The 8 Best Allergy-Friendly Healthy Snacks of 2021, According to a Dietitian

Allergen-free nutrition-packed snacks for school

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: SunButter Sunflower Butter Pouches at Amazon

"They’re versatile, nutritious, and free from allergens."

Best Budget: GoGo Squeez Applesauce Pouches at Amazon

"These are nut free, dairy free, vegan, kosher, organic, and non-GMO. "

Best Yogurt: Siggi’s Strawberry Banana Kids Pouch at instacart.com

"This yogurt is made from low fat milk, milk protein concentrate, fruit, cane sugar, natural flavors, fruit pectin, and probiotics."

Best Popcorn: Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP at Amazon

"Along with being allergen-free, this is a tasty fiber-filled snack."

Best Bar: 88 Acres Seed Bars at Amazon

"All bars are made with seeds instead of nuts to stay allergy-friendly."

Best Bar, Runner-Up: Enjoy Life Carrot Cake Bars at Amazon

"Along with avoiding the top eight allergens, Enjoy Life bars are also free from casein, sesame, sulfites, lupin, and mustard. "

Best Sweet Treat: Made Good Granola Minis at Amazon

"This brand adds one serving of vegetables to each product and produces in a nut-free facility, free from most top allergens."

Best Chips: Bare Apple Chips at Amazon

"They thinly slice apples and then bake them for a perfect snack that’s gluten-free, fat free, non-GMO, and has no added sugar."

When your kid has food allergies, packing lunches comes with a whole other set of stressors. Not only do you work to include nutritious snacks, but you also have to beware of allergens in foods that could have life-threatening consequences for your child (or their friends). According to studies, 16 to 18 percent of kids with food allergies have had a reaction from accidentally consuming food allergens at school.

For this reason, it’s crucial to talk to everyone at the school about your child’s food allergy, which you can do with the help of the “Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs,” which the Centers for Disease Control developed in 2013 because there were no national guidelines.

But when it comes to allergy-free snacks, we’ve got you covered. The top eight allergens in the United States are milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts. Fatal or near-fatal reactions are most often caused by peanuts or tree nuts, so for this reason, most schools are nut-free.

The good news is that healthful foods like fruits and vegetables don’t have the top eight allergens, so go ahead and load up those lunches with apples and carrot sticks (we know you already do!). But kids also want to feel included by being able to nosh on packaged snacks similar to their friends. Plus, everyone enjoys fun snacks that provide flavor, crunch, and variety in a way that celery cannot.

There are plenty of packaged foods you can send with your child that are a great complement to fruits and veggies and are free from the most common allergens.

Here, the most nutritious, allergy-free snacks that kids can take to school:

Best Overall: SunButter Sunflower Butter Pouches

SunButter Sunflower Butter Organic Pouches

Courtesy of Amazon

If you’ve got a nut allergy in the house, then you’re probably familiar with SunButter, which might be your go-to peanut butter replacement. And for a good reason—SunButter products don’t contain any of the top eight allergens.

The tasty packets are chock full of healthy fats, plant-based protein, and dietary fiber, all from the small but mighty sunflower seed. Sunflower seeds are also high in vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that reduces inflammation.

These pouches are our top-pick because they’re versatile, nutritious, and free from allergens. They’re perfect for making an SB&J—SunButter and jelly sandwich—so your child never has to feel left out at lunchtime. You can also pair it with fruit like an apple to add protein at snack time. Just be sure to knead and squeeze the pack. Oil separation naturally occurs, and this helps mix it up!

Best Budget: GoGo Squeez Applesauce Pouches

GoGo squeeZ Organic Applesauce

Courtesy of Amazon

Of course, an apple would be the most nutritious and budget-friendly option, but we understand that not everyone has fresh fruit on hand 24/7. So go ahead and stock up on GoGo Squeez Applesauce Pouches as a back-up.

You can feel good about giving these pouches to your kids, not only because they’re allergy-friendly but because they’re also nutritious. The first ingredient is organic apples, followed by organic apple puree concentrate and organic lemon juice concentrate. Since apples are the first ingredient, each pouch contains three grams of fiber: more than most seemingly healthy kid foods on the market.

While these do have 13 grams of sugar per pouch, it’s all naturally occurring from the apples with no added sugar. GoGo Squeez pouches are nut-free, dairy-free, vegan, kosher, organic, and non-GMO. Basically, unless you’re allergic to apples or lemons, there’s no need to worry about these sweet snacks.

Best Yogurt: Siggi’s Strawberry Banana Kids Pouch

Siggi's strawberry banana pouch

courtesy of instacart

This is a no-go if your kid can’t have dairy, but otherwise, it’s the best allergy-friendly and nutritious yogurt for kids. That’s because it has 50 percent less sugar and 30 percent fewer ingredients than other popular kids’ yogurts.

With 2 percent milkfat and real fruit like raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries, kids love slurping these pouches because they’re creamy and delicious. Pro tip: you can also freeze them for a sweet treat; however, we realize this may not work well for school lunch.

The ingredients in Siggi’s Kids Pouches are low-fat milk, milk protein concentrate, fruit, cane sugar, natural flavors, fruit pectin, and live active cultures—also known as probiotics. Probiotics keep your kiddo’s gut healthy.

One pouch has 60 calories, six grams of sugar, and five grams of protein. Yogurt lacks fiber, but you can mix in chia seeds or flaxseed to add some.

Best Popcorn: Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP

Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP Sea Salt Popcorn

Courtesy of Amazon

You don’t have to worry about any of the top allergens when you buy BOOMCHICKAPOP.  The sea salt flavor has three simple ingredients: popcorn, sunflower oil, and sea salt. Along with being allergen-free, your kid will get a fiber-filled snack that’s sure to keep him or her full and taste good too. BOOMCHICKAPOP provides whole grains but is gluten-free and non-GMO.

One cup has 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, 4.5 grams of fat, and 35 calories. Along with sea salt, you can also get flavors like white cheddar and kettle corn. Buy a big bag and portion out yourself, or get the single-serve packs, which are easy to stash in a lunchbox, backpack, or car.

Best Bar: 88 Acres Seed Bars

 88 Acres Granola Bars

Courtesy of Amazon

Safety and transparency are two of 88 Acres’ top priorities when it comes to making their delicious seed bars, butters, and ‘nolas. In fact, they list everything that is and is not in their products on their website. They also prioritize sourcing local ingredients and keeping supply chains simple to minimize the potential of cross-contamination.

As if that’s not enough to make you want to stock your pantry with these bars, they also taste delicious with flavors like Cinnamon and Oats, Spiced Ginger Apple, and Triple Berry Blend.

All bars are made with seeds instead of nuts to stay allergy-friendly and are non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and kosher, with whole food ingredients that pack essential nutrients for growing kids.

Each bar has about 190 calories, nine grams of heart-healthy fats from seeds, three grams of fiber, seven grams of added sugar, and five grams of protein. Go ahead and hit “subscribe to save” because you’ll always want to have these handy.

Best Bar, Runner-Up: Enjoy Life Carrot Cake Bars

Enjoy Life Carrot Cake Baked Chewy Bars

courtesy of walmart

Enjoy Life is another bar brand you can trust when it comes to food allergies. They have the largest allergy-friendly bakery in North America, and all of their products are gluten-free. Along with avoiding the top eight allergens, Enjoy Life bars are also free from casein, sesame, sulfites, lupin, and mustard.

And Enjoy Life cares about taste and nutrition too. In place of eggs, they mix in applesauce, baking powder, and flaxseed. Their bars have high-fiber, gluten-free grains, including quinoa and buckwheat. 

Your kids will love these chewy carrot cake bars, which are sweetened with raisins. And you’ll love that they actually have carrots, plus no added sugar. One bar has 160 calories, 9 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

Best Sweet Treat: Made Good Granola Minis

Made Good is another delicious brand you can trust to keep your family safe. All of their products are made in a nut-free facility and are free from most top allergens. They also add one serving of vegetables to each product but don’t worry, your child won’t be able to taste them.

These granola minis are packed with gluten-free oats, raspberries, cranberries, sunflower oil, and vegetable extracts to name a few of the allergy-friendly ingredients. They come in single-serve packs that are easy to pack in a lunch sack or backpack.

One pouch has 90 calories, 3 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein. Along with being nut-free, organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan, Made Good also prioritizes supporting organic farmers and minimizing waste. Good for your kiddos and good for the environment.

Best Chips: Bare Apple Chips

bare Baked Crunchy Apple Fruit Snack

Courtesy of Amazon

These probably weren’t the chips you were envisioning when we said “best chips,” but how could we resist including a chip containing only one ingredient that’s actually a fruit? You can’t get much better than that when it comes to allergy-friendly and nutritious.

Bare believes less is more. They thinly slice apples and then bake them for a sweet and crunchy snack that’s gluten-free, fat-free, non-GMO, and has no added sugar.

Along with apple chips, they have other varieties, including banana, beet, pineapple, and carrot chips.

One single-serve bag of apple chips has 60 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of sugar. Head to Amazon to try out flavors like Fuji & Reds, Cinnamon Apple, or an Apple Variety pack.

Final Verdict

For the most bang for your bucky—no allergens, nutrient-packed, and tasty—88 Acres Seed Bars are the best option. Chock-full of fiber, protein, and healthy fat, they also travel easily and can be stored in the classroom for a couple months so you know your child always has a safe snack on hand at school.

What to Look for in Healthy Allergy-Free Snacks for School

Ingredients

Look for products free of the top eight allergens: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts, as well as free of any other ingredients your child is allergic to.

Depending on your child’s allergy and the school’s guidelines, products processed in a facility with nuts might be a no-go as well. Snacks with dairy and gluten, for example, might be okay, while nuts might not. Check with your child’s classroom and school for their specific policies. The more whole food ingredients in the product, the better. For example, oats, raisins, or apples are excellent ingredient choices to keep your child fueled and ready to learn.

Nutrients

Some snacks are allergy-friendly but they lack nutrients. When you remove nuts and wheat from products, for example, you lose healthy fats and fiber. Therefore, check for products that are high in fiber, protein, and healthy fat but low in added sugar.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids’ snacks are less than 200 calories, less than 200 milligrams of sodium per serving, and are low in fat and sugar.

FAQs

How do I know if my child’s snack is safe for school?

It depends on the school’s policies and your child’s particular food allergies. Check with the school to see if they ban any allergens like peanuts and tree nuts. Then, read nutrition labels carefully to identify if the product has anything your child is allergic to. Don’t trust front-of-pack marketing claims like, “gluten-free.” Flip the package over and thoroughly read the ingredients list.

Also, look for information about the facility where it was produced. For example, “This product was produced in a facility that has tree nuts.” Depending on the severity of your child’s allergy, this may or may not be an issue. Talk to your child’s doctor to be sure. You can also reach out to food companies and ask them about how their products are produced. They are mandated to disclose what’s in the product.

What are some healthy homemade snacks I can have my child bring?

“Real food first” is a good mantra. In other words, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Think about pairing high-fiber foods with healthy protein and fat, so your child stays full and energized throughout the day. For example, an apple with SunButter, carrots and cucumbers with hummus, plain Greek yogurt with berries, dried fruit or whole wheat crackers and cheese. Check out our Snack Ideas for Kids for more options.

What Experts Say

There are lots of allergy-friendly snacks that still provide nutrition! Aim for snacks made from whole foods like beans or chickpeas, seeds, or dried fruits or veggies and limit those made with more than 4 grams of added sugar per serving. To make sure it's safe for school, be sure to read the ingredient list as marketing claims on the front of the package can sometimes be misleading.Sarah Anzlovar, MS, RD

Why Trust Verywell Family?

As a Registered Dietitian and toddler mom, you can trust Lainey Younkin, MS, RD to recommend healthy snacks to you that are also safe for your kids with food allergies. All products have been thoroughly vetted to make sure they are free from the top allergens and are not only safe but also nutritious.

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Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2013.

  2. NIAID-Sponsored Expert Panel, Boyce JA, Assa'ad A, et al. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergy in the United States: report of the NIAID-sponsored expert panelJ Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010;126(6 Suppl):S1-S58. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2010.10.007

  3. Korioth T. AAP NewsThe Official Newsmagazine of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Published September 2014.