The school year is in full swing, and I’m trying to keep classroom snacks ready. With the holidays coming soon, I know that my children will be taking things in to share in the classroom.
At our house, we have multiple food allergies, so while I try to pack things for my kids on snack days, sometimes it is nice for other parents to know there will be something they can put together that my daughter can eat safely. A goal is a snack that’s easy to prepare, and not an obvious compromise for other children in the classroom. Always check with the teacher or other parents to see what the needs in your child’s classroom are. Also always read the ingredients on the package yourself and share with others–if in doubt, keep the original packaging with the snack so it can be checked if needed.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Cut fruit or vegetables on a clean cutting board, pack in snack-sized baggies. These options are pretty pure and simple for all. If there is a severe milk allergy, make sure that cheese was not recently cut on the board. Dried fruit is also a good option. You’ll find, though, that various food oils are used to treat some dried fruits, so always send the packaging.
Pop it on the stovetop with oil or in an air popper. I have used a large stockpot, and have my eye on Lehman’s Stainless Steel Popcorn Popper. It’s super easy to use either method to pop corn on the stovetop, and you don’t have to worry about all the gunk in microwave popcorn.
When popping corn, use an oil that is not an allergen-canola is usually good but do read the label to make sure it is not cross-contaminated at manufacture. Do not add butter to your popped corn if milk is an allergy. Season simply if in doubt: some salt and perhaps a light dusting of pepper.
Non-wheat Chex, Fritos and gluten-free pretzels can be put together to make a nice snack mix, and you needn’t bake it. You can add Skittles or mini-marshmallows to sweeten it up. Another option: follow a recipe for Chex Mix (also called “Chicken Feed”) and substitute a neutral oil like canola oil for butter, if it’s called for in the recipe.
Applesauce Cups/Squeeze Packets
I have purchased small take-out containers in bulk so that I can use my own homemade applesauce and portion it for single servings. When applesauce is frozen, it’s like a super ice pop. If you can take the pops right from the freezer to the school, that’s always a treat, since most snacks are room temperature.
Be aware that many prepackaged applesauce snacks are starting to have disclaimer cross-contamination statements so make sure to send the box if you use this kind of snack. They also can have lots of sugar and chemicals.
These are just some of my recommendations. The biggest thing I can suggest is to have open communication with the other parents and teacher about the needs. Remember that we all want our kids to have a great day at school and a snack that helps them focus for the rest of the day. What are some things you will be sending in to school?