Kids are always on the move, and from time to time, they need an extra energy boost to keep them both fueled up and filled up on all right nutrients. However, since major allergens like peanuts and tree nuts are often off-limits at schools or summer camps, your kids’ favorite pick-me-ups often need to be school-safe, peanut-free snacks, too.
So what’s a hungry snacker to do? Get creative! We’ve rounded up 15 ideas for peanut-free snacks for school. These allergy-friendly snacks are nutrient-packed, portable and peanut-free, offering your kids an energy boost with a nutritional kick.
Our 15 Favorite Peanut-Free Snacks for Kids
1. Greek Yogurt
These days, grocery stores are full of options for this tasty delight. Top with fresh fruit or low-sugar granola or eat it plain. This calcium-rich treat packs about 15 grams of protein in a one-cup serving.
Pack this nutritional food in your child’s lunch for a great snack on the go, but watch out for excessive sugars and other preservatives if you’re concerned about nutrition. Keep in mind that this is one peanut-free snack that kids might not like on its own, so make sure you have toppings on hand (no peanuts!) to minimize the tangy flavor. However, your kids will get probiotic cultures that are great for gut health along with an assortment of other nutritious ingredients with this excellent option.
2. Homemade Trail Mix
In a zip-close bag or easy-open Tupperware, simply combine raisins (or your child’s favorite dried fruit), seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin or roasted soybeans, and whole grain cereals. Shake it up to mix!
This is the quintessential on-the-go snack, and it couldn’t be easier to make. If you have an extra five minutes, you have time to prepare this peanut-free snack. Better yet, bring your kids into the preparation process — they’ll love choosing their own ingredients for this personalized and yummy treat. Perfect for road trips, movie nights and backyard camping, trail mix is an easy win for picky eaters and those that love experimenting with different flavors and tastes.
3. Strawberry-Topped Brown Rice Cakes
Schmear some cream cheese over brown rice cakes and top with sliced strawberries for a light yet filling snack that your kid can take on the go.
While plain rice cakes won’t be winning taste awards with your kids anytime soon, this is one of those peanut-free snacks that gets better when you use them as a base. Add bananas and other fruits to plain rice cakes, or start with flavored ones and mix and match with items you have around the house. A little parmesan cheese can give them a savory taste, or stick with strawberries and a little honey for some sweet.
4. Air-Popped Popcorn
High in fiber, this munchable snack rarely fails the kid test. Add seasoning for extra flavor, or get creative with coconut oil or cinnamon. For a ready-made popcorn option, try Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop.
If you don’t have an air popper, you can actually make your own popcorn in a brown paper bag — minus all the chemicals that go into one of those pre-prepared microwave poppers. Just pour 1/3 cup of popcorn into a brown lunch bag, sealing the bag by folding the top over twice. Cook at full power for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes or until the pops slow down to about two seconds between pops.
5. String Cheese
Pack some protein plus calcium with this kid-favorite snack, which works well on its own, paired with an apple or as a lunch addition.
We all know that most kids love cheese, but the problem is that most cheesy snacks aren’t particularly healthy. Pizza, cheeseburgers and the like might be a favorite peanut-free snack for kids, but string cheese represents a healthier, better way to get your kids the cheese they crave. Nutritious and yummy, string cheese makes a great snack, and it can also form the basis of fun treats like cheese and tomato mushrooms, cheese and watermelon skewers or ham and cheese sushi.
6. Whole Grain Crackers With Spread
Whole grain crackers are the perfect vehicle for a variety of fun spreads, like whole-fruit jam, sunflower seed butter or another peanut butter alternative. Another tasty topping idea for these nut-free snacks: cottage cheese paired with jam or fresh blueberries.
While your kids won’t likely raid the pantry for whole-grain crackers on their own, breaking out the jams, fresh fruit and other toppings creates a world of wonder and options for hungry kids. Allowing them to mix and match their favorite toppings is a great way to get your kids to think about what flavors and tastes go together. As long as you limit them to healthy ingredients, you’ll avoid the refined flours, oils and sugars that are common in most kids’ snacks.
7. Avocado Toast
Layer mashed avocados on whole wheat toast and sprinkle with a touch of pepper. Avocados are especially high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
Once the avocado goes down, don’t forget to sprinkle on your kids’ favorite peanut-free toppings. Diced tomatoes, pomegranate seeds, bell peppers, red onions, chives, cucumber and feta cheese can add additional fun to this easy-to-make snack. To take things up a notch, break out the cookie cutters to create fun and interesting shapes. Bake at 425 degrees to avoid mucking up the edges in the toaster.
8. Crunchy Veggies With Hummus
Get creative with a colorful combo of sugar snap peas, sliced cucumbers, sliced carrots and jicama sticks with hummus for dipping. The complex carbohydrates in these kid-friendly vegetables offer a steady stream of energy, while the chickpeas and tahini in the hummus give your kid an iron boost.
Younger kids will love how this snack is perfectly portioned for their small hands, and dipping gives your kids something to do while getting the nutrition that they need. Instead of veggies, try cutting strips of bread and spreading the hummus directly on toast for a protein and fiber 1-2 punch. Keep in mind that some kids have allergies to tahini and chickpeas, though it’s not common.
9. Vegetable Chips
Veggies sliced, seasoned and popped in the oven make perfectly crispy, crunchy peanut-free snacks for kids. Looking to save time? Many conventional grocery stores now carry several pre-packaged variations! To get the best one, compare nutrition labels and choose an option with lower sodium.
For even more nutritious value, look for root veggies that are high in folate, vitamin C, beta carotene, antioxidants, phytochemicals and fiber. Yucca, sweet potato, turnip, rutabaga, golden beet, parsnip, russet potato and red beets are all excellent options and can be easily found at your local grocery store. Wash, peel and slice them thin, then bake on a cookie sheet with salt at 400 degrees for about half an hour. The slices should be dry and crispy, not burned.
10. Allergy-Friendly Fruit Bites
No fresh fruit in the fridge? You can still load up your kid’s lunchbox with the same vitamin-rich goodness! Nurture Life’s perfectlyfree Fruit Bites have no preservatives or artificial ingredients, and they offer a ½ serving of fruit in each packet. Made without any of the Big 8 allergens, they’re allergy-friendly snacks that are school-safe and naturally delectable.
When shopping for fruit snacks, be careful of other options that may be loaded with preservatives and sugar, which can spike your kids’ energy levels and then send them crashing an hour later. Many are also low on valuable nutrition, so while your kids may enjoy them, it’s not doing much to help their growing bodies and minds. Instead, look for fruit snacks that have no artificial flavors, colors or ingredients.
11. Fresh Berry Mix
Throw together some strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, and you’ll have a juicy-sweet combination high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C and vitamin E.
Top with whipped cream for an easy dessert and snack idea if the berries themselves aren’t doing the trick; you can also mix it all together with sugar and lemon juice. Grab some small plastic cups for serving, or toss them in the fridge if you’re preparing them for a future time. But don’t wait too long — these berry mix cups will only last a day or two in the fridge, after which they’ll start to lose flavor as well as their enticing look.
12. Banana Popsicles
Bananas make great frozen treats! Simply cut a full banana in half, stick in a popsicle stick, coat in your kid’s favorite peanut butter alternative and dip in toppings like coconut or sunflower seeds. Stick each popsicle in the freezer for a few hours and enjoy!
The best part is that this peanut-free snack is easy to make and it seems like a dessert. However, if you add cocoa and avocado, you’ve got a healthy banana fudgesicle with no added sugar. Just grab ripe bananas, avocado, your favorite peanut-free butter, cocoa and (non-dairy) milk and blend together. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and place in the freezer. That’s it!
13. Apple Chips
A crunchy treat, apples are high in vitamin A (a powerful antioxidant) as well as vitamin B and fiber. These homemade apple chips stay crispy all day, making them a great grab-and-go option for peanut-free snacks for school.
Kids that have texture issues will love these crispy and crunchy apple chips as most cooked fruit can come off as mushy or slimy — but you’ll need to ensure that each slice is consistent. Too thin and you’ll risk burning it during baking. Too thick and some of your chips might end up undercooked. When you’re ready, arrange the slices on a rack and sprinkle on cinnamon and some sugar. Bake for 8 hours at 170 degrees or until lightly browned and the edges start to shrivel up.
14. Whole-Fruit Leathers
Easy, portable and perfect for kids on the go, these convenient nut-free snacks offer an energy lift without the preservatives that are found in most conventional brands.
If you have any leftover fruit kicking about your kitchen, whole-fruit leathers is an easy way to create yummy peanut-free snacks for your kids while using up odds and ends. They won’t have the preservatives and sugar of store-bought brands, but they’re just as delicious. Even if you don’t own a dehydrator, your oven can do the job — just remember that you’re drying out the fruit, not cooking it.
15. Red and Green Grapes
High in antioxidants, grapes are one of the ultimate allergy-friendly snacks to take on the go. In warmer months, pop them in the freezer for a few hours for a cool, refreshing twist.
Quite possibly the original easy snack, red and green grapes are healthy, delicious and go well with just about anything. However, make sure to supervise your kids while eating — grapes can cause choking in kids under the age of four, though you can always cut them into smaller pieces.
Find Your Favorite Peanut-Free Snacks
Finding peanut-free snacks for school that are still healthy, convenient and kid-friendly can be challenging. Use this list as a starting point for quick, nut-free snacks between meals. Looking for even more kid-friendly snacks? Check out our snack ideas for playdates!
If you have any questions about common food allergies, school-safe snacks or child nutrition in general, don’t hesitate to contact our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org!