Allergies to nuts, more than just peanuts, is more and more common. The list of most common allergic foods continues to expand from peanuts, tree nuts*, fish, eggs, and milk to include sesame seeds, seafood (crustaceans and shellfish) soy, wheat and sulphites (a food additive). It’s getting harder to know what’s safe to send with your kids to school, dance or hockey practice.
Have you received a note from school detailing what can and can’t be taken? At my daughters’ school, egg and fish has been added to the list of last year’s nuts. A tough situation for the parents of such allergic kids and now for the rest of the school as egg and tuna sandwiches are off the menu.
You’ve seen the no-nut butters next to peanut butter at the supermarket, but what about trying some specific seed butters instead? They are a sneaky way to get some good ‘brainy’ fats into your kids. Seeds like pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, flax, chia and hemp are often forgotten about or not on your radar as safe alternatives to nuts. Double check about sesame seeds with your school before sending.
Seeds are little powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, protein and essential fats that help to speed up metabolism and healing time, reduce inflammation that cause eczema, asthma, arthritis and pain, and in some cases are classed as superfoods.
How to pack seeds:
Rice Crisp Surprise Squares
Adults and kids alike will find these hard to resist.
½ cup brown rice syrup or barley malt syrup
2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
¼ cup pumpkin seed butter
⅛ cup tahini (or swap for another seed)
⅛ cup sunflower seed butter
1 tsp vanilla
½ box crisp rice cereal or millet puff cereal
⅛ cup chia seeds
⅛ cup flax or hemp seeds
1. Heat syrup, molasses, seed butter, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium-low heat until well combined and almost runny. Remove from heat.
2. Add cereal, seeds and quickly stir well to coat. Press into two 8-inch (2 L) square trays and let cool. Makes about 32 to 64 squares, depending on how small you cut them.
A good source of vitamin E, calcium, zinc, vitamin B1, manganese, magnesium, copper, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B5, and folate.
What’s your favourite seed and how do you use it?
*Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts or filberts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachio nuts and walnuts
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It’s that time again (I can hear the groan from here)! Time to think about packing school lunches every day for the next school year. I’m thinking that it might make you want to run and hide. How about something different this year? Take the pressure off and get your kids to make their own lunch. Yes, it is possible, I promise.