Raising Vegan Kids With a Peanut or Tree-Nut Allergy
Whether your kiddo has a nut allergy or the school asks that everyone bring only nut-free options to class, you know that these allergies are serious. But they don’t have to prevent you from preparing seriously delicious vegan foods that everyone will love.
Important note: If you, your child, or anyone else you know has a nut allergy, always check the ingredients and allergen information on products before consuming them or giving them to others. Even if a product was previously found to be nut-free, companies can change their ingredients or manufacturing processes at any time (or they can vary based on region), so no matter what you read online, always check for allergen safety before consuming anything—and check with a doctor before eating new foods. Allergies are serious and potentially life-threatening.
Tree Nuts vs. Peanuts
Tree nuts include almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, and other nuts. While peanuts are actually legumes, not nuts, for the purpose of this piece, we’re going to add them to the category “nut.” Some people are allergic to both peanuts and tree nuts—here are some options that don’t contain either of them:
Many vegan whole foods are naturally nut-free. These include fruits and veggies; grains, such as rice, pasta, quinoa, and oats; protein-packed legumes, like beans and lentils; and delicious staples like tofu, tempeh, and seitan, which are often packaged in nut allergy–friendly facilities.
Seeds are full of nutrients like protein and healthy fats and are a perfect replacement for nuts. You can put them in oatmeal, toss them into a smoothie, or add them to vegan yogurt. Some of our favorites are sunflower, sesame, chia, pumpkin, and flax.
Many vegan meats are nut-free, including those made by Beyond Meat. The company uses pea and soy proteins to create some of the most delicious options out there. You can use them in a variety of meals, including tacos, fajitas, spaghetti, and burgers. Gardein, Tofurky, and Boca also offer products that are free of peanuts and tree nuts.
Being nut-free doesn’t mean that you have to cook every meal from scratch. These are some easy-to-heat, nut-free options:
Gardein Sliders and Pocket Meals
These sliders, which include Chick’n, Beefless, and Black Bean varieties, and pocket meals are too good not to heat up once in a while.
Daiya Pizzas and Cheezy Mac
Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders
These are great when paired with your child’s favorite dipping sauce. Add a side of fresh fruit and veggies to make the meal even better.
Even a nut-free breakfast can be easy. These are great when your family is rushing out the door and needs something quick (and sweet) to eat.
There are lots of nut-free snacks out there. Many brands of popcorn, pretzels, chips, fruit strips, and rice cakes are vegan and safe for those with nut allergies. Your kids will think you’re the best parent ever if you keep a variety of Enjoy Life’s snacks in your pantry, including its nut-free trail mixes, Lentil Chips, and Grain & Seed Bars.
Avoid spreads made with almonds, peanuts, and cashews—stick to these nut-free options instead:
When you have a nut allergy, even the thought of eating a piece of chocolate or a baked good can be cause for concern. But you don’t have to worry, because there are so many nut-free options that you can give to your kids or let them take to class. Free2b makes super-tasty nut-free sunflower chocolate cups, while Enjoy Life offers mouthwatering soft vegan and nut-free cookies and chocolates.
This list barely scratches the surface. There are so many delicious vegan foods that are free of tree nuts and peanuts, so no one—no matter what the allergy—has to support cruel industries that abuse and kill animals.