03 Oct Ants-on-a-log: 6 Alternatives for allergy conscious schools
Ants on a log. An uncomplicated and fun way to get your kids to eat veggies and a plant-based protein, right? For some parents, this snack still works, but for many, there are allergy considerations to take into account, and the need to comply with your school’s requirements to protect those children who can have severe allergic reactions.
It is important to comply with your school’s requests for the safety of all and, as parents, we do our best to come up with allergy-free alternatives. I have heard from many Moms, that this is not always easy: some kids don’t eat meat, so a nut butter is a great protein alternative; some parents are not comfortable with the “nut-free” products created to taste like peanut butter, due to the unfathomable chemical list and hydrogenated oils within them and, finally, I had some low-income families explain that a good old peanut butter and jam sandwich was something they could afford to send their kids for lunch.
Clearly, the once-uncomplicated ants-on-a-log snack needs a revision to protect the children with allergies and provide a safe and affordable alternative to this old favourite. I have found six ways to revamp this snack while keeping it safe and healthy.
Many schools are peanut-free, but you can use other forms of nuts. Here are some ideas:
- Chocolate Hazelnut Butter with Cranberries: you can check out my Hazelnut Butter recipe here. You can grab a handful of nuts and a few dried cranberries from the bulk section, along with celery sticks, making this a healthy, peanut-free and affordable alternative.
- Brazil nut Butter with Coconut Flakes: See my Brazil nut Butter recipe here. I find that the price of brazil nuts goes up and down a lot, so be sure to check out the bulk section for affordable ways to obtain these. A little shredded coconut goes a long way on these fun logs.
Many schools have also gone completely Nut-free, here are some more ideas:
- Sesame Seed Butter & Raw Cacao nibs: Seeds are safe and sesame seeds are often well-priced in the bulk section, along with cacao nibs (you can use chocolate chips instead if you have them; just try to buy the darkest chocolate you can). To make sesame seed butter, use the Brazil Nut butter recipe and just substitute an equal amount of sesame seeds for brazil nuts.
- Guacamole and Black Beans: Peel an avocado and slice into a bowl. Add lemon juice and salt and mash it all together with a fork. Spread the avocado mixture across the celery and add a few black beans for ants.
- Hummus and Red Pepper: You can buy affordable hummus from your grocer or if you like, take a look at my roasted Red Pepper Hummus recipe. Chop half a red pepper into little pieces for the ants, and it makes another tasty alternative.
- Greek Yogurt and Blueberries: Yes! Spread a little Greek yogurt on the celery, top with blueberries and you have a sweeter alternative. My kids especially love it when I drizzle a little honey on top (maple syrup for a vegan-friendly option).
I hope you find these six Ant-on-a-Log alternatives helpful in finding options for a healthy and safe lunchbox snack. If you have a fun, healthy, peanut-free version, I would love it if you shared it in the comments below.