The rationale for peanut- and nut-free classrooms and schools has to do with the somewhat unique nature of these allergies. Most people with food allergies — even severe allergies — can manage their allergies by simply not eating foods that have their allergens in them. They read labels, don’t eat food if they don’t know its origins, and ask questions to stay aware of cross-contamination.
People with peanut and tree nut allergies follow all these steps, but there are two limits to this approach. First, it’s possible for people with these two allergies to react to traces of nut dust in the air (from peanut shells, for example). Second, nuts are full of natural oils that leave residues. While these residues can be removed with common household cleaners, it can be difficult or impossible to clean tables in the middle of lunch, for example, or for school cleaning staff to know to clean oils off of tainted walls or doorknobs during the school day.
Because of these issues, and because peanut and tree nut allergies can be life-threatening, many schools have responded by designating peanut- or nut-free lunch tables or classrooms, or even by declaring the entire campus peanut- or nut-free.
So what kinds of foods are good to bring to a nut-free classroom? Here are some ideas. Your school may provide a list, however, and one good source for current information will be the parent of the classmate with the nut allergy. Always check labels on packaged foods.
- Any fresh fruit (apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, pears, plums, clementines, strawberries, melons, berries, etc.)
- Raisins, dried cranberries, cherries, dates, apricots, prunes and other dried fruit
- Pulp & Ella’s Kitchen fruit smoothies
- Fruit cups (juice packed)
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Fresh vegetables (baby carrots, celery sticks, grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, broccoli, pepper strips, etc.)
- String cheese or other cheese (1 oz)
- Yogurt cups
- Cottage cheese
- Multi-grain Wheat Thins
- Kashi Tasty Little Crackers (TLC)
- Goldfish crackers
- Annie’s Bunnies
- Graham crackers
- Animal crackers
- Cereal (Corn Chex, Original Cheerios, Frosted Mini Wheats, Kashi Heart to Heart & Go Lean Crunch)
- Small (mini) bagels with cream cheese
- Fig Newtons
- Rice Cakes (Lundberg brand)
- Quaker Quakes (mini rice cakes)
- Genisoy Soy Crisps
- Rice or Tortilla or Veggie chips
- Homemade muffins or breads (e.g. banana, carrot, zucchini, pumpkin, oatmeal, blueberry) – no added nuts
- Fruit Yo-Yo (Bear brand)
- Seaweed snacks
- Hummus (nut free)
Source: About – Food Allergies