An allergy-friendly guide that will tickle your taste buds

Healthy snacking for the whole family

Food allergies, intolerances, and restrictions seem to be popping up everywhere these days. Are you finding yourself frozen in action in the grocery aisle when it comes to shopping for easy grab-and-go snacks that are safe and healthy for everyone? Many convenience snack items may have multiple items on the top nine allergen list designated by the FDA. These nine allergens are: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans, and sesame seeds. If you are shopping for someone with an allergy, read nutrition labels closely or use your grocery store’s phone app and filter your search by the allergen.

“An easy way to plan a satisfying snack that helps keep hunger at bay is to combine foods that equal two or more food groups,” says Emily Lavertu, MS, LD, RDN, clinical registered dietitian, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. “When it comes to planning meals and snacks, start with protein and fiber like fruits, veggies, beans/legumes and whole grains to satisfy your cravings and create a balanced diet.”

Whether you’re whipping up a snack for your little one or yourself, here are some healthy munchies that steer clear of different food sensitives:

Nut free | Gluten free

  • Fruit, cheese sticks
  • Fruit or veggie and a yogurt 

Nut free | Dairy free | Gluten free

  • Dark Chocolate hummus and berries
    Hummus with a healthy grain cracker or veggies
  • Roasted chickpeas, fruit, and sun butter
  • Roasted chickpeas and edamame

Meat free | Dairy free

  • Chickpea salad (like chicken salad, but use chickpeas)
  • For an egg free alternative, try it with avocado or dairy/egg free mayo on whole wheat bread or high fiber crackers. 

Are you bored with veggies, but you know you need to up your greens game? Mix a tasty dip by adding ranch seasoning to Greek yogurt, which is a great source of probiotics and protein. If you have a lactose-free loved one, try a lactose-free yogurt or even silken tofu.

For something sweet, blend a fruit smoothie with yogurt. You can customize it to be allergy-friendly or freeze it as a popsicle for a treat later.

Remember, even the best of intentions can cause severe reactions, or possibly a trip to the Emergency Department. When in doubt, leave it out. If you aren’t sure if there is an allergen in an ingredient, don’t add it. Be transparent; keep the packaging label or take a photo of it. At gatherings, you can help by keeping crackers, cookies, and other treats in the box they came in, so those grazing can decide whether it suits their specific diet.