School lunch options and allergies

Enna - posted on 09/03/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I was just laughing yesterday as I went through the menu for my daughter's school lunches. They have the regular lunch option, then there's vegetarian, gluten free, salad lunch, and fruit and veggie bar. Keep in mind that this is also an absolutely no peanut school. And just in case, any kid who packs their lunch is not allowed to sit with the kids with peanut allergies, no matter what's in their lunch. (Except for the kids with peanut allergies).
The only reason I was laughing is because it's gotten so complicated to deal with lunch at school! My daughter's lucky and doesn't have any allergies, for which I am very thankful. I feel bad for all the kids whose lives are endangered every time they eat (except when someone has been vigilant about their food.)
When my 13 year old was little they made special concessions for kids with peanut allergies, but nothing like this. Have things gotten so bad in the past 7 years? Or is everyone finally being more open about it?
I hope that this crazy menu helps keep the children with allergies more safe. But wow, it is a lot for a first grader to think about.

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Enna - posted on 09/06/2013

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It's really sad that something so crazy as peanut residue on playground equipment could cause a child to die. I would be a seriously crazy mom if my daughter had a serious allergy like that (I'm sure everyone with a child with serious allergies is crazy like that). There's just so much to think (and worry) about.
My friend's daughter has celiac disease. She is also a very picky eater. So she spent months with an NJ tube last year and early this year. She's 11 now, and I think she probably weighs less than my 6 year old. She goes to a small Catholic school, she must have to pack her lunch every day.
I know my daughter's school has peanut free classrooms, she's been in them both years. There are some other allergies in her class this year, so they're only allowed to bring fruits and vegetables as their snack. Her teacher hasn't been very clear about what the exact allergies are, I wish she was being more open about it.

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My son's school has a similar menu, except our veggie bar is with the salad bar, and we do not have a full "gluten free" menu option, we just label everything along the bar that is gluten free (we have magnetic "Gluten Free!" stickers).

We are also nut free and follow the same precautions. We actually try to put our nut allergic kids into the same class--it helps them feel less excluded, and minimizes the risk of touching peanut residue. My son lost a friend this summer because he went to a birthday party and was exposed to peanut residue on play equipment. His mom had an epi pen, but for whatever reason, it didn't work this time.

I don't know if things are getting worse or if people are just being more open about them. I do know that celiac disease (which requires a gluten free diet) is on the rise in children. Gluten free diets are also being used to treat ADHD. Schools are not required to offer gluten free options for those using gluten free diets to treat ADHD, but most offer them to everyone, just because it's easier than keeping up with who is allowed to have what.

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