Peanut Butter Substitutes for Children with Peanut Allergies
Peanut butter is probably the first thing you would think of when looking for something to spread on a slice of bread or a toast, while peanut butter and jelly (often referred to as PB&J) sandwich is a classic packaged lunch for children at school. However, peanut is also one of the most common food allergy triggers. Therefore, if your child or any child at your school is suffering from a peanut allergy, peanut butter is an absolute no-no.
If you are looking for healthy alternatives to put in your kid’s lunchbox, there are many various options that your child might like even better than peanut butter. Below, we suggest some peanut-allergy-friendly foods that you can use as a sandwich spread.
Hummus is a spread (and dip) originally coming from the Middle East, that is nowadays gaining more and more popularity all over the world, due to its nutritive properties. This spread is high in protein, vitamin B, manganese and other nutrients, which makes it a healthy choice for many people, including vegans and vegetarians. Hummus is made from cooked and pureed chickpeas, and it also contains olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, garlic and salt. It can be found many major grocery stores and supermarkets, or you can also make your own homemade hummus.
Guacamole is an avocado-based dip and spread that was first developed by the Aztecs and plays one of the major roles in modern Mexican cuisine. Guacamole (often called “guac”) is a great source of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. You can use it as a single-ingredient sandwich topping or combine it with chicken or other foods. In addition, the bright green color of avocado may attract your curious child.
Bean dips that can also be used as sandwich spreads are very common in Mexican cuisine. Like hummus, these are a great source of protein and other healthy nutrients. Bean dips are typically served together with Asadero cheese and some salsa.
No secret that many parents have a hard time trying to make their kids eat vegetables. However, you can buy or prepare vegetable purees (e.g. Red Pepper Puree) that are colorful and tasty and can be used as sandwich spreads. You may also want to put some moisture barrier on a bread, such as oil, butter or cream cheese, which will help to prevent the sandwich from getting soggy.
While not safe for those with a milk allergy, cream cheese is used by many people as a sandwich spread. Due to its thick texture, you can easily spread it on a slice of bread without getting it soggy. Cream cheese is available in different flavors, including fruit or chopped vegetable.
Although cranberry sauce is one of the most popular food products at Thanksgiving, it is often ignored by families during the rest of the year. However, it is also a good idea to add whole berry cranberry sauce to turkey or chicken sandwiches you prepare for you child throughout the school year.
You can experiment and add your kid’s favorite salad dressing on a sandwich. For instance, dressings like Ranch, Thousand Island or Blue Cheese can make great sandwich spreads. However, since salad dressings may contain hidden food allergens, you should always check the product label before giving it to your child.
Soy Nut or Sunflower Seed Butters
Soy butter and sunflower seed butter were developed as peanut-free (and tree nut-free) alternatives to peanut butter for children and adults with peanut allergies. These butters are usually found in a section of health or specialty foods in major grocery stores, at health food stores, as well as at specialty supermarkets like Whole Foods. However, if your child is allergic to soy, soy butter is not an option.
Tree Nut Butters
Various tree nut butters, such as almond butter, hazelnut butter or cashew butter, can also replace peanut butter. Besides, these would probably be the closest experience to peanut butter you can imagine. However, people who are allergic to peanuts often cross-react to tree nuts, too. Therefore, don’t give a tree nut butter to your peanut-allergic child before ensuring that he is not allergic to tree nuts.