8 Healthy and Safe Snacks for Children with Allergies
Providing a balanced and safe diet for children with allergies is critical to their well-being. Instead of letting food restrictions limit their options, it’s possible to prepare healthy and safe snacks for children with allergies that substitute allergenic ingredients or provide novel alternatives.
Given the high proportion of allergies in children, from You Are Mom, we want to ignite the gastronomic spark that many parents carry inside, to vary the snacks of our children and ensure their consumption without harm to their health.
Healthy snacks for children with allergies
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the top 8 foods that cause the most severe allergic reactions in the United States are crustaceans, fish, eggs, milk, soy, peanuts, nuts, and wheat. These foods account for 4% of allergies worldwide.
So, to prepare healthy snacks, start by omitting or substituting these ingredients with those that are allergen-free. Also, make sure that the allergen isn’t hidden in the packaged ingredients. Read the product label carefully.
Let’s get started!
1. Carrot sticks and hummus (without tahini)
This delicious snack combines the crunchiness of fresh carrots with homemade hummus. Don’t add tahini, as this is sesame paste that can be an allergic ingredient for children.
Hummus is an important source of protein and fiber, in addition to vitamin A, thanks to the carrot, which has a positive effect on visual health and skin and strengthens the immune system.
To prepare it, wash the carrot and cut it into slices 2 centimeters thick, then cut in the form of sticks. For the hummus use cooked chickpeas, toasted chia seeds, garlic, lemon juice, water, salt, olive oil, paprika, or cumin.
Add all of the hummus ingredients to a food processor and blend everything until you have a smooth mixture. You can add a little more olive oil and salt to taste.
2. Gluten-free oatmeal cookies
There are many recipes for gluten-free oatmeal cookies. But one of our favorites includes bananas, chocolate chips, cornstarch, oil, baking soda, cinnamon powder, and flaked oats. The banana replaces the sugar.
A good ratio is that for every 2 cups of oatmeal, you use 1/3 cup of oil, 3/4 cup of starch, and 1 large banana.
Peel the ripe banana and slice it. Put it in a food processor and add the cornstarch, cinnamon, oil, baking soda, and oat flakes.
Process until it becomes a homogeneous paste and then add the chocolate chips and mix slowly with a spatula. Form large balls and place them on a tray with waxed paper. Flatten with the palm of your hand and bake for 10 minutes. Your children with allergies can enjoy these cookies any time of day!
3. Chocolate cake (without milk and without flour)
This cake can be prepared like a chocolate cake, only that the cow’s milk is replaced by calcium-fortified almond milk and the wheat flour by almond flour.
The latter doesn’t contain as much protein as cow’s milk, but it does contain enough calcium for the good bone health of growing children. This is reported in an article published by the IFAS Extension of the University of Florida.
For each cup of almond milk, sugar, and cocoa powder, use 2 cups of almond flour and half a cup of oil. Add vanilla, baking soda, and 2 eggs.
Mix the oil with sugar and eggs. Set aside. Separately, mix the flour with the cocoa powder and the baking soda. Whisk the solid ingredients with the liquids while diluting with the almond milk. Transfer the mixture to a floured pan and bake for 45 minutes. Let cool, and enjoy!
4. Fruit Carpaccio
Unless your child is allergic to a particular fruit, nothing’s more refreshing and versatile than a carpaccio of tangerine, strawberries, and pomegranate. Not only will the flavor and colors attract the attention of the little ones, but it’s also an explosion of antioxidants such as anthocyanins, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
Vitamin C, for example, not only prevents free radical damage in the body, but it also helps fight diseases because it strengthens the immune system, helps the absorption of iron, maintains the skin and tendons, and helps heal wounds.
The recipe is very easy to make. You just have to wash the fruits well and peel the tangerine, cutting it into very thin slices.
Do the same with the strawberries and extract the pomegranate seeds. Place everything on a plate in layers and dress with tangerine juice with vinegar, a little sugar, and olive oil.
5. Carrot balls
The original recipe has nuts, so we invite you to substitute them with sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
To make them, wash and chop the carrots in a food processor and add butter, oatmeal, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. After a homogeneous mass is made, add the seeds along with some finely chopped dates. At the end, prepare some balls that are firm and coat them with grated carrot.
As for the healthiness of this recipe, the seeds are a source of omega-3 fatty acids that are used to produce DHA, a fatty acid that benefits brain development, behavior, and learning in children.
6. Toasted muesli
Cereals will always be a good alternative to be used as the most awaited snacks among little ones. Take a look at this simple and delicious preparation that’s full of flavor and nutrition.
For each cup of oatmeal, use 3 tablespoons of the rest of each ingredient, which are wheat germ seeds, oil, and malt extract.
Mix in a bowl the oatmeal, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds, and wheat germ. Stir and add sunflower oil, malt extract, and water. Then spread the mixture on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 1 hour or until golden brown and crispy. When cool, add a handful of raisins.
This snack contains protein and soluble and insoluble fiber that prevents constipation. It also provides omega-6 and omega-3 fats and is a source of vitamins and minerals.
7. Apple nachos
A delicious and safe way to try an allergen-free snack is to prepare apple nachos. For this, you need 2 thinly sliced green apples, 1/4 cup of shredded coconut, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, honey or caramel, and chocolate chips.
In case your child is allergic to peanuts, you can substitute the peanut butter with sunflower seed butter.
Melt the butter in the microwave and mix with the honey. Then add it to the apples. Then, add grated coconut and chocolate chips, this will be the magic touch to this sweet snack!
Apples provide flavonoids such as quercetin, which has a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. This is what a group of specialists say in an article in the Journal of Functional Foods.
8. Blueberry muffins
Muffins are traditional snacks that can be made healthier, more tender, and more delicious just by adding blueberries to the recipe. We’ll tell you how.
Uses 1 cup of oat flakes, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, baking powder, salt, 3 tablespoons of butter or sunflower oil, 1 cup of almond milk, 1 egg, and, of course, 1 cup of blueberries.
You have to mix the dry and liquid ingredients separately. Then, gradually add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir slowly. When finished, add the blueberries and pour into the muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes until risen and firm.
The magazine Advances in Nutrition in 2019 speaks on the health benefits of adding blueberries to the diet. For example, their consistent and moderate consumption can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, protect the brain, maintain weight, and prevent type 2 diabetes.
What does it depend on whether snacks are safe for children with allergies?
A snack is considered safe for a child with allergies as long as its ingredients don’t contain the allergens that trigger symptoms. This article shows some healthy and nutritious recipes to encourage culinary imagination.
It’s all about omitting and substituting. For example, if the child is allergic to peanut butter, substitute some seed fat; if the child is allergic to cow’s milk, then use plant-based milks. If the child doesn’t tolerate gluten, use alternative flours such as pumpkin, cassava, and carrot, among others.
It’s also a good idea to carefully check the labels of all foods purchased in the market to ensure safe consumption for the child.
Other recipes can be fruit compotes with oat flakes, strawberry frozen yogurt, avocado and tuna paste, rice with fortified vegetable milk, chickpea and chocolate cake, apple pie with maple syrup, among many others.
Remember that these are some recommendations in the kitchen, but it’s your pediatrician who’s in charge of controlling your child’s allergy and making all the corresponding tests and recommendations.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Castillo-Velarde, Edwin Rolando. (2019). Vitamina C en la salud y en la enfermedad. Revista de la Facultad de Medicina Humana, 19(4), 95-100. https://dx.doi.org/10.25176/RFMH.v19i4.2351
- Centro para la Prevención y el Control de Enfermedades (CDC). Alergia a los alimentos. Revisada el 23 de agosto del 2022. Disponible en: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/foodallergies/index.htm
- De Martinis, M., Sirufo, M. M., Suppa, M., & Ginaldi, L. (2020). New Perspectives in Food Allergy. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(4), 1474. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041474
- Elena Torna, Daniela Rivero Mendoza y Wendy J. Dahl. IFAS Extensiom. University of Florida. Leches a base de plantas: Almendras. Fecha de primera publicación: diciembre 2020. Disponible en: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FS423#FOOTNOTE_2
- Elghoudi, A., & Narchi, H. (2022). Food allergy in children-the current status and the way forward. World journal of clinical pediatrics, 11(3), 253–269. https://doi.org/10.5409/wjcp.v11.i3.253
- Kuratko, C. N., Barrett, E. C., Nelson, E. B., & Salem, N., Jr (2013). The relationship of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with learning and behavior in healthy children: a review. Nutrients, 5(7), 2777–2810. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5072777
- Fundación Española de Nutrición. Manzana. Disponible en: https://fen.org.es/MercadoAlimentosFEN/pdfs/manzana.pdf
- Kalt, Wilhelmina & Cassidy, Aedin & Howard, Luke & Krikorian, Robert & Stull, April & Tremblay, Francois & Zamora-Ros, Raul. (2019). Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.). 11. 10.1093/advances/nmz065.
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