My family is pretty lucky. None of us have food allergies. There are many theories behind the rising numbers of children who suffer from allergies. I prescribe to some theories more than others, but I believe the jury is still out as to exactly why we are seeing increasingly more and more cases. But I’m not here to fire up that debate in this post.
Thankfully, my toddler has quite a broad palate and can eat pretty much anything. Whether he choses to eat it or not is another matter. (See earlier post on flipping calzones). But luckily for us, there is no particular food we have to avoid. Every few weeks I make him little bars or muffins crammed with as many nutrients as I can get into them, while still being delicious and never overly-sweet (like a lot of the store-bought products are). He’s not a big meat eater, so along with many other ingredients, I usually include some nut meal or coarsely ground nuts (e.g. almond, hazelnut, pecan) in the mix to help him get a bit more protein, fats, vitamins and minerals into his growing body.
Alas, when we started him at daycare, as with many child care facilities and schools these days, we discovered it is a nut-free zone. In this particular facility, the parents provide all the food for their own children. It’s also an egg-free zone, but I clarified with the staff that the occasional little homemade muffin or slice would be okay to send.
For a while I just didn’t send his little baked snack along with him. There was no way I was going to risk causing someone else’s little baby or toddler to have an anaphylactic reaction to something they’ve accidentally consumed, no matter how minuscule the amount or slim the chances.
But one day with a little bit more time on my hands, I decided I would create a nut-free version of my Super FON (Fruit, Oat, Nut) Bars that I make him. Some little tweaks here and there, with separate equipment for everything, and I think the results are really comparable. When I tasted them myself, there was not a huge difference, and my son still loves both versions. That's a win for everybody.