Our Top Convenient, Allergy Safe Snacks for Back to School

It’s back to school time and we all know what that means! Time to hit your nearest Target and load your red basket up with glue sticks, crayons, colored pencils, tissue boxes and… allergy friendly snacks?

children sit on step eating applesWhat Are Food Allergies?

Food allergies are caused by an immune system overreaction. When a person eats or has contact with an allergen, various allergic symptoms may arise, such as hives, itchy skin, congestion, swelling of a part of the body, wheezing, belly pain, or anaphylaxis. According to FoodAllergy.org, 1 in 13 children in the United States has a food allergy, meaning roughly 2 students in every classroom have the possibility of suffering severe medical consequences if they ingest food that they are allergic to and immediate medical attention is not provided. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports that the prevalence of food allergy in children increased by a staggering 50 percent between 1997 and 2011, so it is truly critical to be familiar with food allergies to keep everyone in the classroom safe.

Top 8 Food Allergens

All foods have the possibility of causing an allergic reaction, but these are the 8 top food allergens that cause the majority of all reactions (it is important to note that in young children, milk, egg and peanut account for the most reactions):

  1. Peanut- may found in cake icing, candy, cereal, baked goods and more
  2. Milk- present in cheese, yogurt, goldfish crackers and some deli meats
  3. Egg- often found in bread, baked goods and creamy sauces
  4. Tree nuts- examples include walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans and Brazil nuts
  5. Wheat- often found in crackers and even in Hasbro Play Doh!
  6. Soy- can be found in edamame, tofu and some processed snacks
  7. Fish- can be found in many sauces, such as steak sauce or Worcestershire sauce; traces may be found in some deli meats or even foods that contain gelatin, like marshmallows
  8. Shellfish- any food that is composed of a crustacean (shrimp, lobster, crab)

This list may seem daunting, but we are here to share that is possible to find several options for allergy friendly snacks at your neighborhood grocery store! However, there are some important notes we would like to share before we get to the list:

  • Always check labels carefully prior to purchasing. Contained allergens can be found in ALL CAPS and BOLD (i.e. “CONTAINS: WHEAT”) print and will be noted under Nutrition Facts.
  • Please take special note if we took the time to share a specific brand. While other brands may be safe, we have found through experience that some are better than others (cleaner facilities and/or taking care to avoid cross-contamination during processing and packaging).
  • Please always consult with the allergy parent before sharing snacks! Sometimes seemingly safe snacks may still elicit a reaction; different children, different allergies, different autoimmune responses!
  • Please note: coconut, a tree nut, is often a substitute in a lot of vegan snacks– don’t forget to double check those labels!

Top Picks For Allergy Friendly Snacks

  • Fresh or freeze dried fruit- Trader Joe’s has a great variety and Aldi and Target have the best pricing!
  • Fruit leather– Pure Organic and That’s It are our favorite brands and both are available at Costco
  • Raisins
  • Craisins
  • Popsicles
  • Sea Salt PopCorners
  • Welch’s Fruit Snacks
  • Cheerios
  • Live G Free Pretzels – can be found at Aldi and on Amazon
  • Home Free Vanilla Cookies – available at HEB, Sprouts and on Amazon
  • Made Good Granola Bars – available at Whole Foods and Costco
  • Central Market Original Veggie Sticks/Chips/Straws – available at HEB and Central Market
  • Lays Original Potato Chips
  • Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Flavor Popcorn – Whole Foods
  • Partake Foods- store locator here
  • Red Plate Foods {Deliciously Allergy Friendly Foods}- store locator here
  • Enjoy Life snacks {cookies, bars, Plentils/lentil chips} – available on Amazon as well as at CVS, Kroger, Randall’s and Whole Foods; store locator here

Contains Wheat

Contains Soy

  • Snyder’s Gluten Free Pretzels

Contains Wheat, Soy

  • Oreos
  • Thin Mints

What allergy friendly snacks would you add to our list? Drop a comment below and let us know! If you want to learn more about food allergies, here are a few really great resources:

Food Allergy Research & Education

Kids with Food Allergies Foundation

Texas Children’s Hospital Food Allergy Program

Need more back-to-school tips? Check out

The Ultimate Back to School Guide for Houston Moms!

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