Chances are pretty high that you know someone who suffers from a food allergy. According to the Food Allergy Research & Education organization, approximately 1 in every 13 children in the U.S. has a potentially life threatening food allergy. That equates to about two kids in every US classroom. That said, I shouldn’t be but so surprised that the grammar school my two older children attend strongly encourage that all snacks being sent into the classroom be prepackaged.
The idea behind sending in prepackaged foods is that in doing so we can avoid sending in items that may have been unknowingly contaminated in one’s kitchen. It seems a reasonable response to the growing number of children afflicted by allergies, but I admit, it presents a challenge as we try to eat healthy, less-processed foods.
Prepackaged often means highly-processed, and very often carb-centric. To complicate things further, a recent celiac diagnosis in our extended family leaves me increasingly aware of our gluten intake. Back in June, I felt like I was losing the battling… cringing as I reached elbow deep into the lifetime supply of Cheeze-Its I purchased at Costco and tossed a pouch into my daughter’s snack bag for the third day in a row. I vowed to find some healthier alternatives over the summer, and lo and behold, I did. I love the mommy brain trust!
We’re off to a very healthy start this school year, and I’m happy to oblige by our school’s rules to keep all children safe. Any one of ours could be walking around with a deadly, albeit unknown, allergy. Here’s to Epipens being housed in every school clinic and personnel being trained for just such an emergency.
Tuesdays Top Ten: Prepackaged Schools Snacks
10. Peeled Snacks offers single serving organic fruit packages with nothing added! My kids LOVE apples – but only if they are peeled – so the Apple-to-the-Core product is perfect! The entire line is wholesome and delicious, and the company is one you can feel good about supporting.
9. Skinny Pop offers delicious popcorn packages with “No Artificial Anything!” A real crowd pleaser in our house!
8. Archer Farms Fruit Leathers is just one of the items from this Target line that my little ones love. Remember Fruit by the Foot? This is their healthy second cousin. Archer Farms began in 2010 promising no artificial flavor, no artificial sweeteners, and no trans fats.
7. The Simply Balanced line at Target is a spin off from Archer Farms that takes things a step further --- it’s mostly organic and by 2014 the line will be free of all GMOs. I love that Target is getting into the healthier-food-movement since I can cross lots off my to do list while I’m there and not spend a fortune doing it. In our house, the Berry Bites were a hit.
6. Horizon Yogurt Tuberz (or any organic tube yogurt) are fast favorites when put in the freezer overnight. Toss them in the lunch box for something that feels like a treat without anything to feel guilty about. Horizon yogurt is free of antibiotics, hormones and GMOs --- and you don’t need a spoon when you go with the tube!
5. GoGo Squeeze is revolutionizing toddlerhood! If your kids came along ahead of the Go-Go craze, you really missed out on this über convenient, super food! GoGo came to the US in 2008 and quickly became a hit with moms who loved the spoon-free, resealable solution to healthy eating on the go. While babies were certainly the intended market for GoGo, they were quickly adopted by kids of all ages – and parents who valued vegan, gluten-free, 100% natural products that were delivered in BPA free resealable pouches. All GoGo products are also free of those top eight allergens. Applesauce is the preferred pouch among our little ones.
4. Horizon String Cheese is fun to eat (go ahead and try not to pull it yourself!) and a good source of calcium, too. Like Horizon’s other products, this is also on the organic, hormone and antibiotic-free list! The Colby cheese is child-friendly and mild.
3. Earthbound Farms Dippin’ Doubles are healthy, fun and organic! Mini peeled carrots are packaged alongside ranch dressing. Brilliant!
2. BareFruit Snacks have the simplest ingredient lists – fruit and maybe some organic cinnamon if that’s what tickles your fancy. Fiber rich, delicious, and free of gluten, artificial colors, flavors, GMOs, preservatives, and additives, the apple chips are addictive, but for a little variety, try the apricot or mango!
1. Pirate’s Booty… you didn’t think we could possibly get to the end of the list without the old standby, did you? While Pirate’s Booty may not be organic, it is all natural, gluten free, trans fat free, and fun to say. What more could a mama want?
While most of these items are very easy to find in store, plan ahead and order online. Most these products can be purchased in bulk through the company websites, making for a little less chaos in already busy households like ours. When I’m prepared, givens – like the kids snacking – are much more likely to be guilt-free and maybe even downright good for you… and them.