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If you’re a parent of a child with a food allergy, snacktime might make you nervous. Especially snack time without you, such as daycare, school, or visiting friends and family.
Neither of my two children has food allergies, but as a former school food service dietitian, I’ve had my fair share of working with families and students with food allergies to provide safe breakfast, snack, and lunch options.
With all the options available at the grocery store nowadays, it can be stressful trying to find allergy-free snacks for kids.
I’ve compiled a list of 37 allergy friendly snacks for kids to give you some inspiration and more variety.
Table of Contents
Food Allergy or Food Intolerance
Before we dive into all the allergy friendly snacks for kids, it’s important to make one clarification; the difference between a food allergy and food intolerance. You can think of it as a reaction between your immune system (food allergy) or digestive system (food intolerance).
A food allergy is your body’s immune system reacting to what it thinks is an enemy (allergen).
The FDA recognizes nine common allergens that need to be labeled and identified on the nutrition label to help you choose foods that are safe for those with food allergies to consume.
Top 9 Allergens: shellfish, milk, peanut, tree nut, eggs, fish, wheat, soy, sesame
Unlike a food intolerance, food allergies are life-threatening and the only way to avoid a reaction is to avoid the allergen.
If your child has a food allergy and you’d like to provide extra cation while they’re at school or daycare, you can use Mabels Labels allergen stickers to help better identify your child’s allergen.
A food intolerance is your body’s way of not properly digesting food, resulting in undesirable symptoms such as; diarrhea, cramps, and other digestive issues.
Food intolerances can be managed by eliminating or even just minimizing the ingredient that causes discomfort.
If you’d like more information on food allergies, I recommend checking out FARE. They have amazing resources for parents.
Looking for allergen friendly Halloween treats? Check out my blog post here!
Allergy Friendly Snacks for Kids
Whether it’s your child that has a food allergy, or your child without a food allergy, many schools now require students to bring nut-free snacks to school to minimize the risk.
If you’re packing snacks for your child to bring to school, or sending along treats for their birthday, make sure you double-check with the school or their teacher regarding how to handle bringing food or beverages.
While the allergy friendly snacks for kids listed below do not contain the top nine most common allergens, it’s important to remember three things:
- An individual can have an allergy to a food or ingredient other than one of the top nine.
- Some products may be produced in a facility where a common food allergen is also processed. Some manufacturers may disclose this information, however, it’s not required.
- Manufacturers change their formulations, facilities, and packaging, so it’s extremely important to always double-check the labels.
Applesauce is generally a pretty safe route and a kid-friendly option. Choose a pouch for easy eating, or a pre-packaged cup, or buy it in bulk and portion it out yourself.
I recommend purchasing unsweetened applesauce to avoid unnecessary added sugar.
Fruit and Veggie Pouches
Like applesauce, fruit and veggie pouches are a great allergy friendly snack option for kids. We love the Gogo Squeez, Target, and Costco brands.
Just be mindful that there are more and more pouches available with different ingredients, so always double-check the ingredients for common allergens!
This is a no-brainer, but whole fruit, or fresh fruit in general is a great allergy friendly snack for kids.
If you want your kids to eat more fruit, try slicing it to make it easier to eat, chew, and fit in their mouths.
Dried fruit is a sweet little allergy free snack for kids that’s easy to take with you anywhere you go!
Some dried fruit, like raisins, can be a choking hazard for children four and under due to their sticky texture.
Freeze-dried fruit is one of my favorite on-the-go snacks for kids. It’s shelf stable, doesn’t require refrigeration, and has a crunchy texture that many kids love!
Some varieties will contain added sugar, so be on the lookout to avoid it if possible.
Another crunchy allergy friendly snack option for kids is veggie straws or veggie chips. No, I wouldn’t say they count as a vegetable serving, but it’s still an option!
Harvest Snap Baked Green Pea Snacks
Harvest Snap Baked Green Pea Snacks are one of my favorite crunchy snacks for kids and they also happen to work as an allergy friendly snack too.
While they’re not fresh snap peas, the first ingredient is green peas, plus they have fiber, fat, and protein to keep them fuller a little longer.
Off The Eaten Path Veggie Chips
Off The Eaten Path Veggie Chips are not only a great allergy friendly crunchy snack for kids, but they also have 4 grams of fiber per serving and come in a variety of flavors.
Popcorn is a great whole-grain snack for kids! Not all popcorns are allergen friendly, but Skinny Pop is an allergen free popcorn!
Quaker Lightly Salted Rice Cakes
These might sound boring, but they’re safe and crunchy.
Some rice cakes may contain dairy or soy, so always double-check the ingredients.
Cheerios are a pretty safe bet, and there are quite a few other allergy friendly cereals out there, but since there are so many different cereal options, always read the label!
As a former school food service dietitian, I have had my fair share of sun butter and jelly sandwiches. And while I’d prefer peanut butter, sun butter is an allergy friendly snack for kids to bring to school.
Sun butter is a great option for adding a shelf-stable protein option for kids.
Sunbutter has several flavors and so does 88 Acres.
Shelf-stable protein options can be hard to come by. However, beef jerky is one option that’s easy to take on the go or to school as an allergen safe snack.
It might be a bit higher in sodium than other snacks, but the trade-off is that it is safe and also provides some protein.
Be mindful of certain brands that may contain soy or wheat!
While fruit juice doesn’t contain the beneficial fiber that other forms of fruit do, it’s still an option and a safer option for those with food allergies or when you need allergy friendly snacks for kids to bring to school.
I recommend looking for 100% fruit juice or fruit juice-flavored water. Check out my blog post on the best juice for kids.
Made Good Granola Minis
It can be tricky to find a granola bar without at least one of the top allergens. Made Good granola minis are one of my favorite little snacks for my kids, plus they’re allergen friendly. And they also contain some veggies too!
Made Good Granola Bars
Made Good has allergen friendly granola bars that are made with veggies and they have a wide variety of flavors too!
Made Good Crackers
Made Good star puffed crackers are also a gluten-free option for kids too.
Made Good Cookies
It’s nice for kids to have a sweet treat every once and a while, but allergen free cookie options can be hard to come by.
Made Good cookies are a nice option to have that are not only allergen free, but gluten-free as well.
Friendly Grains Crunchy Rice Rollers
Friendly Grains Crunchy Rice Rollers are an allergen friendly crunchy snack option that comes in a variety of flavors.
88 Acres Granola Bars
I love that 88 Acres prioritizes inclusivity by making a bar that doesn’t contain the top nine allergens.
Their bars also have less than 8 grams of added sugar, which is what I always look for in a snack bar for kids.
That’s It Bar
Made from just fruit (That’s It), That’s It bars contain the simplest ingredients; fruit.
I like to get the mini bars from Costco.
Enjoy Life Breakfast Ovals
If you live with a family member who has a food allergy, you’re probably already familiar with the Enjoy Life brand.
Their products are free of not only the top nine most common allergens, but 14 common allergens, plus gluten too!
Enjoy Life Chewy Bars
Enjoy Life granola bars are a great allergy friendly snack bar option for kids to take to school.
Enjoy Life Soft Baked Cookies
If you’re looking for an allergen safe treat, Enjoy Life Soft Baked Cookies are a safe option to bring to school or daycare.
Enjoy Life Bites
You can easily make allergen free protein bites at home, but sometimes it’s nice to have an option that you don’t have to make yourself.
I love that their Sunseed Butter Enjoy Bites have 3 mg of iron per serving!
Enjoy Life Lentil Chips
Enjoy Life doesn’t just have baked goods and bars, they also have savory, crunchy snacks too!
Enjoy Life Seed and Fruit Mix
You can definitely make this yourself, but I love that you already know it’s a safe option – even the semi-sweet chocolate chips!
Sunflower seeds are a simple allergy friendly protein option for kids that’s also shelf stable.
You don’t have to wait until Halloween to eat pumpkin seeds. There are a lot of options available out there today and great flavors too!
Spudsy Sweet Potato Puffs
Spudsy Sweet Potato Puffs come in a variety of flavors, are free of the top nine allergens, and are also gluten-free!
HIPPEAS Chickpea Puffs
These vegan white cheddar puffs are another great option as an allergy friendly snack for kids.
They also have 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber which will help keep your kids fuller longer!
HIPPEAS Chickpea Chips
If you’re looking for a chip for your kids to snack on, but also trying to avoid the top nine allergens, plus get a little more bang for your buck nutritionally, Hippeas also has chips that are vegan, gluten-free, and allergen friendly tortilla chips in a variety of flavors.
You can certainly make them yourself, but if you’re short on time, you can always grab some roasted chickpeas as an allergen friendly snack.
You can usually find them in a variety of flavors, just double-check the ingredients for the allergens you are avoiding.
Blakes Seed Based Bars
Blake’s Seed Based has both chew and snack bars that are free of the top nine allergens.
Chomps Mini Turkey Jerky Meat Snack Stick
I love having these on hand for a quick grab-n-go protein option for my kids, but they also work as an allergen friendly snack option too!
Snack Mates Mini Meat Sticks
These come in a variety of flavors like chicken and maple, pizza, chicken and apple, and turkey.
They’re also gluten-free too!
Partake Foods Gluten Free Mini Cookies
Yes! You can pack your child cookies with their snack. In fact, it’s important to include their favorites regularly so they don’t obsess over them.
Partake Foods Mini Cookies are gluten-free and top nine allergen free too!
Before You Choose an Allergen Friendly Snack for Kids
Whether you have a child with a food allergy and you’re well versed in the allergen friendly snacks options, or you’re child doesn’t have a food allergy, but their school requires nut-free snacks or allergen friendly snacks for kids, it can easily get overwhelming with all the options available.
Don’t forget to always check the ingredients for common allergens you’re looking to avoid. Manufacturers will change facilities and ingredients from time to time.
The good news is that there are more and more companies producing allergen safe products so those with food allergies can safely and easily enjoy foods they love!