- - -
My son doesn’t have food allergies, but his school has recently become nut-free. I love that I can send 88 Acres snacks with him to school, but I don’t know much else about nut allergies, and I don’t think he does either. I’m sure you get asked about this a lot, so I was hoping you might have some advice!
Thanks so much,
Food allergies are a nerve-wracking topic, but I can definitely give you some helpful tips. You’ve already taken the important first step of finding nut-free alternatives, which is great! You can also adapt your favorite family recipes with nut-free ingredients like seeds or pulses. Peanut Butter cookies or PB&J sandwiches are just as delicious with Seed Butters. If your child has a friend with food allergies, I would recommend keeping some nut-free products in your pantry for when his friends with allergies come over so you can make sure they're safe. Parents of food allergy kids can be a great resource for ideas and advice. I would also have a conversation with his teacher about classroom expectations in terms of snacks and nut allergies. It’s worth thinking about for when he brings a snack in for the whole class.
Helping your child actively keep his friends safe is another great step you can take. Talk to him about what to do if their friend has an allergic reaction; you should explain how important it is to stay calm while immediately finding an adult. Allergic reactions can be extremely scary, especially for kids, so giving him an idea of what to do when one occurs is important. To help prevent them from happening in the first place, teach your child how to read ingredient labels and spot potential allergens. Sharing food is fun for kids, but try to encourage your child not to trade snacks with food allergy friends if they’re unsure if the food is safe. Finally, washing hands is a simple and effective way to reduce the risk of a reaction. If your child loves peanut butter for breakfast, make sure their hands are washed with soap and water, or use a hand wipe before sending them into the classroom.
An often-neglected part of nut allergies is safety outside the classroom or home. Many after-school activities are now nut-free, and even if they’re not you should keep your child’s nut-free friends in mind. This extends to snacking in your own home, as well as sending your son to his friend’s house with snacks. A general mindfulness of food allergies goes a long way!
Lastly, I suggest looking up other allergy resources. I always recommend giving Spokin and SnackSafely a read before school starts up again. I hope my advice is helpful, and thank you for writing to us!