If you have a child with a food allergy, you know how important it is to have back-up snacks in the classroom (or at church, camp, preschool, or other routine spot your child spends time).
These snacks rescue your child when an unexpected party crops up, you forget to send in a snack, or your child simply gets hungry.
In my own experience as both a mom of a tree-nut allergic child and a dietitian, I know that having an assortment of snacks can offer more food variety for your child, help prevent boredom (“Same old snack, ugh.”), and may keep food exciting and interesting.
You might pick out three or four of the snacks below to keep in the classroom as a backup.
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), here are my 25 healthy, allergy-friendly back-up snacks for school.
I’ve called out any potential allergens. 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 allergens, and call the manufacturer when in doubt.
Food Allergy-Friendly Snacks for School
Individual cups make an easy, healthy snack. Try other packaged fruit sauces, like peach sauce.
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.
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.
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.
Available in small individual cans, vegetable juice packs a vitamin variety, and is a healthy option for any child.
Made from vegetables, this snack is a good stand-in for potato 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.
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.
Gluten free pretzels or regular pretzels are available. Small individual packets are perfect for the classroom.
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.
Spread with nut-free butter for a stick-to-your-ribs snack.
A dry, crunchy cereal option for kids.
Sun Butter (sunflower butter).
Keep a small jar on the shelf for combination snacks such as rice crackers and sun butter or celery sticks and sun butter.
Wow Butter (soy butter).
Use in a similar manner to Sun Butter. Avoid if allergic to soy.
Just add hot water for a nutritious cold-weather snack. If your child has a wheat allergy, look for wheat-free brands.
Healthier than potato chips! Not suitable for children with a wheat allergy.
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.
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.
Contains wheat. A lower sugar cookie option for those unexpected sweet treat appearances in the classroom.
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.
May contain soy. High in protein and flavorful, look for jerkies that are made from 100% lean turkey and have natural ingredients.
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.
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 help planning healthy snacks or just need some fresh ideas? Check out my new E-Guide below!
Written by: Jill Castle, MS, RDN
Published on: April 27, 2016
Updated on: May 14, 2019