Back to school can mean new shoes, notebooks, pencils and backpacks. For kids with celiac disease, food allergies or intolerances, there are extra essentials required to make sure they stay safe in the classroom, on the playground and on the school bus. (Note: If your child needs an epinephrine pen, that’s without a doubt the priority. Always check with your healthcare provider on your child’s needs.) Here are Nima’s back to school gluten-free allergen-free essentials to pack in your children’s backpack!
Back to school gluten-free allergen-free survival kit
Allergy Apparel offers bracelets and clothing that your child can wear to indicate they have a food intolerance. The bracelet is customizable for gluten intolerance/celiac disease, as well as a variety of allergies and intolerances.
Laminated allergy information note
Depending on the age of your child, it may or may not be easy for them to describe their intolerance and what they need to do if they begin having a reaction. A laminated note in their backpack explaining their allergy/intolerance, any emergency steps and phone numbers can be a critical first step in getting your child the help they need. Sharing copies with your child’s primary teacher and the school nurse can also be helpful. Both professionals can be your child’s first line of defense.
Gluten-free, allergen-free snacks
Snack time is a fun time for the little ones and a necessity to keep older kids powered on the go. Here are a few gluten-free, allergy-friendly options to consider.
HomeFree cookies are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, non-GMO and vegan. They have flavors like ginger snap, lemon burst, chocolate mint, double chocolate chip and vanilla. Plus, they are mini-cookies, which are easy for packing in a lunchbox.
Target has a box full of different pre-packaged gluten-free snack options that allows your kids to sample different options. Plus, it’s easy. Just grab and put it in the lunchbox!
Need snacks or sweets that are free of the top eight allergens, as well as gluten-free? Enjoy Life has probably the biggest variety of allergy-friendly foods. Everything from mini-cookies to snack bars and fruit and seed mixes – your child will surely find something they fancy!
Allermates has created a special Gluten-Free Awareness Eco Friendly Lunch Bag that can give your child their own unique lunchbox that can also help them share their food identity.
If you want to pack your child’s food in a container with compartments on which you can also add stickers, the EasyLunchboxes offers great options that are durable and reusable as well as microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe.
Labeling a container as gluten-free can help ensure it stays that way, especially if snacks and lunches for little ones are kept in a kitchen or a cubby. Mabel’s Labels Write Away Peel and Stick Labels have designs kids love and are easy to write on. They are waterproof, microwave safe, UV resistant and dishwasher safe.
Hand sanitizer will not cleanse hands of allergens, so carrying commercial hand wipes is a good idea during extracurricular activities or after lunch to make sure no cross-contact of allergens gets on your child’s hand and in their mouths.
Nice ‘n CLEAN claims to be the only brand of antibacterial hand wipes shown to effectively remove 99% of peanut residue from hard surfaces. They’re also the official sponsor of FARE.
Huggies Baby Wipes can be a good resource to have to wipe down a lunch table or seat.
Kimberly Clark has said that their wipes are gluten-free.
And, of course, a Nima can also help! Your child could test any school lunches, snacks or birthday treats for gluten. Sensors for peanut, tree nuts and milk are in development for release in 2018.
Back to school is an exciting time and hopefully some of these essentials will make it easier and relieve any potential anxiety any parents may have about sending their kids off to school safely.