I know that peanut and nut allergies are serious, and a child or adult that comes into contact with a nut, that they are allergic to can cause major issues and possibly death. I get it, I really do. Now that I have kids who go to school, and before that childcare, I was very conscious on what to pack for their lunches. I don’t want to be responsible for any child touching or coming into contact with a food they cannot have; I would never forgive myself if something like this happened.
So to make sure that all lunches are safe, I read all ingredients before I purchase. However there is always a disclaimer on products that state: “May contain traces of peanuts, nuts or sesame seeds”, I think this stems from the manufacturer not being able to guarantee 100% that all equipment did not come into contact with any nut products. This disclaimer is a legal cover to make sure that the company is covered, and the responsibility then falls on the individual.
Knowing this, I am finding it incredibly difficult to pack lunches that don’t have any of these disclaimers on them. One of the girl’s teachers mentioned that a bar that they like to eat had this disclaimer on it. I pointed out that most products do and in the ingredients it is not listed. That is why I purchased the product. She told me that there were ways to avoid this situation. Maybe I need to bake all my own products to be safe.
When I was at school no one I knew had nut allergies, and if they did I never heard about it. We ate peanut butter sandwiches freely and it was no issue. Has there been a change in the environment, what we eat, or for that matter not eating, that is causing more nut allergies to appear?
I fed nuts and nut products to the girls early; this was so I could see if they were allergic. I was close to a hospital and if something did happen, I would have been there quick smart. The only thing that I was told not to give them and I did anyway was strawberries. My husband is allergic to strawberries, but has only reacted and had them as a baby; it is hard to know if he still is allergic. I have been told it was just hives that he got, so if that happened, I would again be at the hospital. So we are lucky that both girls don’t have any known allergies. They are fine with nut products and strawberries. Reading more on the subject when the twins were first born, there is a consensus that not giving kids certain types of food can create allergies. Again, I am not a doctor and I think that if you have an aversion or are allergic, that might be just the way you are. It probably has nothing to do with not eating it or eating it. It is just an interesting theory.
I don’t want to cause an issue over a snack, however my girls don’t eat much and I am packing things that I know they eat, I can be happy knowing that they have had an adequate lunch. I do like baking but I find that it is time consuming and it is so much easier to purchase an item. This I know is a trap, as it is indeed healthier to cook and make your own food. I do mostly, just there are items that I have tried to cook and they have been great disasters; also investing the time and trouble making something fancy my girls end up not eating (Ages ago I made homemade breakfast bars, they ended up being hard as wood. Not a good sign for a type of natural cereal bar).
If you require more information about nut allergies:
- The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA)
- Sydney Children’s Hospital – Factsheet – Allergy – Tree Nut
Do you struggle with finding nut free products to pack for lunches? If you have a child with a nut allergy how has that changed what food you have in the house? Do you have great recipes that will solve this issue? Don’t be shy; share them with us and help us all pack better lunches. Send in your comments.
Suzanne Robinson is an ex career girl (well still a career girl, but not in the office and getting paid). She has worked for the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), News Ltd.’s, CareerOne.com.au as a producer and lots more.
She is a mother to three year old identical twin girls, who keep her very busy. On top of looking after the girls, she is studying for a master’s degree in project management, blogging on her blog “Mummy to Twins”, attempting to keep the house clean and tidy, and trying to fit in some me time as well.