Maybe I'm being overly paranoid. Or maybe I'm extra careful because I have an allergic child. That's right! Little Man Ty is allergic to peanuts, nuts, sunflower seeds and dairy! Sending him to a friend's house, or even to a relative's house, is absolutely nerve-wracking for me. I worry constantly that he's going to eat something he shouldn't, or even touch something that's been in contact with one of his allergens. Because of his allergies, he doesn't get invited to a lot of his friends' birthday parties. Parents are "scared" to have him over, (even though I would most likely stay over while he's visiting anyways) and that just breaks my heart (but that's a post for another time).
The one place (besides our own home) where I'd like to think that my child is completely safe, is at school. Even though the schools in our area are peanut/nut aware and discourage students from bringing foods that could cause anaphylaxis in a child, I worry that someone will forget and that will be the day where Ty decides to accept a trade in his lunch. However, I expect his teachers to know better and to protect him (this being said, I did watch one of his teacher eat peanut butter cookies for lunch, then teach him right after, laughing it off when I suggested that he wash his hands and brush his teeth as a precaution). Therefore, the idea of bringing M&Ms in the classroom is just plain crazy to me.
So what could we use instead? Here's a list of snacks and treats that you could easily substitute the M&Ms for:
- Goldfish Crackers (they even have all kinds of colours now too!)
- Sweet Tarts
- Mike & Ikes
- and there are so many others!
One last thing. When you prepare activities that involve food, please don't prepare something different for the allergic child just in case!! Having food allergies is already hard enough and Ty hates that he's different than his friends. Why point out the differences by excluding him? There are so many different companies that now offer peanut/nut free, glutten-free, dairy-free etc. food that there really is no excuse for not paying attention to a student's alllergies.