Food allergies make sending cupcakes to school for a birthday party a no-no or having kids over for a play-date/sleep-over a minefield. What can you do? Here are some allergy-sensitive options. Please keep in mind that there are kids who are allergic to these foods, too. It is always best to ask.
- Air-popped popcorn spritzed with canola or coconut oil (Sprinkle with salt or cinnamon sugar.)
- Apple slices, orange sections, Clementine sections (You can also cut them around the middle for a fun change of pace!)
- Grapes (Try mixing red and green grapes and eating them with toothpicks for fun.)
- Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon (Use small cookie cutters to make fun shapes!)
- Peach or pear slices
- Carrots, celery, radishes, broccoli bites, grape tomatoes
- Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries – fresh or frozen (The frozen ones are great to eat when it is HOT outside!)
- Raisins, dried cranberries or dried bananas
- Sticky rice mixed with coconut milk and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar
- Frozen fruit juice popsicles (Put 100% fruit juice into ice cube trays. When partially frozen, add a toothpick. When completely frozen, remove from trays and enjoy!)
- Fruit smoothies (Use plain fruit, fresh or frozen. Toss some ice into the blender, then add fruit. Blend until smooth. You may need to add sugar, so taste before you remove it from the blender.)
- Make your own jello with plain gelatin and fruit juice. (Add fruit, too). Then use small cookie cutters to make fun shapes. Eat and enjoy!
- Banana circles with coconut milk- sprinkle with cinnamon
Some things that might be possible if your group is not allergic to nuts or dairy:
- Nutella with apple slices or banana circles
- Cheese sticks or cubes
- Use small cookie cutters to make shapes in cheese and lunchmeat. (Put them together to make breadless sandwiches.)
- Peanut butter and apple slices and/or celery sticks
- Sticky rice mixed with Parmesan cheese and a little butter
- Air-popped popcorn with melted butter, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese
- Gluten-Free Peanut butter cookies (includes peanut butter and eggs)
You can always ask parents to send a snack with their kids. Sometimes brown-bagging it is the safest way to go. You might have to watch carefully to prevent children from sharing food. The only major precaution you have to take is to avoid cross-contaminating the children’s food when you are helping them prepare their snack or open containers and sandwich bags. Washing your hands between each child seems like a huge hassle, but as a Mom who has a kid with a food-allergy, it makes a big difference to me.
A special note about nut allergies: Some kiddos only have to breathe the particles in to have a reaction. If that is the case, be sure that no one else packs anything containing nuts. It is not worth the “excitement” that would happen!
Sleep-overs and play-dates can happen, even if one or more of the children have a food-allergy. All it takes is a little forethought, some creativity and a lot of communication before the event. Then, keep thinking about “where your hands have been” before you touch someone else’s food and you can have a successful, allergy friendly get-together. Now go and have some fun!