An Elementary School Snack List – Nut-Free

As I mentioned in a “school lunch” post last year, my daughter’s elementary school is peanut/tree nut-free. Not only are peanuts and tree nuts not allowed, but foods made in factories that handle nuts are not allowed either. As a result, the school sends out a “safe snack” list so parents know what store-bought snacks are “safe” and approved.

When I first got a hold of this list last year my eyes just about bugged out of my head. Fresh off our original “100 Days of Real Food” pledge, I felt compelled to sit down and count how many snack suggestions I would consider to be “real food approved.” Out of the 200 or so safe snack suggestions only 17 items, approximately 7%, were “real” whole foods. The rest were highly processed including suggestions like Wendy’s Frosties, Skittles, Oreos, Fritos, Airheads, Cheese Puffs, Twizzlers, Chips Ahoy, and Gummy Bears (for a morning snack for little kids!!). I knew I couldn’t just sit around and complain. I had to get involved and try to change things.

So I met with the principal and assistant principal last spring and as soon as I said the word “food” they of course thought I wanted to address the food in the cafeteria. They don’t have control over what is served for breakfast or lunch, but I told them that was just fine because I actually had a long list of other things I wanted to address first including…

  • The school’s “safe snack” list, which is full of highly processed snack suggestions
  • Student rewards and activities, which commonly involve junk food like “Popsicles with the Principal” and “Skittle Sort” (why not a button sort?)
  • Students are also commonly served cupcakes, cookies, and other treats for birthdays and celebrations in the classroom. Occasionally even more than one dessert treat a day is served on top of treats that are brought in from home and/or purchased in the cafeteria.
  • School fundraising events that encourage students and their families to dine at locations such as Donatos Pizza and Chick-fil-A.
  • Box Top class rewards that include a pizza party, Krispy Kreme Donut party, and a cupcake decorating party

Click image to download the “Elementary School Safe Snack List”

Those are just a few of the observations that alarmed me last year, which was our first year with a child in elementary school. It was also our first school year after deciding to cut out all highly processed food, so I guess one could say I was highly sensitive to it all. Anyway, I was thrilled that the principal immediately handed me the reins of the “safe snack” list without a problem. I then partnered with another mom to come up with an addendum to the list because while they said we could add items to it we could not take anything away. They said if Krispy Kreme donuts were not on the list as being nut-free then someone would surely send in Dunkin’ Donuts. But a compromise was fine with me. We can keep all the junk on there if we can also put our “healthy snack” addendum smack dab on the front…because I consider that progress.

So without further ado, here is a link to the “snack list addendum” that another mom and I worked very hard to create. Whether you want to use these snack ideas for your school or just for inspiration when packing your own kids snacks please feel free to use the list however you choose. I’ve already turned it into our principal and so far she says it looks great. I was a little worried the description of “real food” versus “not real food” might offend some parents, but I figured I would let the principal make that call. We have our back-to-school orientation this week, and I am very anxious to see if they actually use our list with the “safe snack” handouts…keeping my fingers crossed!

Next up I hope to address the issue of all the junk food that’s used for rewards and activities by coming up with a list of alternatives. I will keep you posted on the progress!

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  • Comments

    1. Annette |

      As said above the safe list is now unsafe. Peanuts are not a nut they are a legume. So giving a child edamame, legumes, garbanzo beans will send them to the hospital. So while they are healthy they are very dangerous to some children AND adults. Soy products included. I hope this list is corrected and some of those items are taken off the list.

    2. Flat Broke |

      This is yet another attempt by the Fed. to dictate, pure and simple. It is the opinion of the government that noone has the ability to make a decision except the government. With the current state of the education system, I would suggest that you educate your children at home whenever possible. And feed them what you can. My Grandmother always said, “a child will eat what his body needs, you need only to provide.” Current environments is mostly hostile to learning, with education, only, in those areas APPROVED by government agencies. REMOVE the federal government from the education system, except for financial support. Those systems not “doing it right” will perish rapidly.

    3. michele |

      this is what my children’s school thinks is good, healthy food.
      This list is because some kids have allergies!
      This list is ONLY what we can pack for our kids for holiday parties, for snacks in school, etc.
      Everything on this list is not real food, gmo laden junk.
      i will not support these companies.

      kellogs poptarts (fruit flavors only)
      jello brand gelatin cups (no pudding)
      hunts lemon flavor pudding
      popsicle brand popsicles
      100 calorie right bites- keebler mini stripe cookies
      oreo cookies original flavor
      golden oreos
      teddy grahma
      lorne doone cookies
      kellogs or betty crocker fruit gummies
      goldfish crackers
      kellogs rice crispie treats
      barnums animal crackers
      wheat thins, keebler or saltines brand crackers
      rold gold pretzels ( no other brand accepted)
      sun chips
      lays original chips
      ocean spray original cranberries
      cheez its
      dum dum lollipops
      capri sun drinks
      handi snacks, ritz crackers n cheese dip, mr. salty pretzels n cheese dip, breadsticks n cheese dip
      keebler scooby doo graham cracker sticks
      fritos corn chips (original flavor)
      special k bars ( vanilla, chocolate drizzle, strawberry only)
      pop tarts mini crisps
      pre packaged apple slices
      apple sauce, bannana, orange, watermelon, cherries, grapes

      This list is iron clad, no deviation. no organic yogurt, no cheese, no pears, nectarines, peaches or organic pretzels, nothing from whole foods. only poison!

      This is a disgrace.

      We only eat organic which 95% of this list cannot be eaten by my kids.
      So because I eat organic I am discriminated against.

    4. Becca Stewart |

      I am a grandma. I just ate a school lunch for grandparents day last Monday with some grandkids of mine. It left quite a bit to be desired. I understand the “g
      ist” of the change, but someone needs to get creative. I say this as I remember the young boy walking nonchalanty by the trash and dumping his mini carrots without ever sitting down!.

    5. |

      A pretty well snack planner! Great ideas of nut-free snack from 100 days of Real Food – something that is healthy and satiating…

    6. Rebecca |

      Thank you for this! Our daughter is starting a new school in January that is nut-free. In addition to packing her lunch each day, each family is required to bring the morning snack for the class two weeks out of the year. Now we can find a variety of real foods that are safe for the class!

    7. Sherri Johnson |

      Thank you so much the spent working on this list. I found it to be very helpful!

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