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There’s so much to think about when it comes to packing school lunches and snacks. These days, one of the biggest concerns is accommodating allergies. Whether your child has a nut allergy or their school is a nut-free zone, it can be exhausting coming up with creative, non-packaged, nut-free snacks.
Some nut-free snack ideas that require little prep and no recipe include fresh fruit, dried fruit, yogurt, cheese, sliced salami and jerky. If you want to go beyond that, here are 15 nut-free snack recipes that will give your kids energy and put a smile on their faces.
You can feel good about sending chips to school when they’re homemade baked veggie chips. Use a mix of carrots, beets, purple sweet potatoes and parsnips or whatever vegetables you have leftover at the end of the week for a colorful mix.
Soft pretzels are always a hit with kids and these super snackable pretzel bites are sure to be a slam dunk. Make them ahead of time so you can pop them in lunchboxes on hectic school-day mornings. These pretzel bites are good on their own but if your kids like queso, you can also pack the accompanying cheddar dip.
Although granola bars are a classic school snack, finding healthy ones without nuts can be tricky. This oaty bar lacks nuts, is packed with fresh fruit and straddles the line between dessert bar and granola bar, which means kids will love it.
If you’re looking for a special treat to throw in the lunch box, these thumbprint cookies have a lot going for them. They’re nut- and gluten-free and fun to make with the kiddos over the weekend. Instead of buttercream, fill them with a reduced-sugar jam; the teachers will thank you.
Homemade muffins can seriously save the school day. They make ideal grab-and-go breakfasts, are perfect for lunch box snacks and can even be enjoyed after school without ruining any appetites. This recipe uses feel-good ingredients like bananas, yogurt and whole wheat flour.
French toast sticks can do double duty as breakfast and a snack. There are carbs for energy, protein from the eggs and lots of good flavor. They’re sweet enough on their own so there’s no need to pack maple syrup; no one wants to deal with that sticky mess at school. Make a big batch ahead to freeze so you can pull some out as needed.
Full of protein from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is the best snacks for kids. If a peanut allergy extends to all legumes, you can substitute white beans for the chickpeas. Pack the hummus with pita chips and crisp raw veggies for a healthy, filling nosh.
Sure, you can buy pre-packaged applesauce cups to throw in your kid’s bag. But there’s nothing better than the real deal, especially when it comes to applesauce. This easy, hands-off Instant Pot recipe is a great use for all the fruit you get after autumn apple picking.
Packing candy for your children to bring to school isn’t the best idea but with only three ingredients, homemade gummy bears are certainly better than store-bought fruit snacks. You can use bear-shaped molds or have fun and explore different shapes that will appeal to your kiddos.
With oats, puffed brown rice cereal, dried ginger, dried cranberries and absolutely no nuts, this granola makes a great addition to yogurt or a midday snack. If you don’t toss the granola, it will bake in bigger chunks that are better for nibbling.
Homemade popcorn makes an awesome, nut-free, low-calorie, fiber-packed snack for kids who are old enough — usually ages four and up — so that it’s not a choking hazard. It’s great tossed in a little olive oil and salt, but if you want to dress it up, you can’t go wrong with a little dark chocolate.
They may not be the healthiest snack, but Rice Krispies Treats are a lunchbox classic. By making them at home, you have more control over the ingredients than the packaged stuff. This is another fun recipe to get the kids involved in the kitchen.
Your kids will be so distracted by the chocolate chips, they won’t even realize this quick bread is packed with zucchini. Thanks to coconut sugar and gluten-free flour, it’s also gluten-free and refined sugar-free. Send a slice to school; your littles will thank you.
Three ingredients — and about six hours in a low oven — is all it takes to make your own fruit leathers at home. And honestly, you could make this with nothing but mango puree. It’s that simple. Now there’s a snack to feel good about.
One of those nostalgic childhood snacks you may have forgotten, ants on a log is quite possibly the only way you’ll get your kids to eat celery. Fill that crunchy, fibrous, crescent-shaped veggie with seed butter, top with raisins and call it a day. Besides working well in lunch boxes, ants on a log are also one of the best quick and easy after-school snacks for every type of kid.
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