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20 Nut-Free Snacks for a Safe School Option

Written by Addie Martanovic on August 11, 2020

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Even if your child doesn’t have a nut allergy, many schools are nut-free for all kids since nuts are one of the most common allergens. When you were a kid, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or peanut butter crackers may have been your mom’s go-to for your lunchbox or afternoon snack, but that’s not an option for many of today’s children. 

If you’re looking for some healthy nut-free snacks for school lunches, we have some ideas to keep everyone at school safe, satisfied, and well-nourished.

Understanding Food Labels for Nut Allergies

Allergy labeling on food products is fairly strict, therefore, it should be pretty easy to identify which foods contain nuts. Obviously, foods that overtly are made from peanuts or other tree nuts, like nut butter or nut-flavored snacks are not an option to send to schools practicing nut-free boundaries.

If you’re unsure whether a food contains nuts, you may just need to take a closer look at the label. The food should either say “nut free” or overtly list the nut and say something like “contains peanuts” right on the label (usually called out underneath the ingredients list). 

You may come across some products that say “made in a facility with nuts”. This is an optional label for food manufacturers but is important for those who have nut allergies to prevent cross-contamination. These snacks are usually safe for school if your child isn’t the one with a nut allergy, but be sure to check with the school first. 

Best 20 Nut-Free Snacks for Kids

To help make packing lunches easier for parents and caregivers everywhere, here’s a list of our favorite tree nut-free snacks you can toss in their lunch boxes. 

Protein Snacks

1. Chomps meat sticks are an easy-to-pack nut-free snack for school that gives your kiddo 10 grams of protein each, to support muscle growth and keep them well-fueled all day long.

2. Cheese sticks or cubes are a classic snack that also provides protein and pairs well with Chomps meat sticks.

3. Squeezable yogurt tubes are kid-friendly, healthy nut-free snacks that can also add some protein to your kid’s diet. Look for brands lowest in sugar because these products can have almost as much added sugar as candy.

4. Hard-boiled eggs are easy to have on hand and throw in a lunchbox. Peel them ahead of time if your child needs help. 

5. Roasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds make for a crunchy school snack and typically don’t trigger allergies.

    For cheese, yogurt, or eggs be sure to pack an ice pack in their lunch bag to keep the foods at the right temperature. 

    Fruit and Veggie Based Snacks

    6. Kids love to dip their food, so toss a hummus cup with some baby carrots into their lunch box for a filling tree nut-free snack.

    7. Dried seaweed snacks, like Gimme Snacks, are a shelf-stable, nut-free snack for kids and come in a variety of flavors.

    8. Make mini cucumber “sandwiches” by slicing them up and filling them with cream cheese. 

    9. Chilled edamame is a high-protein, high-fiber snack that kids love to munch on. Choose unshelled edamame for younger kids. 

    10. Sliced mangos, peaches, or other favorite fruits are a great way to increase fruit intake while keeping snacks nut-free.

      Quick Homemade Snacks

      11. Roasted chickpeas are easy to make ahead, season as desired, and pack for lunch for a bit of protein and fiber. (They can also be purchased packaged if you don’t want to make them yourself).

      12. Mini muffins are a make-ahead snack that you can modify based on food preferences. You can even use them as a way to sneak in some veggies like grated carrots or zucchini.

      13. Pita bread with homemade guacamole or tzatziki sauce is simple to throw together and portion out into individual containers for the week. 
      14. Quesadillas on a whole-grain tortilla may be a good tree nut-free snack option for lunch if your kid has access to a microwave at school to reheat, or the quesadilla might get hard.

      15. Traditional ants on a log are made with peanut butter, but you can make a similar healthy nut-free snack using sunflower butter spread over celery sticks instead. 

        Pre-Packaged Snacks

        16. Whole grain pretzels are a good option to have on hand and their crunchy, but plain flavor is always a kid's favorite.

        17. Baked apple chips are a shelf-stable option for a crunchy snack that packs more fiber and nutrients than traditional potato chips. 

        18. Popcorn, like the healthier varieties by Lesser Evil, is a high-fiber and filling snack kids enjoy. It can be a choking hazard, so just be sure your kiddo is old enough to eat popcorn. 

        19. Unsweetened apple sauce cups or pouches are easy to pack and help add a bit of nutrition to any lunch box.

        20. Pea snaps like those by Harvest Snaps are a lower-calorie, crunchy, nut-free snack choice that comes in a ton of flavors kids will enjoy.  
         

        Choosing the Best Nut Free Snacks for Kids

        If you are unsure about the rules for nut-free snacks at your kid’s school be sure to ask ahead of time before you send snacks that might not be allowed.  

        Packing lunch requires striking a balance between giving kids healthy options they will eat, but are also nut-free. It may take a bit of trial-and-error to find snacks your kid will enjoy and will last in a lunch box throughout the day, but this list can help you get started

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