It is that time of year again! The temperature is getting cooler and the long days of freedom, fun and endless sunshine are coming to an end. While the carefree days of summer are becoming distant memories, there is another notable occasion that indicates summer is over – going back to school! For some, the start of a new school year is exciting. It is a chance for a fresh start with the added thrill of a new classroom, friends and teachers. Similarly, there are some kids (and parents!) that with a new school year comes stress, worry and anxiety.
For parents with a child with special needs, the transition from a summer routine (or lack of routine!) to a new school year can be extra unsettling. A main concern for parents and kids is beginning a new school year with a dietary allergy or sensitivity. Sending your kid to school with lunch money is not an option when considering a food allergy and the limited options that are available at your child’s school, so being prepared and planning ahead is a must!
Good nutrition is a great start to planning for the school year. Put the stress to rest by beginning each day with a healthy breakfast. By doing so, it will help your child concentrate in class and will provide them with the energy they will need throughout the day. Plan ahead and make these delicious allergen-free muffins! As an added bonus, you can make them the night before to help create a stress-free morning!
Almond Flour Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
- 3 eggs (or use an egg substitute, such as ¾ cup of unsweetened applesauce or 3 heaping tablespoons of soy flour and 6 tablespoons of water when necessary)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 over-ripe bananas, mashed
- ¼ cup honey or Kirkman’s No Sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups almond flour or meal (can use coconut flour as a substitute when necessary)
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 recommnended serving (varies by child) of Calcium 200 mg – Bio-Max Series – Hypoallergenic (capsule opened and contents emptied)
- ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips, or Paskesz Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Whisk eggs (or use egg substitute), vinegar, banana, honey and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. In a second, larger bowl, whisk almond flour, baking powder and salt until no lumps remain. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix by hand until almost combined. Add coconut oil and fold gently until evenly mixed. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter into muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes or until set. Let cool about five minutes in pan and remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Packing a flavorful and nutritious lunch that your child will eat which is also allergen-free can often times become a stressor all on it’s own! You can always keep it simple and pack a twist to an all-time favorite: Pea Butter and Jelly Sandwich! This recipe is free of the common allergens, and the pea butter can be made the night before and used in various ways throughout the week!
Pea Butter and Jelly Sandwich
▪ ⅔ cup dry whole yellow peas
▪ ½ cup water
▪ 2 ½ tablespoons refined coconut oil
▪ ½ tablespoon agave nectar
▪ ¼ teaspoon sea salt
▪ Gluten-free bread, sliced
▪ Jelly of choice, sugar-free
Soften peas by placing them in a bowl and cover with one inch of cool water. Cover and let stand 24 hours.
When ready, preheat the oven to 350° F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
Drain peas and spread in one layer on the sheet. Bake for one hour, stopping every 15 minutes to shake the pan (prevents burning).
Place the peas in a bowl to cool. Once cooled, move them to a food processor and add water.
Let stand 15 minutes then pulse until finely chopped. Add oil, agave and salt and run the food processor until the ingredients turn into a smooth, thick paste, adding more water if necessary.
Spread desired amount on gluten-free bread of choice and add sugar-free jelly.
After a day full of new activities and learning, your child most likely worked up quite an appetite. Want a quick after-school snack that will hold them over until dinner is ready? Try this quick smoothie recipe! You can also be sure they are getting their multivitamins by sneaking some into the recipe!
Very Berry Smoothie
▪ 1 cup frozen mixed berries
▪ 1 cup flavored juice (Orange is recommended, plus it helps your child get more vitamin C!)
▪ 1 ½ cup ice
▪ ½ cup yogurt (If your child is sensitive to dairy, try Vance’s™ DariFree™ Original Flavor.)
▪ 1 recommended serving (varies by child) Super Nu-Thera® Liquid – Raspberry Flavored Concentrate – New Formula
Blend all ingredients until smooth