Friday, August 19, 2011

A Peanut-Free Zone

Happy Friday! Dan Wells writing, I hope this note finds you well and in good spirits!

If you follow this blog regularly, you may know my daughter starts pre-school in September, (ahahahahahahah) ok, sorry about that, it's a lot to take in!

Moving on. Who knew schools these days had so many rules?

My wife and I received a note that said my daughters classroom would be a "peanut-free zone." To avoid problems for nut-allergic students, all peanut products would be taboo - not only in treats brought for the entire classroom, but even in individual student lunches.

Her classroom is not unusual in banning all peanut products. At many schools across America, the peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich - that childhood lunchbox staple - has been permanently banned.

According to a recent report published by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, cases of peanut allergies in kids have more than tripled and over a ten-year period and 3 million Americans now are allergic to some kind of nut.

I get it...I wouldn't want to endanger any child's health, so I plan to strictly follow the peanut-free rule for school lunches. I have a lot of sympathy for parents of children with severe food allergies. But I have to admit that my first thought when I read the note was more selfish than sympathetic.

What the heck are we going to do with a kid who ONLY eats PB&J ?

With all of this talk about nut allergies, I decided to write today's column about peanut-free lunches kids.

Below are some ideas I found to hopefully get us through the year!

1.Strawberry & Cream Cheese Sandwich: Sliced strawberries and reduced-fat cream cheese come together in a sandwich for this quick and healthy lunchbox treat. Applesauce in single serving cup and Graham crackers, but be sure to check the label to ensure that the crackers are truly nut-free and aren't made in a facility that makes peanuts.

2. Pizza Roll-Up Lunch: This easy pizza-inspired roll-up is a kid-pleaser and costs less than $3 per serving. Keep 'em smiling with watermelon cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters.

3.Turkey & Pepper Roll-Up: Crunchy bell pepper strips rolled in deli turkey (you can use ham too) makes a simple and satisfying protein-packed pick-me-up. Baby carrots with Ranch dressing and raw veggies are really healthy and tasty to kids.

4. Tortilla roll-up made with turkey slices, American cheese and lettuce. Plus you can add a half cup of low-fat vanilla yogurt; serve carrot sticks with a side of hummus.

5. A mini bagel filled with Honey Bunny Cream Cheese which is made with cream cheese, honey and baby carrot shreds. Fresh red or green grapes, and a small bag of popcorn which is a healthy whole grain snack.

These of course are just a few ideas, I was told and read to keep it simple. Get recipes to make a healthy lunch with only 3 ingredients.
Make it fun.

Good advice wish us luck!
Have a great weekend.

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