Back to School for Littles with Food Allergies – Insight from Paige Wagner RDN, LD

Hi there!

It’s Paige here, and I am so excited to be sharing more blog posts about food allergy tips for children and their parents! You can get to know me a little better by checking out last week’s post, 7 Tips for Parents of Children with Newly Diagnosed Food Allergies.

“Back-to-school” is looking a little different for everyone this year. It appears everyone is stuck with deciding if their child will be attending in person or virtually, or maybe your school district has already made their decision regarding COVID-19. Regardless, the following back to school tips for children with food allergies can come in handy for homeschooling (if someone else will be watching your children) or in a typical classroom setting.

  1. Be informed. Check into your school’s policies and procedures regarding food allergies. What staff is trained to administer an epi-pen? Are the cafeteria workers familiar with how to handle food allergies? Don’t be afraid to ask these questions and provide them with information about training through the following link: https://www.foodallergy.org/keeping-students-safe-and-included . This course is FREE and there are six August training dates available.
  2. Prepare and Provide: Submit all required medical documentation to your school along with any prescribed medicines. Make sure staff knows how to properly care for an epi-pen (i.e.: they should not be shared and should not be kept in warm temperatures). Check out this article on how storing an epi-pen in a car can cause it to be up to 14% less effective: https://www.aaaai.org/about-aaaai/newsroom/news-releases/epipens-heat
  3. Communication is Key: Make sure you teach your child who to ask for help when they have food allergy questions and concerns, and how to handle an allergic reaction. Meet with staff ahead of time to help your child and the staff feel comfortable.
  4. School Meals: Many school meals are going to be consumed in the classroom this year to aid in social distancing. Speak with your child’s teacher about their allergen and make a plan for when they eat around others. Some schools have nut-free policies, but always have a plan in place in case another student packs them. Make sure desks are wiped off with soap (not just sanitizer) to effectively remove the food allergy protein).
  5. Transportation: If your child rides a school bus, make sure the bus driver is familiar with how to handle an allergic reaction. This includes informing bus drivers for field trips too.
  6. Self-Management: Confidence in key. Make sure that your child feels confident in how to handle an allergic reaction. This means knowing who to go to, where their epi-pen/medicine can be located, etc. This will help reduce panic if an allergic reaction should occur.

Now that we have reviewed the tough stuff, let’s talk snacks! Here are a few of my favorite allergen free snacks that I share with students at my job.

Zego Fruit Bars (and other products):

These tasty fruit bars come in a variety of flavors, including raspberry, blueberry, cherry, pear, lemon ginger, sunflower date, fudgy chocolate, and cherry chia! They also make delicious granola packs too. Shop their full collection here: https://zegofoods.com/

Zego Just Fruit Bars | Flavorpalooza

Made Good Bars

These can be found in local grocery stores such as Meijer, Kroger and Walmart.

https://www.madegoodfoods.com/

Found: Safe snacks for back-to-school | Ottawa Citizen

88 Acres Products

88 Acres has a wide variety of products, all of which are made from seeds! They have granola bars, salad dressings, seed butters and a recipe page on their website: https://88acres.com/ . If you are feeling adventurous, you can even check out their roasted watermelon seed butter.

Seed Bar Sample Pack

Comment below if you decide to try any of these products out. Have a great week!

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