Joe has a nut allergy. Katie is celiac. Mike doesn’t do dairy. Jane is vegan. When it comes to providing snacks these days, it can be hard to work around everyone’s allergies and dietary needs. Unfortunately, we may not be able to 100 percent please 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time, but there are some safe bets to keep in mind.
Next time a snack is needed for a child’s friend group or a school function, consider the 10 that are listed out down below. For the most part and in most cases, they are free of allergens, they are good to go in the classroom, and they are actually tasty and nutritious, which is especially important when trying to please a young crowd!
First up would be good ol’ fashioned raisins, which has been a go-to snack for years and years and years. These can be bought in bulk. They can be purchased in individual boxes. They have health benefits, such as providing antioxidants, improving skin health and keeping digestive systems healthy. And they are just dried grapes, so they are a simple and sweet snack suggestion, appealing to many people out there.
Popcorn is usually another safe bet, and it is a fan favorite food! Plus, there are so many different options: There are flavors, there are seasonings that can be added, there are healthier versions, and there are at-home solutions for whipping this up quickly. Since popcorn is associated with going to the movie theater (meaning that smell alone will get kids anxious to eat), this is a fun choice and a great one for school parties or gatherings at home.
8 Beef Jerky
There are those who are allergic to meat, and there are vegans and vegetarians. There is fake jerky, though, too, so this could work, as well!
Beef jerky or turkey jerky is not as affordable as some of the other snacks on this list, but it is packed full of protein, and it provides a neat way to make sure kiddos are getting that. There are also a variety of flavors, so be sure to offer up some variety, since everyone is picky.
The main food allergies that are seen involve wheat, milk, peanuts, tree-nuts, eggs, soy, fish, and shellfish, but SunButter is something that is free of it all. Furthermore, this stuff is simply delicious! It is like peanut butter, but it has such a unique taste, and it is always a crowd-pleaser. It comes in jars and even little individual cups (smart choice for classrooms), and it would be quite good on several of the other snack suggestions that are listed out here, such as the next one that is up...
6 Rice Cakes
Rice cakes are a pretty simple and healthy food choice, and they can be enjoyed on their own or dressed up with toppings. A cool idea would be to have a sort of bar station, where kids could add spreads, fruits, and other elements, creating the perfect rice cake creation! It would be like an art project or a science experiment, making it a fun snack choice for children of all ages (and adults, too, who are sometimes along for the snack ride in the classroom).
Once again, there are those who are allergic to many different things, but when it comes to the most common allergens, there is always a safe bet: fruit. Fruit provides nutrients that bodies need, but most of these do come with high sugar counts. For kiddos in school, though, this can be a good choice, as they are active and going to burn it all off anyway. There are also so many types out there, so fruit platters can certainly please a classroom. Better an apple or berries or a banana than candies and gummies and chocolate!
On a similar note, there are vegetables, which are so important to everyone's dietary needs. Not everyone is a fan, but there are creative ways to make these appeal to a young audience. There are veggie sticks that are like potato chips. There are cooking methods that add tons of flavor (like pouring oils on top of brussel sprouts before placing then in a skillet or the oven). And there are platters that cut vegetables up into fun shapes and offer up dips and dressings, too, and options are always smart, especially in classrooms.
3 Seaweed Snacks
To take the healthy route even further, consider seaweed! Yes, that was read correctly...
This provides even more nutrition than vegetables, and this snack has grown in popularity over the past few years. Stores carry pre-packaged options that have seasonings on them, and some people gobble these up in a big way, which is awesome for parents wanting to supply beneficial food choices. Don't knock it 'til it's tried, and be prepared to possibly fall in love.
2 Chips & Salsa
Another way to encourage kids to eat veggies is with salsa, and it is usually paired with tortilla chips, which are even safe for those who are allergic to gluten. Yes, this is a very popular side and snack item that can be enjoyed at home, in a restaurant or at school. A bar could be set up with this, as well, to let everyone pick what shape of chip they want and what type of dip they want (like hot sauce, a mild salsa, sour cream, pico, salad dressing, queso, and guacamole).
1 Homemade Dessert
Homemade is sometimes the best way to go (and, for some, the only way to go), and there are numerous recipes out there that are free of nuts, dairy, gluten and so on. Plus, a dessert is always a winner, especially when it comes to little kids. With a made-at-home dish, a person can customize it, as well, and can make several dishes, in order to have a variety. Everyone will surely appreciate that, especially in today's time, when there are so many different allergies!