By GMB doctor / health advisor Dr Sandy Krafchik.
Peanuts(legumes) and tree nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, brazils and pistachios) can act as allergens and can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
The commonest nut allergy is a peanut allergy. Australian children have a relatively high prevalence of peanut allergy (about 3 out of 100 children). Nut-free lunchbox snacks are therefore a necessity in day cares and schools in Australia. Approximately 20 % of children grow out of their peanut allergy. Those children who have had more severe allergic reactions are much less likely to outgrow their peanut allergy. If you have peanut allergy it’s safer to avoid all nut products.
Allergic reactions to nuts can vary from mild to very severe, and are sometimes life-threatening (anaphylaxis). Symptoms often start very quickly, within an hour of coming into contact with a nut, and sometimes within minutes. When you come into contact with an allergen, mast cells release histamine. Histamine causes the small blood vessels in the tissues of your body to leak fluid which results in swelling. This results in several different symptoms.
Mild allergy can cause tingling of your lips and mouth, itchy rash (urticaria), nausea, facial swelling, stomach pain and chest tightness. More severe reactions can also cause swelling of your throat, difficulty breathing, tachycardia (rapid pulse) and low blood pressure. This severe reaction is called anaphylaxis and is a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment. A medical alert bracelet should be worn by everyone who has a known allergy. Kids with allergies must have an EpiPen at home and they should also have an EpiPen at school in case of an anaphylactic reaction. The EpiPen is used to auto inject Adrenalin in the event of an anaphylactic reaction.
5 Healthy nut free snacks for kids lunch boxes:
1. Veggie sticks and hummus, guacamole or cottage cheese
This makes a great snack for kids and is nutrient dense.
2. Roasted Fav-va Beans from The Happy Snack Company
These crunchy snacks are a great snack and are rich in protein. It has a delicious Italian flavour. It should only be given to children older than 3, as the beans are small and require chewing.
3. Healthy sweet or savoury muffins
Muffins are always a firm favourite with kids. Bake sweet muffins with your child’s favourite fruit (e.g. blueberry, banana, apple) and use honey or maple syrup as a natural sweetener. Incorporate veggies into savoury muffins and use fresh herbs & spices to flavour. Muffins also freeze well.
4. Quinoa puffs from I Heart Keenwah
Available in 4 delicious flavours: aged cheddar, sea salt truffle, sweet chili and herbs de Provence. These snacks are rich in protein and can also be added as a healthy crouton to salads and soups.
5. Rice cakes or wrap with cream cheese, tuna or egg and veggies
A quick and simple to prepare snack which is nutrient rich.
- Nut and Peanut Allergy | Anaphylaxis | Patient. 2018. Nut and Peanut Allergy | Anaphylaxis | Patient. [ONLINE] Available at: patient.info/health/food-allergy-and-intolerance/nut-allergy. [Accessed 19 February 2018].
- The Happy Snack Company. 2018. Roasted FAV-VA BEANS Tomato, Onion & Basil - The Happy Snack Company. [ONLINE] Available at: happysnackcompany.com.au/product/crunchy-roasted-fav-va-beans-tomato-onion-basil-6-by-25g-packs/. [Accessed 19 February 2018].
- I Heart Keenwah. 2018. I Heart Keenwah - Quinoa Snacks. [ONLINE] Available at: www.iheartkeenwah.com/snacks/. [Accessed 19 February 2018].