I don’t post on the weekends, but felt this was important! It’s my son’s first year being in school. That means I get a touch of anxiety anytime there’s a holiday that includes food. Which, in America means every holiday.
I fear that I’m annoying to his teacher, but I figure it’s better to be annoying than it is to have regret, so I emailed his teacher asking her what her plans were for Valentine’s. His teacher handled Halloween and Christmas so wonderfully, so I’m not too worried.
However, I don’t want to put the burden all on her to have to find safe treat ideas. I totally get it. I had no idea how to read labels before I had to. Plus, teachers are busy enough!
Before food allergies, I also had no idea that if something had chocolate it automatically means it has dairy (unless it’s a specialty brand, which is rare to find them at a regular grocery store.)
So, when I went to my nearest grocery store and saw the pink and red explosion I knew that Valentine’s candy was already taking over the isle. I figured I’d peruse and see if there were any top 8 free candies. When I say top 8 free, I mean that it’s free of the top 8 allergens: wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, peanut and tree nuts. These allergies make up over 90% of all food allergies, so they are generally safe for most food allergy kiddos.
I was pleasantly surprised to find ten different candies that were all free of the top 8 allergens. I was so excited I whipped out my camera phone and took pictures to send to his teacher. I find taking pictures helps people find the treats, than trying to just remember text.
I wasn’t planning on making this a post, but then I realized that it might help others. I had always sworn I wouldn’t do camera phone pictures on my blog, but I think this is important enough.
With 1 in 13 kids having a food allergy, that almost certainly means there is someone in your kid’s classroom with an allergy, even if your own kiddo doesn’t have an allergy. So, why not teach your kiddos empathy and inclusion by buying a Valentine treat that should be safe for just about anybody?
I know this would have never been on my radar if I didn’t have food allergies kids. But, if I can get the word out, and help one more kid not feel left out, then I will. Trust me, it’s no fun to take candy from your kid and tell them that it’s not safe and they can’t eat it. Whoever said “taking candy from a baby” was easy, didn’t know what they were saying!
As always, I can’t speak for every food allergy parent out there. It never hurts to approach the parent and ask them if they’re OK with what you’ve purchased. Or, to ask them for additional ideas. The more conversation, the better.
Whether you buy these treats or not (none of these are sponsored), I hope you’ll have love not just for your Valentine, but for everyone. Let’s all help keep this holiday fun and safe.
Here are the candies written out, in case they’re hard to see in the photo:
Mike and Ike’s passion mix
Lifesavers gummy messages
Fun Dip valentines
Western Family cinnamon jelly hearts
Western Family cinnamon lips
*Always be sure to re-check labels, as manufacturing and ingredients can change at any time!*