One thing that’s pretty central to my daily life, especially in college, is the fact that I have a severe peanut and nut allergy. I always have to be vigilant about reading labels when grocery shopping, avoiding cross-contamination, or making sure there is a safe option whenever I go out to eat.
Food allergies can be tough to deal with at times, especially when it comes to prepackaged snacks, due to cross contamination, or also because nuts and nut products tend to be a popular snacking option. Especially with newer food trends and the resurgence of literally every kind of nut butter on the planet, it’s become tricky for me to find snacks that are filling, healthy-ish (emphasis on the ish), and nut free.
Since dining hall options have been less extensive due to quarantine, it’s important to me that I keep my dorm stocked with options to keep me full and to keep my energy going. Here are my three favorite allergy-friendly snack brands. These three are free from all top 8-allergens, so if you have food allergies other than nuts, these brands should work for you as well:
An acronym for “Only What You Need,” OWYN makes plant-based protein shakes that are accommodating to literally every dietary restriction on the planet that I honestly don’t even know what’s in them. Top 8 allergen free, Kosher, vegan, and still tastes like a normal protein shake? Revolutionary. OWYN drinks are sweet, thick, but not too filling that they serve as a meal replacement — I like to drink these as part of my breakfast or lunch, or they’re perfect to hold you over between meals, when you’re rushing to class. I’ll even use them as the creamer in my coffee if I need an extra pick-me-up in the morning. These are also kind of brilliant in the sense that you can refrigerate them but don’t need to, so OWYN drinks are perfect for storing in a small dorm or for on-the-go.
- Partake Foods
Were you always that kid who exclusively ate homemade baked goods because you were allergic to practically every store-bought pastry out there? Same. Luckily, Partake comes to the rescue with an array of cookies, free of the top 8 allergens, plus gluten. Partake offers so many flavors, and two different textures — crunchy and soft (though the difference is subtle). The cookies are super satisfying and make a great midday snack to satisfy your sweet tooth. Plus, Partake is a small, black woman-owned brand!
- Enjoy Life Foods
Out of all these brands, Enjoy Life definitely has the most extensive line, with a wide variety of snack offerings — from chocolate bars, to granola bars, to baked goods, and more. Enjoy Life is a pretty well-known brand in the food allergy community, and, while I’ve never tried an Enjoy Life snack I haven’t, well, enjoyed, their protein bites are by far my favorite. If you’re allergic to nuts, you probably know that we have zero options when it comes to filling, nutrient-dense protein bars like Clif bars or Lara bars. These protein bites are probably the best substitute I’ve found. They have almost a fudgy texture and are super chocolatey, but they also have healthy fats, seeds, and protein that make them more snack than dessert. Honestly, these protein bites are 60 percent of my diet at this point.
Just because we have dietary restrictions does not mean that our food options should be limited!
Do you have any go-to, allergy-friendly snacks? Sound off in our DMs! @hercampusconn