Did you know that food allergies are one of the leading causes of emergency room visits for children? Food allergies are serious and can be life-threatening (1). In response to the rise in food allergies over the past decade, peanut-free and nut-free schools, classrooms, and zones are common.
If you’re a dancer who typically relies on nuts as part of a plant-based diet, you may find it difficult to locate convenient meals and snacks that adequately provide you with protein and healthy fats. This is especially because peanuts and tree nuts are easy and convenient sources of healthy fats and protein. With this said, it’s important that we support each other and respect the rules of a nut-free zone.
With tens of thousands of children and young adults coping with peanut- and tree-nut allergies, it is possible to adequately fuel your body while omitting these common allergens. It’s time to look at lunches and snacks from a new perspective. First, remember to continue to balance your macronutrients (protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats) throughout all meals and snacks. Next, incorporate nut-free options like hard-boiled eggs, hummus, and other bean-based dishes such as chips, dips, and pasta. Lucky for us, there are many options filling supermarket shelves that cater to these nut-free zones.
Some of my favorite snacks to pack and ingredients to fill my pantry include:
- Edamame, either in the pods or shelled drizzed with EVOO and a dash of sea salt
- Smoothies made with coconut milk, protein powder, frozen fruit, ground flax seeds, and greens.
- Chia seed pudding: Blended with cinnamon, vanilla, pumpkin seed butter and water.
- KIND Pressed+Chia bars
- Sunflower seed butter + banana sandwiches
- Veggies & hummus, or veggies & sunflower seed butter
- Bean chips (try Beanitos or Enlightened Broad Beans)
- Bean-based pasta (my favorite brand is Tolerant), which can be made with a magnitude of various sauces!
- Homemade Nut-Free Energy Bites: mix a ½ cup of rolled oats, ¼ cup sunflower seed butter, 2 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds, 2 tablespoons chia, 1 tablespoon ground flax, 2 tablespoons mini dark chocolate chips, and a dash of sea salt. Roll into balls (1-inch circumference) and roll through a flour mixture of: 2 tablespoons ground flaked cereal (I use Kashi Sprouted Flakes) and 2 tablespoons ground oats.
1. Gupta RD, Warren CM, Smith BM, Blumenstock JA, Jiang J, Davis MM, Nadeau KC. The Public Health Impact of Parent-Reported Childhood Food Allergies in the United States. Pediatrics (2018).