happiest boy to get pizza on pizza-day at school

School safe gluten free vegan snacks for food intolerant foodies

I found out that gluten was an issue when my son was reacting to my breast milk. He had terrible sleep and digestion issues until I took gluten, dairy and soy out of my diet. We thought that was the end, but our digestion problems continued. Many stool samples and blood tests later, we have discovered we have a huge number of food intolerances (17 for me and 26 for my son) and some allergies. We still don’t know why yet, but as our intolerances are very similar we assume digestive enzymes are missing from something genetic.

A food intolerance blood test measures lGg reactivity to various foods and gives you a rated report of what is causing issues. As some reactions from foods can come up to three days after ingestion (reactions can be digestive, migraines, respiratory issues, affect fibromyalgia and/or cause eczema), using a food diary to track is often hard. Also, try to put a five year old on an elimination diet. I dare you. This test gives you a baseline of what to avoid right away and then you can try to bring foods in after abstaining to see if your body has adjusted, or if it’s a food you need to avoid permanently. It also gives your doctor (gastroenterologists, immunologists and nutritionists can use this information) a bird’s eye view of the types of foods you react to and figure out the root cause. It may not cover everything that you react to, but it’s a good start. There’s some past controversy on these tests, but depending on the lab, in Canada they are considered legitimate and tests are ordered by doctors who practice Western medicine.

Based on the combination of our food issues, it became impossible to find pre-made snacks for my son to take to school that were also nut free. We can’t have any dairy aside from buffalo (no idea why, but chocolate buffalo milk exists so my son is happy), casein, eggs, cashews, almonds, corn, red kidney beans, peas, or pistachios in our combined intolerances. On top of those, my son has rice, sunflower seeds, white beans, amaranth, oranges, cabbage, oats, radish, potato, raspberry, pomegranate, vanilla, flax seed and aloe. So, yeah… shopping became difficult. This was not my first time at the adversity-rodeo however, so I promptly developed recipes so that my son will not feel left out and still get to eat his favourite things. On top of that, these are school safe so that other kids with severe nut allergies will not have to be concerned. Plus as type 2 diabetes runs in my family, I try to make my foods low glycemic and the teachers will appreciate kids not bouncing off the walls.

Savoury crackers

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 1 cup tigernut flour (this is a tuber, not a nut and school safe)
  • 6 tsp Xanthan gum (This can be derived from wheat, corn or soy glucose, so if you have an issue with any of those, you can find a version that works for you or use guar gum in a 1–1. If you only have issues with gluten, the proteins are not used in production so this should be safe for you.)
  • 4 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Alternates: basil, tomato powder, dried onion flakes, dulse flakes and salt to taste OR 1/2 cup buffalo cheese (or whatever cheese you can eat — vegan cheeses all have peas or corn in them) and dulse flakes to taste

Heat oven to 450F. Combine dry ingredients and mix until even. Add wet ingredients and stir until it’s evenly wet. Use your hands to make the dough into a ball. It will be a bit sticky. Use tapioca flour lightly dusted on a surface and cut your dough in half. Knead in your alternate ingredients to make cheese crackers vs tomato basil, or ignore and make your own flavour. Form your dough into a square and roll out to 1/8 inch thick. Lightly brush with water and top with a bit of salt before cutting into squares, rectangles, or whatever. We used cookie cutters to theme some of ours. Prick the tops with a fork to avoid crackers being too chewy. Cook for 7–15 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet depending on thickness.

Chocolate crackers

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 1 cup millet grits
  • 1/2 cup dairy free cocoa
  • 6 tsp Xanthan gum (This can be derived from wheat, corn or soy glucose, so if you have an issue with any of those, you can find a version that works for you or use guar gum in a 1–1. If you only have issues with gluten, the proteins are not used in production so this should be safe for you.)
  • 4 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • cocoa nibs to sprinkle
  • 1 cup water

Heat oven to 450F. Combine dry ingredients and mix until even. Add wet ingredients and stir until it’s evenly wet. Use your hands to make the dough into a ball. It will be a bit sticky. Use tapioca flour lightly dusted on a surface and cut your dough in half. Knead in your alternate ingredients to make cheese crackers vs tomato basil, or ignore and make your own flavour. Form your dough into a square and roll out to 1/8 inch thick. Lightly brush with water and top with a bit of salt before cutting into squares, rectangles, or whatever. We used cookie cutters to theme some of ours. Prick the tops with a fork to avoid crackers being too chewy. Cook for 7–15 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet depending on thickness.

Chocolate coconut muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium ripe bananas
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 egg substitutes of your choosing, or eggs if you can eat those
  • 1 cup chocolate coconut milk
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375F. Combine dry ingredients and mix until even. Combine wet ingredients in a bowl and beat until even. Depending on your egg substitute you may need to prepare your ‘eggs’ separately. Lots of egg replacers use potato or corn starch, so if you have issues with those, be sure to read labels. Mix the wet with the dry until combined and add the chocolate chips. Dairy and sugar free chocolate chips exist. Fill muffin cups to the top of the paper. These rise but not a lot. If you do tiny muffins (which we do), bake for 20 minutes. If you do larger muffins, bake for 30–35 minutes. Let rest to cool on a baking rack. These freeze really well.

Cereal bars

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups puffed quinoa/millet/rice (Depending on your allergies and intolerances)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seed butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

In a small pot, boil the pumpkin seed butter and maple syrup for 3 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds until the mixture starts to thicken and ‘cracks’. In a medium bowl, put 3 cups of your chosen puff. Mix in the sauce and add the additional 1 cup of left over puff until they’re evenly lightly coated. Squish into a parchment lined 12x12 pan and put in the fridge for an hour. Cut into bars or however you’d like. These freeze really well.

Buy the puffed millet and quinoa. I tried making this at home and it doesn’t work. I couldn’t find any in stores, but found a lot online. You can sub out agave for the maple syrup or any other butter/nut butter for pumpkin seed if you don’t care about school safe or don’t have issues with sunflower butter.

Millet Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1-1 3/4 cups flour (4/5 millet, 1/5 tapioca)
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • tomato sauce (or oil, or pesto, mashed beets… whatever you can eat)
  • 1 packet quick rise pizza yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm water (110F is best)
  • buffalo mozzarella

Set oven to 450F. Combine 1 cup of flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add water and oil mix until blended. Gradually add the 3/4 cup until it is a soft ball. The dough will be a bit sticky. Knead on tapioca floured surface, adding in more tapioca if required until smooth and elastic. About 4–6 minutes. Split dough in 2 if doing thin crust. Roll out to fit a pizza pan. Cook crust for 10 minutes. Lower oven to 400F. Top pizza with your sauce and cheese or whatever. Cook for 10 more minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Chickpea cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup white sorghum flour
  • 2 egg substitutes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup dairy free chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil

Set oven to 350F. Mix dry ingredients until combined. Add wet ingredients and stir until dough is formed. Add in chocolate chips. Form cookies in sizes and shapes that you love. Cook at 25 minutes for small cookies and 35 minutes for larger ones. If you like your cookies soft, cook for 5–7 minutes less. Cool on a baking rack. Feel smug while eating high protein cookies.