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Peanut Free and Cavity Free Please

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Peanut Free and Cavity Free Please

images Peanut Free and Cavity Free PleaseI’m writing tonight horrified by the list of “Safe Snacks” that my son’s well intentioned Kindergarten teacher sent home during the first week of school.  THE LIST is meant to keep the kids in the class with peanut/nut allergies safe.  I remember getting the list and thinking, “Seriously! This is a list of cavity causing junk food!”

Come on now.  Snacks should be nutritious too and having a food allergy or a child with a food allergy in a classroom should not exempt you or an entire class from eating healthy.

A 2010 study showed that children in the United States snacked on average six times per day, approximately twice as often as American children in the 1970s.[1] Obesity is on the rise in this country for sure- just look around.

Check out the new USDA my plate guidelines.

Anyway, after a happy trip home from the dentist today (no cavities or issues) with my oldest two kids, I remembered….THE LIST and how I wanted to write about it here, RE-DO THE LIST and kindly send in a new re-vamped healthier peanut free/cavity free LIST.

Personally, I have a sweet tooth.  I love chocolate, cake and goodies!  I fully appreciate an amazing dessert.  And I want my kids to grow up enjoying dessert too.  But also appreciating the fact that they can not have sugary junk food wherever they go.

Selfishly, I do not want the other parents to send in treats that will rot my kids teeth.  I don’t want sweet tooth to = rotten tooth OR make them super nutso (no pun intended) from all the food additives and artificial colorings (not to mention artery clogging hydrogenated fats.)

So here is THE LIST!  Tell me what you think. You won’t believe what’s on it!
{Note: I’m scratching off the foods I am not fond of!}

  1. Nabisco Oreos- original- golden, golgden chocolate creme
  2. Nabisco Barnum animal crackers
  3. Nabisco Teddy Grahams
  4. Nabisco Graham Crackers”
  5. Keebler Vienna Fingers
  6. Rold Gold Pretzels (note that pretzels can get tricky because of peanut butter or sesame. The Rold Gold brand does not have these issues yet)
  7. Frito Lay Fritos Nacho Chips (Tostitos or Herrs) Regular or Baked (plain, no flavors)
  8. Potato Chips (not in peanut oil) Non flavors
  9. DumDum Pops
  10. Smarties {9, 10- not great, but small package and don’t stick in your teeth}
  11. Nabisco Sugar Wafers {AND here is where THE LIST gets even naughtier}
  12. Laffy Taffy
  13. Just Born Brand – Peeps
  14. Mike and Ike
  15. Twizzlers
  16. Fruit Roll Ups  
  17. Airheads
  18. Lifesavers
  19. Starbursts
  20. Kellogs/Betty Crocker (fruit snack-gummies) {note most “fruit snacks” are just a bunch of sugar that will stick in your teeth- I repeat…they are NOT REAL FRUIT}

Okay teachers and parents.  Here are some healthier foods I’m adding to this list, because I crossed off over half of the foods above, with less risk of dental problems:

Mini bananas- a special treat because they are cute and petite!

Gold Fish
Pirate Booty
Pretzels- Rold Gold, Utz and Herr are ok.  NO SNYDERS- they are processed in a nut factory.
Hershey Kisses (that are plain milk chocolate) {They melt in your mouth- not STICK}
Cookies for Me- also gluten, egg free (and yummy- I’ve tried them!)

Nut-free Cake/icing mix brands:
Cherrybrook Kitchen- chocolate and vanilla cake and icing mises
Dr. Oetker
Pillsbury cake mixes and tub icings
Betty Crocker cake mixes and tub icings
Duncan Hines cakes mixes- NOT the Icing tubs

Brownies (obviously without walnuts)
Cherry brook Kitchen
Dr. Oetker
Betty Crocker
{Wegmans brand, Duncan Hines and Ghiradelli all contain nuts}

* Please leave a comment if you have additional nut free healthy snack foods to add to my list!

*If you make a cake from scratch for school, make sure there are NO NUT ingredients AND if you made PB&J for you child that morning- make sure you sanitize your counters and work with absolutely clean kitchen bowls, gadgets, mixers etc. Also, check with your teacher to see if homemade cakes or cookies are permitted.  She may want to provide the allergy parent with the recipe to make sure they are comfortable with the ingredients.

*Make sure you check any package that you are sending to school for an allergy warning or notice that the product is processed in a peanut factory or on the same equipment that processes nuts.

Here are some awesome resources for more Food Allergy Snack ideas:


 Peanut Free and Cavity Free Please

Diva Dietitian

Kristie Finnan is a Registered Dietitian/Licensed Nutritionist, Freelance Writer and Published Children's Author. She is the Mom of 3 and Food Snob with a passion for Nutrition Education, Healthy Kids Foods, Marketing and Social Media. Kristie is the Creative Director/Editor for www.DivaDietitian.com and www.KidsLoveFood.com & Founder of www.DoylestownNutrition.com. Diva Dietitian blogs in Full Disclosure. Please see: http://kristiefinnan.com/about/disclosure.

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  • Michelle says:

    My friend Kelly Brown asked me to help you out with some food ideas.I am a Dental Hygienist and a Mom of two boys, one who is allergic to peanuts,all tree nuts, and sesame. Here are a few quick ideas I had:
    Applesauce individual cups, Cheez-its, Vanilla wafers, individul cups of fruit Del Monte, Cheese sticks (some are in a nut facility) I buy Cheese Heads Swirled sticks. Regular sized only Hershey Bars, and kisses as you mentioned, Hershey reg. sized bar with air. Rice Crispie Bars (sticky, but better than gummies). I hope that you can use some of these for your list. Good Luck, Michelle

  • Jessica @FoundtheMarbles says:

    This is a great list and so much better once it was revised to include healthy alternatives.

  • Lauren says:


    I am pretty sure I have seen this list before and its intention was to offer ideas for snacks that are safe for kids with allergies that are “treats” other than the regular cupcakes, brownies and cookies that 99% of parents bring for the their kids birthday parties at school. This list is not intended to be a snack list for kids to eat daily at all but some suggestions for birthdays that happen less than 20 times in a whole year. When I have received it in the past I understood that it was giving ideas but certainly not telling parents to send these items INSTEAD of healthy options. Thank goodness.

    I totally agree that the list is unhealthy but I am pretty sure the idea behind it is that people assume parents want to send a sugar “treat” for their kids birthday and here is a list of alternatives. Reality is that most parents would opt for these items before making nut free, gluten free, dairy free cupcakes at home or even sadder…sending kids in with veggies. To be honest parents should probably skip bringing in food to the classroom with young kids and opt for giving out small items like a pencil, stickers, bookmark, etc so there is no sugar/allergy confusion…just happy kids enjoying their birthday.

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