smoothie. But not...