Many people fret about dairy alternatives first when dealing with a milk allergy, but in my opinion, the snacks are key. Hunger is a huge concern with special diets, since finding quick bites with a food restriction can be trickier than you might think. Particularly when you’re away from your home turf. That’s why I always recommend keeping an array of packaged and homemade snacks on hand, like the allergy-friendly Crispy Cereal Bars recipe below. They’re perfect for packing and provide quick energy.
In addition to the recipe, we also have some summer camp tips! Keeping food allergic children safe when out of your care can seem worrisome, but there are ways to prepare.
Summer Camp Tips to Help Keep Your Food Allergic Child Safe
Letting your child out of your care to attend summer day camp can be stressful, especially if they’re one of the millions of Americans living with celiac disease or food allergies. In an effort to make summer camp snacking safer this season, Enjoy Life Foods, one of our favorite allergy-friendly companies, shares a few tips (and a recipe!) on how to keep kids happy, full, and safe!
- Begin by alerting the camp staff and nurse of the allergy, including specific dangerous foods, ways to avoid contamination, and how to respond in case of a reaction. This list should also include symptoms of a reaction for staff to watch for. It may also help to have the camp contact other parents in your child’s group to alert them and discuss the matter with their child.
- Send hand sanitizer or wipes with your child and make sure they clean their hands before eating, and remember, no sharing food or utensils!
- Send a package of high-energy, safe snacks to be kept at camp in case your child forgets their lunch, needs a quick snack, or doesn’t want to feel left out when the other campers are having a sweet treat. Try trail mix, protein bites, cookies, and some Crispy Cereal Bars (recipe below!).
For more tools, info, and kid-friendly Top 8-Free recipes, see our Food Allergy Awareness Guide.
Special Diet Notes: Allergy-Friendly Crispy Cereal Bars
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, top food allergen-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
- 1 cup sunflower seed butter (can sub other seed or nut butters, as needed)
- ¾ to 1 cup brown rice syrup (see Sweetener Note below)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 10 ounces crispy brown rice cereal
- ½ to 1 cup add-ins (optional): trail mix, mini dairy-free chocolate chips, raisins, chopped dried fruit, seeds, or unsweetened shredded coconut
- Grease an 8x8-inch baking dish or line it with parchment paper.
- Add the seed butter, sweetener, vanilla, and salt to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat and stir until melted and smooth.
- Put the cereal and any add-ins of your choice (if using) in a large bowl. Scrape the warm seed butter mixture onto the cereal, and mix well to combine.
- Press the mixture into your prepared pan, and let cool completely before slicing.
- Store the bars in an airtight container or plastic bag in the refrigerator for freshness. They can also be frozen.