If you have
school-age children you may already have been asked to refrain from bringing
certain foods such as peanut butter or nut products to school because
a child at school is allergic.
That child's food allergy is not a trivial matter. Parents who have a
severely allergic child have done their best to provide the safest possible
atmosphere for their child at home. Most have declared their homes a nut-free
zone despite the fact that other family members may enjoy peanut butter
and nut products.
When an allergic child goes to school, cooperation from the entire school
community is needed to help reduce an anaphylactic child's exposure to
foods that can be harmful to them.
and peanut butter are the most likely
foods to trigger a full-blown anaphylactic reaction. Some children are
so sensitive that even the smell of peanut butter or nuts can cause problems.
Peanut butter is also sticky and greasy. It very difficult to clean peanut
butter from surfaces such as tables and desks. Peanut butter on a friend's
hand could be transferred to a crayon, pencil, soccer ball or skipping
For these reasons, nut-containing foods should not be eaten in a classroom
used by a child who has been diagnosed with peanut or nut allergies. Children
who eat in a peanut/nut allergy child's class should be encouraged to
bring nut-free lunches or eat in another classroom.
Anyone who does eat peanut butter or nut-containing products at school
where there is an anaphylactic child should be encouraged to wash their
faces and hands immediately after eating.
There are many hidden sources of nuts and nut oils in foods that also
pose a threat to peanut/nut allergy kids. Some examples include cookies,
muffins, cakes, pastries, doughnuts, sweet rolls, granola bars, some cereal
bars, trail mix, candies, chocolate bars, cheese spreads, some puddings
and ice cream, Nutella, Chinese food, snack crackers and chips.
Older children with peanut/nut allergies may already know which foods
they cannot eat and are adept at reading food labels. Younger children
however may still be keen to accept treats or sip on a friend's drink.
To reduce their exposure to offending foods children with food allergies
should only eat foods that they have brought from home. All children need
to be cautioned about not sharing snacks, especially with allergic children.
If you are
concerned that your child will not be getting enough protein at lunch
without peanut butter, you'll be happy to know that they're probably getting
more than enough protein each day already. The following foods have approximately
the same amount of protein as two tablespoons of peanut butter: one ounce
of meat or cheese, one cup of yogurt, one cup of milk, one cup of raisin
bran cereal, and one bagel. Just one slice of cheese pizza has almost
two times the protein as two tablespoons of peanut butter.
The key to a balanced lunch is to have at least one food from each of
the four food groups in Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating.
Some lunch bag ideas include hard boiled eggs, leftover cooked chicken
legs, cold cuts, chili, cream cheese, cheese slices, meat or vegetable
stew, macaroni and cheese, leftover spaghetti or pasta, baked beans, soup,
tuna or egg salad, or leftover pizza. Make lunch balanced by adding whole
grain bread, bagels or pita bread, raw vegetables, fruit, and a serving
of milk, yogurt or nut-free pudding.
A few cookies, fig bars, cereal bars and chocolate treats are nut-free.
In order to help maintain a safe and nut-free classroom, just remember
to read all food labels carefully and avoid sending foods that do contain
nuts or peanut butter.