If you have a child with a food allergy, you need allergy-free snacks in the classroom (or at church, camp, preschool, or other routine spot your child spends time).
In this article, you’ll find 25 food allergy-friendly snacks for the classroom. Lose the worry about your child being left out, or worse, getting exposed to one of the foods to which he is allergic. These snacks will keep your kiddo safe!
In my own experience as both a mom of a tree-nut allergic child and a dietitian, I know that having an assortment of allergy free snacks can offer more food variety to your child, help prevent boredom (“Same old snack, ugh.”), and may keep food exciting and interesting.
Let’s face it, having snacks in the classroom for your food-allergic child is a smart idea. They can rescue your child when an unexpected party crops up, you forget to send in a snack, or your child simply gets hungry.
What Does It Mean to be Allergy Free?
When a food is “allergy free,” it means that it doesn’t have the Top 8 allergens that are common in kids.
In this list of 25 allergy free snacks, you can expect to find nut free options, however, you will find the presence of wheat noted, as well as any other potential allergen to be aware of.
Storing Allergy Friendly Snacks
It’s a good idea to pick out three or four of the allergy free snacks below to keep in the classroom.
Place them in a container labeled for your child. State clearly: “Back Up Snacks for Drew” or “Emergency Snacks for Kate.”
While it’s nearly impossible to assemble a list that will cover everyone’s food allergy (one can be allergic to anything, after all), I’ve called out any potential allergens you should know.
Remember, most of the foods kids are allergic to fall within the categories of the Big 8, or the most common food allergies for kids.
If your child has multiple food allergies, you’ll be scanning this list for a few food allergens.
Always check the ingredient label for an itemized list of potential food allergens, and call the manufacturer when in doubt. It’s not unusual for a food to change its ingredients!
25 Nut Free & Allergy Free Foods for School
There are lots of options for school snacks that are suitable for kids with food allergies. I’ve captured 25 here. These are shelf-stable, meaning they don’t require refrigeration.
Individual cups make an easy, healthy snack. Try other packaged fruit sauces, like peach sauce.
2. Fruit Puree
Packaged in pouches, you can find these in pure fruit or fruit and veggie combinations.
Available in small, medium boxes, or large containers, raisins make a healthy, fiber-filled, iron-rich snack. If your child isn’t allergic to milk, try yogurt-covered raisins for added variety.
4. Other Dried Fruit
The sky is the limit here: banana chips, dried apricots, cherries, plums, and more! Though these are harder to find in individual packages, you can still purchase a container for the classroom.
5. Freeze-Dried Fruit “Chips”
A crunchy snack made of fruit, similar to the types of food astronauts eat in outer space, freeze-dried fruit snacks are popular and nutritious.
6. Vegetable Juice
Available in small individual cans, vegetable juice packs a vitamin variety, and is a healthy option for any child.
7. Veggie Chips
Made from vegetables, this snack is a good stand-in for potato chips.
8. Kale Chips
Surprisingly delicious and shelf-stable, try these for a variation on standard chips. *Note: some kale chips are made with cashews or cashew butter; please check the label.
9. Freeze-Dried Veggies
Roasted veggies, edamame and corn top the list of options in the freeze-dried category of vegetables
Make your own and package in plastic bags or use allergen-free options like Earth Balance, Eden Organic or Divvies.
Here’s a list of healthy microwave popcorns, but check the ingredient list for allergens. Butter-style typically has milk.
Gluten free pretzels or regular pretzels are available. Small individual packets are perfect for the classroom.
12. Rice Crackers*
Best to package these into smaller bags for your child, as they can become stale over time. Pair these with Sun Butter or Wow Butter for a nutritious snack option.
13. Rice Cakes*
Spread with nut-free butter for a stick-to-your-ribs snack.
14. Rice Chex*
A dry, crunchy cereal option for kids.
15. Sun Butter (sunflower seed butter)
Keep a small jar on the shelf for combination snacks such as rice crackers and sun butter or celery sticks and sun butter.
16. Wow Butter (soy butter)
Use in a similar manner to Sun Butter. Avoid if allergic to soy.
17. Oatmeal Packets
Just add hot water for a nutritious cold-weather snack. If your child has a wheat allergy, look for wheat-free or gluten-free brands.
18. Pita Chips
Healthier than potato chips! Not suitable for children with a wheat allergy.
19. Pirate’s Booty
Contains milk, so not useful for the milk-allergic child, but made in a peanut and tree nut free facility. These are available in individual packages.
20. Fig Newtons
Contains milk and wheat, so avoid if allergic to these. These are individually packaged and available in bulk. A good substitute when the unexpected cupcake shows up.
21. Animal Crackers
Contains wheat. A lower sugar cookie option for those unexpected sweet treat appearances in the classroom.
22. Beef Jerky
A high protein (and often high salt) snack made from beef. Read the ingredient label, as some versions may contain soy or wheat. Choose varieties made from lean beef, not processed meat.
23. Turkey Jerky
May contain soy. High in protein and flavorful, look for jerkies that are made from 100% lean turkey and have natural ingredients.
24. 100% Fruit Juice Box
Available in 4 to 8 ounce containers, these are at the ready if your child is thirsty or needs a pick-me-up. Make sure to purchase 100% juice, as all others contain added sugar.
25. Rice Milk Box*
Available in an 8-ounce box and in vanilla or chocolate flavors, these can be a nutritious snack in the classroom.
*Be sure to balance all rice products in the day to avoid potential over-consumption of arsenic.
What are your favorite healthy, allergen-free, shelf-stable snacks?
Need More Help for Food Allergies?
I’ve got a few articles here to help:
If you’re a parent looking for more help with feeding and nourishing your child, check out The Nourished Child, my nutrition education website for parents, where you’ll find workshops, classes and guidebooks created to help you be a better feeder so you can raise a healthy eater.
This article was originally published in April 2016 | Updated in October 2020.