Healthy Solutions for a Peanut-Free School
As increasing number of children are being diagnosed with peanut allergies and it is becoming more and more common for schools to ban them entirely. As the classic PB&J sandwich is often accepted by even the pickiest eaters, such a ban can quickly spur frustration for those packing school lunches or snacks for their children. Thankfully, many peanut alternatives do exist, and I am here to shed some light on a few of the most popular options.
This hearty spread is not only peanut free, it's also gluten free and tree-nut free to boot! It is made without hydrogenated oils, making it a heart-healthy addition to your diet fulfilling 27% of your daily vitamin E requirements and a surprising 1/3 less saturated fat than the average peanut butter. Sun Butter does have a unique flavor profile and a slightly mealy texture in my opinion, but I am a huge fan and love the opportunity to mix things up!
If you are going to try cashew butter, I hope you will opt for one from this organic and fair trade certified company. Once Again Nut Butter is helping to make a difference in health and environment globally by preparing products without the use of pesticides and paying their farmers and employers fairly - something not every company can claim, though surely something many more should strive for!
This line offers plenty of options, including sodium-free peanut butter, almond butter, and sunflower butter. The cashew butter is made with the addition of safflower oil to smooth out the texture, and, while they do take strong measures to ensure a peanut free product, if you are dealing with a severe allergy, this may not be the best choice for you as they still warn of potential cross-contamination. Just look for the raccoon on the jar to spot this inspiring brand, and if you still need convincing, take a peek at the story behind the little critter.
While this option does contain added palm oil and sugar, it is absolutely delicious, and, if you enjoy the chocolate hazelnut spread Nutella, you will surely love this. Again, the variety of nut butters offered by this company are manufactured on equipment shared with peanuts and tree nuts, though the company strives to prevent cross-contamination between productions of each different product.
This line of almond butters offers a refreshing and confident claim, a peanut-free guarantee! Barney Butters do not separate from the oil, preventing you from having to stir the natural product back together, a task many people don't enjoy (including my husband!). Furthermore, this almond butter packs more fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin E, and magnesium than your typical peanut butter. Sounds good enough to me!
I hope my suggestions will help the parents out there overcome the challenges posed by peanut allergies and peanut-free schools, and I would love to hear about other solutions you have come across! Enjoy mixing things up in that PB&J, or try something new with this tasty recipe courtesy of Barney Butter:
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 cup unsweetened whole-grain puffed cereal
1/3 cup dried currants (optional)
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots (optional)
1/3 cup chopped golden raisins (optional)
¼ cup Smooth Barney Butter
¼ cup turbinado sugar
¼ cup honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.
Combine the oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the oats are lightly toasted and the nuts are fragrant, shaking the pan halfway through (about 10 minutes). Transfer to a large bowl. Add cereal, currants, apricots and raisins; toss to combine.
Combine Barney Butter, sugar, honey, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles lightly (2 to 5 minutes).
Immediately pour the almond butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon or spatula until no dry spots remain. Transfer to the prepared pan. Lightly coat your hands with cooking spray and press the mixture down firmly to make an even layer (wait until the mixture cools slightly if necessary). Refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes) and cut into bars.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month; thaw at room temperature.