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Preparing Kids with Food Allergies for Summer Camp

The hustle and bustle of the school year has finally come to a halt and the sun is rising earlier, reminding us all that summer is near. With summer on the horizon, there’s lots to think about, especially preparing your kids with food allergies for camp. In between getting batteries for the flashlight and writing your child’s name on every article of clothing it can be a challenge to think about the many ways to help the camp staff keep your little one safe and healthy.

When it comes to the safety and health of your child, over-communication can be a great thing! Some of the topics we recommend covering are:

• Have a chat with the camp director. Discuss the camp’s food allergy policy as well as how the camp staffers and volunteers monitor and communicate information about food allergies.

• If the camp has a nurse or healthcare person on staff, ask about their credentials as well as who handles their duties when they are off.

• Review the camp’s emergency protocol/procedures for handling different situations and emergencies. If the camp has off site excursions be sure that the traveling counselors are aware and have a plan for the safe transport of your child’s medication, particularly since some medications are temperature sensitive.

• If your child has a medical kit be sure to include written instructions for how to administer them, as well as include their full name and picture on the outside (for quick identification). A list of allergies and the specific symptoms your child typically displays can also be extremely helpful.

• Check expiration dates of all medications in advance of drop-off day.

If you are aware that there will be meals or snacks that your child needs to steer clear of, let the camp and your child know. Perhaps, send your child with something special so they don’t feel left out. Our yummy allergy-friendly snacks are the perfect treat if your child can’t have what the camp provides.

Discussions and reminders with your child about safe eating as well as how and when to tell an adult about a possible allergic reaction is extremely important. After all, your child is the last line of defense.

We know these conversations can be challenging, but the more you have them, the more comfortable you and your child will be when camp or another fun event rolls around. Do you have any other tips to add? Let us know in the comments below!

Continue reading our related post on preparing your child with food allergies for a slumber party or browse our selection of award-winning treats now!

Fruit Tart with Chocolate Drizzle

Dark Chocolate Fruit Tarts

Ingredients
2 C. Gluten Free Graham Crackers, finely ground
½ C. Soy Free Vegan Butter, melted
3 free2b Dark Chocolate Cherry Bars, divided
Sliced Fruit: Bananas, Berries, Peaches
Mint for garnish

Directions
In a mixing bowl, combine the finely ground graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter. Press firmly into four mini tart pans. Refrigerate.
Melt Chocolate Cherry Bars over a double boiler. Pour 2/3 into the formed crusts.
Top the tarts with sliced fruit as desired and drizzle with remaining chocolate. Serve chilled.

Chocolate Crunch Nice Cream

Chocolate Crunch Nice Cream

Ingredients
3 bananas
1/8 cup of rice milk
3 tablespoons of cocoa
1 tablespoon of SunButter
1 free2b chocolate crunch bar, chopped up

Directions
In a blender, bananas, rice milk, cocoa and Sunbutter until smooth
Use a spatula to pour all the mixture into a bread pan
Fold in chopped free2b rice chocolate crunch bar
Freeze for at least two hours. Right before eating, remove from freezer and scoop into bowls! Enjoy!

Serves 4

5 Unique Mother’s Day Ideas to Celebrate Mom

With Mother’s day just around the corner our minds have been bubbling and brimming with fun and unique Mother’s day ideas. We recognize that Moms are like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. With that in mind we wanted to be sure to come up with an array of Mother’s Day ideas so you can celebrate Mom the perfect way this year!

1.) Thank her: Create a memory jar and get ready to write your heart out. You can use stationary or ordinary paper cut into small slips or fun shapes. This is an awesome way to capture some memorable moments that mean the world to you. It’s also a great way to thank & honor Mom for all the wonderful things she does. Kids may enjoy drawing pictures or brainstorming about fun things they look forward to doing with Mom when school gets out.

2.) Go on a scenic adventure together: Soaking up Vitamin D isn’t the only reason to venture into the great outdoors this Mother’s day. Nature is well known to help reduce stress, make us happy, and increase brain function. Investigate what’s in bloom at your local botanic gardens or what birds are flying through during their spring migration (be sure to pack those binoculars!)

3.) Create a photo collage: Ask your family members and family friends to share their favorite pics with Mom. Kids will have fun helping you choose and arrange photos. Who knows, they may even want to create a drawing to add to the mix. If Mom is tech savvy email her the collage or post to her Social Media. Other fun options would be to have the collage printed on something she uses frequently (like a reusable bag or travel mug).

4.) Make Mom something sweet: Whip up our Sun Cup™ Volcano Pancakes for an unforgettable breakfast in bed, or present her with a Chocolate Cup and fruit bouquet (all you need is a cookie cutter and skewers). Check out our blog for an array of delicious ideas to brighten Mom’s day.

5.) Volunteer together: Spend an afternoon supporting a local group or organization. Volunteering is great for so many reasons. Studies have shown that it is linked not only to better physical health but also mental, and emotional health. Take a look at your local volunteer boards and find an event that Mom would be excited to support.

No matter what path you choose this Mother’s Day your Mom is sure to be grateful and appreciative. Do you have any other tips or ideas to make this Mother’s day fun and memorable? Let us know in the comments below!

Mexican Mocha Mousse

Ingredients:

• 1 (2 oz.) free2B Chocolate & Crispy Rice Crunch bar, grated
• 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
• 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• ¼ cup margarine (look for a vegan, dairy-free, or soy-free version)
• 2/3 cup chickpea flour
• ½ cup tapioca starch
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1 ½ cup rice milk
• 2/3 cup organic cane sugar
• 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
free2b Blueberry Crunch Snack Breaks, for garnish

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, combine the grated Chocolate Crunch Bar, cocoa powder, espresso powder and cinnamon. Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt the margarine over medium heat.
3. Sift together the chickpea flour and tapioca starch. Whisking constantly, gradually add the flour mixture to the saucepan.
Cook for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the sugar to the pan and whisk to combine.
5. Whisking constantly, gradually add the rice milk and vanilla extract. Cook over medium heat until thickened and just bubbly.
6. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Immediately whisk the chocolate mixture into the saucepan until melted and smooth.
7. Pour the mousse into small bowls or glasses and allow them to cool. Chill for 2 hours before serving. Garnish with Blueberry Crunch Snack Breaks.

Fun & Safe Easter Craft For Kids: Make an Easter Garland!

With Easter comes excitement and lots of traditions to people the world over. In Greece, for example, “pot throwing” takes place on the island of Corfu to welcome spring. In France, nearly 12,000 eggs are cracked and cooked to create one giant omelet. In Poland, the master of the house isn’t allowed to partake in making the traditional Easter bread as it’s believed that his mustache will turn gray and the dough will fail to rise. Here in the U.S. Easter egg rolls and hunts have been taking place on the White House lawn for well over 100 years.

This Easter season we’re excited to offer our spring variety pack with you and your loved ones in mind. Navigating the store aisles for dairy, gluten, and peanut free Easter candy can be time-consuming and frustrating. It’s our mission to make sure that everyone is able to enjoy a safe and happy Easter this year and every year! Our variety pack includes two bags of our new snacking chocolates, as well as four of our single cups.

Like many of the holidays that include tradition around food, Easter can be challenging to come up with ways to make sure our kiddos feel included and loved when they aren’t able to participate because of an allergy. So, with both Easter and Earth Day drawing near we thought why not share an allergen friendly craft that upcycles something you likely have around the house. Drum roll, please… paint swatches! We will use these to make our very own Easter garland. Additionally, we created a fun printable Easter craft coloring page to keep your kiddo busy while you get all that Easter prep done!

With traditions and values going hand in hand, why not encourage creativity while bringing awareness to earth friendliness? In a culture of “use and replace,” finding new ways to utilize that which would otherwise be discarded can be a fun and challenging thing to explore as a family. It also helps reframe ideas and expectations. For example, Easter craft ideas such as decorating eggs are synonymous with the holiday, though not safe for those with egg allergies.

To get you and your kids started, we recommend grabbing the following items for your Easter garland:

• Leftover paint swatches (if you don’t have these at home, head to your local hardware store and ask if they have any paint
swatches they are recycling!)
• Kid friendly scissors
• A hole punch
• Twine for stringing up your Easter cutouts

Instructions:

1. Trace different Easter shapes that your kiddo is excited about on the pack of the paint swatches (we did bunny heads and
carrots).
2. Let your kiddo cut out the shapes.
3. Put a hole punch in the top of the shape and string the twine through the cutouts, securing them a little knot on the back.
4. Hang in a doorway or on the wall to bring extra Easter joy to your house!

We’d love to see you and your kiddos creations, so please feel free to tag us on your social media posts!

Chocolate Rice Cake Snacks

Ingredients
2 cinnamon flavored rice cakes
Sun Butter
2 free2b chocolate cups, melted
Raspberries or your favorite fruit for topping

Directions
1. Spread Sun Butter on each rice cake
2. Melt the chocolate cups in a microwave safe dish for 1 minute, remove from microwave and mix until smooth.
3. Drizzle the chocolate over the cakes and add raspberries or your favorite fruit for a delicious and easy snack!

Allergen-Free & Vegan Party Snack Recipe for March Madness!

You’ve sent in your rsvp, your bracket is locked in, but you’ve yet to figure out what to bring to the party? There’s a ton to think about when you are hosting or attending a pal’s (or soon to be pal’s) shindig.

Have a long commute to the action? Want to be mindful of food allergies? Not in the mood to contend with the prep and dishes associated with a “hot dish”? Then we have a recipe for you!

This is our delicious allergen-friendly take on the classic party mix. Quick to whip up and easy to transport, this allergen-free and vegan party snack is friendly and accessible. Though we have ingredient recommendations, we encourage you to use your intuition, let those imagination juices flow, and just go for it!

Ingredients 
• 1 cup of roasted and salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
• 1 cup of roasted and salted sunflower seeds
• 1 cup of dried cranberries
• 1 cup of dried pineapple chunks
• 1 free2b Chocolate Bar, chopped into bite sized pieces
 
Directions 
1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
2. Serve up your delicious top 12 allergen-free vegan party snack!

Want to stand out at the snack table? Why not present your party mix in a reusable bowl which doubles as a host/hostess gift? It’s convenient, attractive, and great for the environment!

And if you’re feeling extra generous, why not treat the party to allergen-free free2b Chocolate Crunch bars? You’ll surely be the hit of the party.

Tell us how you like to mix it by sharing your comments below!

Bold & Yummy Vegan Dark Chocolate Mint Shake Recipe

We all love mint shakes, mint chocolate, and the delicious taste of SunButter, right? Well if not, this recipe certainly isn’t for you. That’s because we’ll be combining them all to create a delicious chocolate mint shake.

And better yet, it’s 100% vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and free of the rest of the top-12 food allergens.

Ready to get started? Here is what you’ll need:

 

Ingredients For Your Vegan Chocolate Mint Shake

 

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. In a blender, mix the rice milk, mint cups, and kale together. Blend on high for 2 seconds.
  2. Add the mint leaves and ice cream and then blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into glasses and enjoy immediately!

 

Did you love your rich, dark chocolate mint shakes? Let us know in the comments below! Also, feel free to share your own tips and tweaks.

Food Allergy Checklist: Hosting an Allergy-Safe Birthday

Perhaps one of the most time consuming and most fun events is throwing birthday parties for your children. Agreeing on a theme, creating decorations, developing a menu, and last but certainly not least managing the invites.

In this day and age food allergies are common, particularly in children. It’s been reported that one in thirteen children under the age of 18 are affected with food allergies in the U.S. For parents of children with food allergies, birthday parties can be a danger zone with many common food allergens lurking in store-bought treats and confections. For children it’s upsetting and confusing to be left out because the host is concerned that managing the allergy sufferer seems too scary or too hard. Thankfully with our handy food allergy checklist, it’s easier than you think to host an allergy-safe birthday celebration.

When it comes to the safety and health of your guests, communication is key! Some of the tips we recommend are:

Start the dialogue early: Request that allergies be shared at the time of RSVP. If you have questions or concerns about how to keep a party guest safe reach out in advance.

Medications: Set up a time for you to talk to the child and their parent about what food allergy symptoms to watch out for, whom to contact, as well as how and when to use an EpiPen. Be sure to check-in with the parent as to if they are ok with their child administering their own allergy meds. If you are not comfortable administering an EpiPen voice up and perhaps invite the parents of the child to stay and help out.

Foods: Discuss what will be served ahead of time and share whether meal and snack time will be supervised. If you are open to suggestions, let it be known. If you will be offering safe foods in addition to other offerings be aware of cross-contamination by using separate utensils and dish cloths.

Think outside the box: If you are creating goodie bags for guests, consider non-food items such as mini puzzles, pencils, fun erasers, and small trinkets. If you do opt to include edible treats we suggest making safe goodie bags for guests with food allergies and waiting to hand them out as a parting gift. This will help ensure that a safe treat hasn’t been swapped for an unsafe treat as well as allow the guest to open their goodie bag with their parents.

Just a phone call away: Last but certainly not least, be sure to obtain the parent’s contact information in the case of emergency, or if you have any questions.

Having a child with food allergies can be challenging. Going the extra mile to make the child with allergies feel welcome and safe will go a long way with them and their parents. Not to mention your care and consideration will help ensure no little one is left out.

Do you have any other tips to add to the food allergy checklist? Let us know in the comments below!