When I was growing up, peanuts and peanut related snacks and lunches were everywhere. These were a childhood staple.
However, with the rise of allergy awareness, these peanut laden snacks have become virtually extinct. Nut free zones within schools and child care centers are the new norm. However, finding completely nut free snacks can be especially tricky when some products contain traces of peanuts either in the product itself or in the facility where they are produced.
Thankfully, I’ve had 8 years of practice making peanut free snacks being that my son never found them to his liking. I’ve found sticking to a couple of easy rules to be the solution to creating tasty nut free snacks for my son and his class.
Stick To Whole Foods
One of the tempting conveniences we are faced with on a daily basis when it comes to snacks and meals are: packaged foods. They are cheap, quick, and found just about everywhere. The problem with these foods is that as a way to be affordable and more filling, many of them include peanuts and a variety of other nuts.
The easiest and most widely available alternatives are whole food based snacks – this includes sliced veggies and fruits. Pre-packaged containers of ready to eat produce are becoming more available, even in gas stations and corner convenience stores.
One way to make whole food snacks more affordable is by dedicating 30-45 minutes at the beginning of the week to meal prep.
- Clean and chop all the carrots, sweet peppers, apples, oranges, celery, and cucumbers you would want to eat during the week.
- Use a simple mixture of lemon and water on the apples and any other produce that might brown.
- Portion them out in easy-to-open containers so family members can grab them when the urge hits.
Just remember people need to eat more whole foods to get and stay as full as they would be when eating more protein packed foods, so prep a little more rather than less.
Become a Muffin Master
There was a time when I was so obsessed with juicing that I couldn’t go a single day without having some sort of savory sweet blend in a tall glass. The result of all that juicing was lots of pulp….lots and lots of pulp.
I felt horrible throwing all this pulp away so I decided to get creative and start adding it to all my baked goods for extra fiber. My family couldn’t even tell there were carrots and apples in their morning muffins until I told them.
When I wasn’t juicing as much, my family still wanted the muffins – pulp and all. I absolutely loved that they did, so I decided to experiment with a variety of shredded fruits and veggies to make vegan and nut-free muffins. Some were good and some were great. What’s great is these muffins can be frozen and saved for the future.
One way or the other, the process of trial and error was fun for my family and provided great nut-free snacks for all. A simple internet search for vegan muffins recipes could give you some tips and tricks on experimenting with your own family.
Dehydrate Your Produce
My last and favorite nut-free snack is dehydrated produce. I love them so much I went out and purchased a dehydrator to make my own snacks. It made sense financially being that high quality dehydrated snacks can be pricey.
Dehydrating your fruit and veggies are as simple as slicing, seasoning (if necessary), and spreading them to dry in the dehydrator. Delicious kale chips are as easy as cleaning and drying the leaves, massaging with a little olive oil, and adding a bit of salt. After 4 hours in the dehydrator, you have a batch of savory nut free snacks for a fraction of the cost if purchased as a packaged product. Try this or other easy dehydrator recipes for either sweet or savory options.
Growing up with a child who simply dislikes most nuts made coming up with nut-free snack solutions second nature. The first major hurdle was truly giving up my own ideas of snacks based on my childhood. But establishing a few simple solutions has been a true life saver. I hope these suggestions help you and your family on your peanut free journey.