Remember in the Cute/Fun Food article when I mentioned how busy we all are? I’m sure many of you reading are feeling busy, and possibly overwhelmed at the moment.
Let’s be honest: sometimes we have the time to make food LOOK fantastic. Other times, we need to be able to grab a safe snack for our kids (or adults) who have food restrictions.
Full Disclosure: Today’s article is written from a place of love. Companies have not influenced this article, paid to be included, etc. This is just me sharing what my kids love.
My Stance on Free-From Foods
I’m a firm believer that to truly be free-from, you must be made on equipment that’s free-from what you claim to be free from. Anything less is allergy aware as far as I’m concerned. Don’t get me wrong, there are so many allergy aware companies that I love and appreciate. For those who CAN have possible trace amounts of allergens, these companies are fantastic. Bonus points for companies who disclose shared equipment on the label and/or their website.
For everyone else however, you have to make so many phone calls to make sure that the food you purchase is truly safe for you. Honestly, that’s one of THE best perks of joining RAISE: the Safe Product Guides/Lists. If you’ve ever heard me talk about RAISE, I like to say it’s the tool you wish you had the day you were diagnosed. It’s also the tool that you want to have right now because it can save you so much time.
Snacks With More Than One Purpose
The snacks I’m sharing today can be eaten straightaway, but they also have additional uses. For those who travel regularly and can’t take fresh food on the journey, these gluten free and allergy friendly snacks travel very well.
Additionally these are snacks you can include in an emergency bag, or leave at school so teachers have a treat to give your child when everyone else is receiving one.
Related Article: GF & Allergy Aware Candies, Top 9 Free Options
These products are not only top 8 allergy free (and more), but they’re also made on top 8 allergy free equipment. If you’re needing a more comprehensive list, feel free to Join RAISE, or purchase the Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Guide on our bookshop website.
Up First: Cookies
Related Product Review: Partake Foods Cookies
Next: Sprouted Snacks
Most sprouted snacks are made in a shared facility with tree nuts. For some, this isn’t a problem, and you’ll have lots of brands to choose from. For others, you’ll find Crunchsters to be an amazing choice. They have 3 flavours of sprouted mung beans to choose from. If you’re into walking on the wild side, you can also bake Crunchsters into other items (or add it to melted chocolate before setting) for a really fun pop of crunch.
Awesome For Kids: Fruit Snacks
Bear Nibbles not only produces tasty fruit rolls, but each package comes with a little trading card. Well, I don’t know if they’re really meant for trading, but they’re cute collectable cards. My youngest teenager still likes getting the different cards each time I purchase these. What I personally enjoy about Bear Nibbles is that there’s no added sugar etc. If you know Kid Three, then you know this is critical for us.
Related Recipe: Crispy Oat Apple Pie
Great For Kids & Adults: Snack Bars
I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about Zego foods before, but I just love them to bits. Zego Foods produces some of the cleanest food available on the market these days (and has the tests to back it up). In addition to their snack bars (get the Raspberry Just Fruit Bar, you’ll thank me later), they also have a Purity Protocol Oats product and Mix-Ins which are kind of like granola. They’re also one of the few truly corn free companies on the market right now producing packaged foods (as compared to raw ingredients).
Related Product Review: Zego Foods
Top 8 Free Crispy Rice Cereal Treat
Did you ever think you’d be able to say that out loud? Well try this: in addition to being top 8 allergy free, Made Good Foods incorporates and fruit a veg blend into their products to boost the nutrition. These bars come in a few flavours. My kids like the vanilla and chocolate flavours.
I can also tell you, they are BIG fans of the Blake’s top 9 free rice cereal treats.
Related Recipe: Rice Cereal Snack Bar
Top 8 Allergy Free Chips
SO many chips on the market are top 8 allergy free based on the face value of the label. However, if you call those companies, you’ll find that the chips are usually made on shared equipment with dairy. This has been a HUGE struggle for us over the years, to the point where we’ve tried to make chips at home on many occasions.
Related Article: Dairy Free Swaps
When we found Wilde Brand Chicken Chips last year, I was surprised. Chicken in chips? Who does that?? Then Kid Two tried them and loved them. We were told in person there were no allergens present, but I was sure to follow up with a phone call to confirm this information. Since confirmation, he’s had all of their flavours. He has proclaimed that the Chicken & Waffles flavour is the absolute best. The pink salt flavour is his second favorite, and he can’t handle the spice in the Buffalo flavour.
UPDATE: Since this was originally published, there has been a reformulation of their product and some flavours now contain egg.
The Take Away of This Information
I want to take a moment to remind you all that not everyone will need food produced on free-from equipment. I have this strong sentiment however that if we can feed the most severely allergic, we can feed everyone. This is such a passion (and soapbox) topic for me.
If you’re needing a more comprehensive list, be sure to check out all of the lists and guides on RAISE. We’ve made hundreds of calls to compile the data.
What To Look For In Safe Food
The co-packing industry is the bane of the existence for people who need free-from foods. When you’re calling a company, ask if they use a co-packer, or an exclusive facility. Note: some co-packers are dedicated to being free from some allergens. No matter which they’re using, ask about what allergens are present on the equipment their food is made on, as well as in the facility. There’s a How To Video that explains the details about these questions more, and why it’s so important to ask them all and know the lingo.
Once you understand HOW food is made in these commercial facilities, it will change the way you view labels.