With all the allergies popping up these days, parents who are already facing picky eating difficulties with their children are now also faced with the added obstacle of finding healthy, kid-friendly snack foods that are nut-free. There are quite a few products coming out now with the “peanut-free label”, which make it easy to identify a safe snack choice. Unfortunately, these snacks not always the healthiest and can be loaded with sugar.

Here are some ideas for quick, healthy, kid-friendly snacks (nut-free, of course) to help with this challenge. Print them out and stick them on your fridge for a quick reference when packing lunches.
  • Fruit or fruit cups (packed in water or juice)
  • Fruit sauces (such as apple) with no sugar added
  • Cut-up vegetables (baby carrots, celery, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, etc.) with low-fat yogurt dip or hummus
  • Cheese strings
  • Yogurt cups
  • Dry cereal (nut-free, of course)
  • Air-popped Popcorn
  • Unsweetened dried fruit (raisins, dates, cranberries, etc.)
  • Crackers (with cheese)
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Low-fat, homemade oatmeal raisin cookie
  • Guacamole or hummus with baked pita chips
  • Homemade low-fat muffin, such as carrot, oatmeal, blueberry or banana
  • Bread with pea or sunflower butter (only if label says it’s nut-free) & jam

When dealing with nut-free restrictions, it’s important to prevent cross-contamination. A good idea is to keep your “nut-free” snack products in a different cupboard than nut-containing products in your home. Cross-contamination can occur any time a nut product has come in contact with another food, a surface or your skin. If the area isn’t properly cleaned, residue can be transferred easily to a “safe” food. 

What to do when grocery shopping

When purchasing packaged foods, such as cereals and granola bars, it’s always important to read the label every time, as manufacturers can change their products at any time. 

Below are some ingredients that indicate traces of nuts in a product:
  • peanuts
  • vegetable oil (may be peanut oil)
  • mixed nuts
  • ground nuts
  • mandelonas
  • peanut butter
  • beer nuts
  • peanut oil
  • goober nuts
  • goober peas
  • peanut flour
  • artificial nuts
  • hydrolyzed peanut protein
Also, watch for labels which say: "May contain traces of nuts or peanut" and treat these products as if they contain nuts. When shopping, avoid foods that do not have a label, are in bulk bins, or are unpackaged (such as baked goods) and placed near other goods that may have nut ingredients. 

Some other potential sources of peanut are: 
  • cereals (especially granola mix)
  • granola bars
  • cookie and cake mixes
  • rice cakes
  • crackers
  • ice cream
  • and candies. 

Janine Bolton

12/29/2010 09:39:22 am

There are quite a few products coming out now with the “peanut-free label”, which make it easy to identify a safe snack choice.

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