Yes, it’s true that a few decades ago kids had Kool-Aid® and cookies or whatever the sweet ladies of the church made including all sorts of nut-filled goodies or homemade ice cream (with raw eggs, am I dating myself?) on the last day of VBS. For all kinds of reasons, snack life is not so simple anymore. As we minister to families and take steps to help them feel included and welcomed, taking a special look at what we offer for snacks is just another part of that total effort.
It helps to know if kids have specific dietary issues. However, it is always best to err on the side of caution, or have a back-up plan if possible. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- All of the recipes in the VBS 2015 Snack Rotation Recipe Cards are possible to make without any contact with peanuts. However, be sure to carefully read all labels. Some ingredients or store bought items may not have peanuts in them, but may have been prepared in a facility that uses peanuts. For the severely allergic, this can be a problem. Look for an alternative.
- Apply the same cautions when using a recipe of your own or purchasing any packaged snacks.
- Gluten may be harder to “spot” at first, but basically watch for wheat, rye, barley, and triticale in ingredient labels.
- Some websites can be helpful. The “Live Gluten Free” tab on the celiac.org website has some recipe and “candy lists” information. Also check out http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/gluten-free-diet/art-20048530.
- Once again, read those labels. That’s the best way to spot troubling ingredients.
- Sorbets or non-dairy frozen desserts can provide a cool sweet treat without dairy issues. (Google “dairy free snacks” for some fun ideas.)
It is a huge challenge to find snacks that clear all of these hurdles. The best bet is to have a couple of options so that kids who have to make a choice can choose something fun. Check those registration forms for any allergies that parents indicate. If they put it on the form they expect your church to take note.
If you have great recipes that your kids love and are allergy friendly … please share!! We’d love to give them a try!