Valentine’s Day is a time of love, valentines and treats. For a child with food allergies, it can be upsetting if treats that he can’t have are handed out in the classroom.
If you keep a few guidelines in mind, it can help assure that most, if not all, of the kids in your child’s classroom can enjoy the treats you send.
If your child suffers from food allergies — or even if she doesn’t — you probably want to avoid sending treats to school for a Valentine’s Day party that are full of allergens. Fortunately, laws were passed in the last decade to ensure that allergens are easily identified in the foods we eat.
Check the labels
One way to check the candy or treat that you buy for allergens is to look at the label. In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration passed the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act which requires that all foods (aside from raw agricultural commodities such as produce and meat) indicate if they contain, come into contact with or are produced in the same facility as one of the top eight allergens (milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans).
If it has wording on it similar to “may contain” or “was processed in the same facility as,” it means that you probably don’t want to purchase it for the class party. Also, if the allergen is present, it will either be indicated by bold lettering or be listed separately after the main ingredient list.
Some popular choices that avoid many, if not all, of the top eight allergens are as follows:
- Dum Dums
- Laffy Taffy
- Sweet Tarts
- Jolly Ranchers
You will of course need to verify the package before purchasing it, but this will give you an idea of what types of candy to look for.
If you choose a chocolate treat, it will generally have milk in it, but you’ll want to make sure that it does not have a peanut or tree nut warning on the label, which is common for chocolate.
If your school allows homemade treats, try these out — or prepare them for your own food-allergic child for when she gets home from school. Please note which allergens are present and plan accordingly!
Mini st(raw)berry cheesecakes
From Lexie’s Kitchen, we have Mini St(raw)berry Cheesecakes. They do contain nuts but no dairy, no gluten and no eggs — among many others! Very cool stuff, and it looks totally delicious.
Dairy-free chocolate dipped strawberries
Allergy Foodie provides us with an absolute heap of fabulous homemade Valentine’s Day treats — including fresh strawberries dipped in dairy-free chocolate. Even kids who have never tried the combo of chocolate and fruit will be excited to try them out.
Valentine’s Day heart fruit kabobs
Allergy Shmallergy has the cutest idea ever — Cupid’s Arrows (which are Valentine-themed fruit kabobs). It combines delicious fruit with bamboo skewers that everyone can easily enjoy without worry.
Gluten-free Valentine’s Day cookies
From Raising Jack With Celiac we have these totally adorable gluten-free Valentine’s Day cookies. Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity will be sure to absolutely love these, and they look very festive as well.