Are you feeling overwhelmed when it comes to finding healthy snacks that are also free of the top eight food allergens? Especially in a time where supplies are limited, and going to the grocery store is not as openly available, it can be challenging and frustrating to find healthy, food allergy safe snacks.

Making your own nutritious, allergy-free snacks may cut back on your worry surrounding you or your loved one’s food allergies. Here are a few quick and easy recipes — with ingredients you may already have at home — that will surely be a hit during snack time!

 

Hummus

30 oz. canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained with liquid reserved
1/3 cup chickpea liquid, or more, as needed
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

Add all the ingredients into a food processor and secure the lid. Turn the blender on high for 30 seconds (or more for a creamier texture). Add more chickpea liquid, if desired, for a softer hummus. Serve with your favorite raw vegetables, on sandwiches, wraps and so much more!

Chickpeas contain many beneficial nutrients including protein, dietary fiber, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and choline. Chickpeas also help with stabilization of blood sugar because of their low glycemic index.

 

Oatmeal Bites

1 cup gluten-free oats
1/2 cup SunButter
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp chia seeds

Combine all ingredients. Chill dough for 30 minutes. Roll dough into balls 1-inch in diameter. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week.

Oats contain fiber, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium, and they help slow digestion. Additionally, SunButter is a good source of protein that is derived from sunflower seeds. Chia seeds are nutrient rich seeds that are good sources of omega-3 fatty acid, fiber, protein, antioxidants.

 

Nice Cream

1 large banana, sliced

  1.  Freeze sliced banana overnight
  2. Pulse frozen bananas pieces in a food processor, scrape sides and keep pulsing. Keep blending the banana pieces until they becomes a smooth soft-serve texture.
  3. Transfer into container and freeze until solid or eat right out of the food processor.
  4. Add toppings of choice.

While traditional ice cream can be loaded with unhealthy ingredients, this one ingredient “nice” cream is rich in fiber, phosphourus, potassium and magnesium.

Why are these nutritional elements so important?

They help maintain so many functions within your body.

  • Protein is a building block for bones, muscles, skin and blood as well as helping you feel full for longer.
  • Fiber helps you feel full for longer and can also stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Potassium regulates fluid balance, aids in muscle contractions as well as helps with nerve signaling.
  • Phosphorus plays an important role in how the body uses carbohydrates and fats. It’s also needed for the body to make protein for growth, maintenance and repair of cells and tissues.
  • Calcium is beneficial for bone health.
  • Magnesium helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, and adjusts blood glucose levels.
  • Choline is needed to produce acetylcholine; an important neurotransmitter needed for memory, mood, muscle control and other brain and nervous system functions.

There are many snack ideas that fall into the ‘top eight allergen free’ category — so many that it can be overwhelming while you begin to search. The snacks in this blog are crowd pleasers that are good to have on hand when you need a snack in a pinch.

Begin with these few kid-friendly snack ideas that replace some of our favorite treats, ice cream and chocolate chip cookies. Once you become more comfortable with allergy-free cooking, build off of these recipes. Make different flavors of oatmeal bites, maybe by adding dried fruit. Look for recipes with familiar ingredients, and soon it will become second nature. Happy snacking!

References:

  1. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/
  2. www.medlineplus.gov
  3. www.mayoclinic.org
  4. Ncchi.nih.gov
By Hanna Marbach, Dietetic Intern, Allergy Associates of La Crosse