Back to school with food allergies and gluten free school treats!

 Ah yes! Back to school– time for crisp notebook paper, pink erasers, sharp pencils and new backpacks. For parents of food allergic kids, this is also the time to make sure the epi-pens are still safe after spending the hot summer outside.  We check to make sure the liquid benedryl hasn’t spilled all over the inside of the medicine bag. We meet with  homeroom teachers, school nurses, and recess monitors to go over emergency protocol.  We drop extra epi-pens at the front desk of school, make sure the child knows epis are in their backpack, and place another in the nurse’s hands.  We make sure safe snacks are accessible in the homeroom or the locker.  Sometimes parents of food allergic kids get hold of the school lunch menu to plan ahead.  
If we are lucky, we will have a homeroom teacher/advisor who will clue us in (at least a day in advance) when the class is making edible volcanos or participating in a bedouin feast. 
Parents of food allergic kids also try to gain access to the class birthday list so they aren’t blindsided the first day of school with, “Chloe’s birthday was in July, but she wanted to share a treat with her class on the first day of school.” Blah, blah, blah.  Or another favorite, “Sam loves to bake chocolate chip cookies and it’s the only thing he does well.  It makes him feel good about himself. Don’t you always have stuff you can whip up for Matthew?”
Most people dont think twice about bringing food and snacks into the classroom.  My life used to be dictated by the spur of the moment: “Oh, I forgot to tell you but _________ brought in a birthday treat today.  Are you able to have something here for Matthew by 7:55 am?” 
After eight school years of dealing with the multitude of last minute birthday treats, a friend clued me in on what she started at her child’s school– it is simple, yet BRILLIANT!!!!!!
The kids with a birthday in a given month all celebrate on one designated day and one parent is assigned to bring in the snack.  Since all of these children already have birthday celebrations with friends and family outside of school, the school birthday treat was not such an important event. 
Since I am the only allergy mother in the grade, I was the obvious volunteer to organize and bring in the treat.  I don’t mind.  I get to travel up to the middle school hallway, spy on the kids for a few minutes, and drop off the treats in the classooms.  Each parent already contributes to the class fund now they add an extra $10 for the birthday treat.  Simple, clean, and easy for everyone involved!
Listed below are some options for Gluten free birthday treats–many are kosher and peanut free as well! 
-junior mints
-mini and regular hershey bars
-m & m  packs
-hershey kisses
-lemonheads candy
-sweedish fish
-tootsie pops, tootsie rolls
-after eight candies
-popsicle brand popsicles–many types, check packaging!
-push-ups, italian ice, lemon chills
-milk duds
-gogurt–great frozen
-silhouette brand fudgesicles
-dove ice cream minis or regular
-haagan daaz mini ice cream cups –obviously not with cookies or brownie pieces!
-kinnikinnick k-toos (just like oreos) and chocolate chip cookies (really divine!)
-wholefoods frozen brownies, cupcakes
-chooclate covered strawberries, fruit kabobs
-edy mini ice cream cups
-edy’s dibs
-jello pudding snack packs
-smarites–roll candies
-dairy queen pre-packaged ice cream bars
-starburst fruit chews
-three muskateer bars
-glutino kit-kat like chocolate wafer cookies (a favorite of the gluten free boy!)


“Who’s gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It’s chocolate, it’s peppermint — it’s delicious!”
– Kramer, in Seinfeld “The Junior Mints”

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