Allergy-Friendly Treats for Your Kid's Holiday Parties

Put the jolly in your kid's holiday party—even when navigating food allergies. These yummy, prepackaged options and baking substitutes make sharing the love a snap.
Photo courtesy of Maplehurst Bakeries

One in 13 children has a food allergy, but in my daughter's preschool class, four out of 13 are affected, and she's one of them. Even as a food-allergy mom, I still find it hard to provide refreshments all classmates can enjoy. I also remember how overwhelming it is for a parent who has yet to hunt for allergy-friendly treats.

This is especially true with the guidelines many schools set for parties. When food isn't banned altogether, many classrooms require peanut- and nut-free snacks or allow only prepackaged items. When you factor in confusing product labels, shopping for safe goodies can be frustrating. The good news is allergy-friendly treats are possible, whether buying or making them.

These prepackaged foods and substitutes for common baking ingredients will help ensure all the kids in your child's class can enjoy some holiday cheer.

Prepackaged Allergy-Friendly Treats

Maplehurst Bakeries Mini Cupcakes

Free of: Peanuts

While you may not recognize the brand name, you can find these delightful little cupcakes year round and always decorated for the upcoming holiday. Where, you ask? They're often in the mix in the bakery department of your local grocery store. The trick is to look for the "Made in a peanut-free facility" logo on the product's wrap-around label. You'd be surprised at all the places you'll find them, and the kids will love you for it.

Courtesy of Enjoy Life Foods

Enjoy Life Foods Soft Baked Cookies 

Free of: Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Dairy, Wheat/Gluten, Eggs, Soy, and more

You may be skeptical of a cookie without these ingredients. But I've witnessed kids gobble them down, even alongside "typical" treats. The fact is, they're just as yummy as they are safe. They're also easy to find in many major stores, so take your pick from various flavors including Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate Brownie, Gingerbread Spice, or Snickerdoodle.

Lofthouse Cookies Frosted Sugar Cookies

Free of: Peanuts and Tree Nuts

Nothing signals the holiday season quite like a sugar cookie. Add frosting and sprinkles and you have a hit, especially when peanut- and tree nut-allergic kids can enjoy them, too. Look for these Lofthouse cookies in Target and Wal-Mart stores. You should be able to spot them by their "Made in a Peanut and Tree Nut Free Facility" emblem.

YumEarth Organic Lollipops

Courtesy of YumEarth

Free of: Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Dairy, Wheat/Gluten, Eggs, Soy, and more

These yummy lollipops are not only allergy-friendly, they're as good for you as candy gets. They're organic, made with real fruit juice, and contain a heaping helping of Vitamin C. But your kids will never know. Visit a number of retailers to pick up an assortment. You may also find their Candy Cane Pops, a festive combination of fruit and mint.

Many other allergy-friendly options are available. For example, you can find those free of peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs in Snack Safely's SafeSnack Guide. If you need to exclude different allergens, check out Natural Candy Store.

Courtesy of SunButter LLC

Allergy-Friendly Baking Substitutes

FOR PEANUT BUTTER: SunButter Sunflower Butter 

Free of: Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Dairy, Wheat/Gluten, Eggs, Soy, and more

There are a couple of challenges to finding peanut butter substitutes. One is finding a jar that doesn't contain tree nuts, when tree nuts are a problem, too. The other is finding one that tastes as good as the beloved original. SunButter is the solution. It's available at stores nationwide in several varieties for the texture you desire. The company's website also provides recipes to make allergy-friendly baking easier.

FOR CHOCOLATE: Enjoy Life Foods Baking Chocolate

Free of: Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Dairy, Wheat/Gluten, Eggs, Soy, and more

Chocolate chip cookies, fudge, chocolate-covered pretzels... your favorite holiday treats can seem impossible when dealing with food allergies. The search for chocolate that doesn't contain milk or soy or hasn't come in contact with nuts is discouraging. Yet, with these baking morsels from Enjoy Life Foods, you can make safe desserts, and no one will know the difference.

Courtesy of So Delicious

FOR MILK: So Delicious Dairy Free Beverages 

Free of: Dairy and more

So Delicious offers a variety of allergy-friendly beverages so you're bound to find one that works for your specific situation. If the company's Cashewmilk and Almondmilk beverages are an issue due to a tree nut allergy, maybe Coconutmilk is your answer. Its creamy texture is perfect for baking, and the company even offers a culinary option. You can also feel good knowing thorough measures help ensure each product stays safe.

FOR BUTTER: Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks

Courtesy of Pinnacle Foods Inc.

Free of: Dairy, Eggs, and more

This vegan butter substitute makes it easy for kids with dairy and egg allergies to enjoy holiday treats of all kinds. In fact, my family just used it in Rice Krispies treats, and they were perfect! A quick call to the company let me know the product was made in a peanut- and tree nut-free facility.

A Final Word on Allergy-Friendly Foods

Manufacturing processes can change at any time, even with trusted brands. That's why it's important to always check ingredient labels and to contact the company when in doubt. It usually takes a minute or two by phone to verify the product's safety and to ensure the health of all our kids this holiday season—and every day.

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