Peanut-Free Packable Preschool Snacks!
My daughter came home this week with the letter I have been dreading: "All Lunches and Snacks MUST be peanut-free." As a therapist working in a preschool that is also peanut-free and as a mom, I understand completely the importance and need for this rule. If my child was the one with the severe peanut allergy I would be relieved to know that the school and parents support the policy and are protecting my child.
BUT, as the mom of a picky eater, this can be a tough rule to follow. I paid extra-close attention to what the kids were eating this past Friday when I was lunch mom in my daughter's classroom. One of the biggest trends I noticed was that most students did not have a main lunch food, such as a sandwich, to eat. My guess is that at ages 3-5 most children prefer a peanut butter and jelly sandwich over anything else and without the peanut butter, you are left with plain old jelly.
At our school, additional snacks such as granola bars and hummus have also been added to the banned list. Peanut butter and chocolate chip granola bars are staple foods for my daughter. One of the other moms from her class recently posted on her Facebook status a plea for non-peanut food ideas that can be packed in her daughter's lunch and do not need to be heated or refrigerated by more than an ice pack. The response was incredible! Over 30 comments poured in with tons of ideas!
Today I would like to share some of those healthy ideas, as well as some of my own go-to snacks:
- Bagel with cream cheese (many varieties of bagels and cream cheese flavors exist!)
- Thermos foods:
- Macaroni and cheese
- Dinner leftovers, such as raviolis, mixed vegetables
- Tuna fish, egg salad, chicken salad
- Lunch meat - on bread or rolled up, etc.
- Yogurt and Go-gurts
- Fresh fruit and vegetables (such as carrots, celery, sliced peppers)
- Dried fruits, such as raisins, dried cranberries (Trader Joes sells an excellent assortment)
- Applesauce (many varieties available)
- Apple butter, pumpkin butter, various jellies and spreads
- Carrots and ranch dressing dip
- Hard boiled eggs
- Small cheese crackers
- Cheese sticks
- Fruit snacks and fruit "leather"
- Sunflower butter (peanut butter-like spread made from sunflower seeds. Trader Joe's brand is delicious. Can be used just like peanut butter)
- Rice cakes
- Rice (non-granola) cereals
- Corn chips and salsa
- Homemade muffins and loaf breads
Looking for one last healthy snack idea?
Create your own "trail mixes" minus the nuts and granola!
Try using raisins, dried bananas and cranberries, rice Chex or other rice-based cereal
all mixed together into a happy medley. Delicious!