Barista Kids Peanut-Free Guide

BY  |  Wednesday, Apr 13, 2011 8:45am  |  COMMENTS (16)

UPDATED LIST: Thanks to readers tips!

The first story I ever wrote for Barista Kids was a “Guide to a Peanut-Free Montclair.” My oldest daughter was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy at 2.5-years-old, so I know a lot about peanut allergies–unfortunately. When your kid has a life-threatening allergy, you school yourself on how to keep her safe.

I’m very conservative when it comes to what she’s allowed to eat. Because of the severity of her allergy, cross-contamination is a threat. That means that, in addition to not being able to eat foods WITH peanuts, she also cannot eat anything made in a facility that processes peanuts/tree nuts. For those that don’t know, peanuts and tree nuts are different. Peanuts are a legume, not a nut, but they are often processed together, so that makes tree nuts off limits too. If something doesn’t have a label on it, she doesn’t eat it.

That goes for things that she has eaten before. Sometimes companies switch where they manufacture a certain product. A brand of cookies might have been safe before, but now they are being manufactured in a facility that also processes peanuts. Now they become off limits.

It stinks. Especially when she can go someplace and then they add peanut products on the menu making it unsafe. This just happened at Rita’s Ice. It was one of the couple of places she could go for a cool treat and she loved it. But last week, my husband took her for an ice only to discover a sign letting custumers know they have added Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, Reese’s Pieces and a Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice to the menu. It warned of possible cross-contamination. My daughter was so sad, she even sent the company an email. They answered her back, but it was just to say this is the new menu and they are sorry for for the disappointment it caused her.

She used to be able to enjoy Dunkin’ Donuts too. Man how she could put those Munchkins down. But when they decided to add a peanut butter cookie to their menu, it made good old DD off-limits.

Part of living with a food allergy is to learn how to work through disappointment, and although I’m upset that they decided to add PB to the menu, we can’t expect others to cater to the small percentage of people with allergies.

Thankfully, there are many places that do cater to those with allergies. Here’s our updated guide to a Peanut-Free Baristaville:

Baristaville Bakeries

The Little Daisy Bake Shop
626 Valley Road|
Montclair, NJ
973.707.2157
Bakes everything on the premises and use peanut-free/ tree nut-free ingredients, including Vermont nut-free chocolate and peanut-free icing, sprinkles and coloring.

The Able Baker
187 Maplewood Avenue
Maplewood, NJ
973.313.1133
Peanut-free baked goods (though not tree-nut free) Also has a daily selection of gluten-free items.

Bella’s Bakery
286 Essex Street
Millburn, NJ
973.921.1337
Completely peanut and tree nut free, down to every last ingredient.

Le Baker’s Dozen
206 Bellevue Avenue
Montclair,  NJ, 07043
973.746.2253
Completely peanut-free, but not nut-free.
Offers gluten-free treats.
Sells some Vermont Nut-Free Chocolates products, such as Skippers (a safe version of M&Ms, and baking chips)

The Pie Store
100 Watchung Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07043
(973) 744-4424
Completely peanut and tree nut free.

Gina’s Bakery
110 Walnut Street
Montclair, NJ 07042
(973) 233-1010
AND
358A Millburn Ave
Millburn, NJ
(973) 467-0494
Both locations are peanut free, but not tree nut free.

Baristaville Stores
 
Whole Foods Market
2245 Springfield Avenue, Vauxhall, NJ
701 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair, NJ, 07042
235 Prospect Avenue, West Orange, NJ

Carries these great brands:

  • Enjoy Life Foods - gluten and allergen-free cookies, cereal bars, granola and chocolate.
  • Cherrybrook Kitchen – Baking mixes, frosting and cookies that are peanut/nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan.  They also sell gluten-free mixes.
  • Yummy Earth - organic, peanut-free, nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free lollipops and gummy bears.
  • SunButter – delicious alternative to peanut butter, which taste almost exactly the same.

Sweet Home Montclair
623 Valley Road
Montclair, NJ, 07043
973.746.4200
Carry a small section of peanut-free / nut-free chocolates from Divvies company.

Online Resources

  • Stuck On You makes great vinyl labels.
  • Jeeto makes cute allergy stickers for lunchboxes, backpacks and more.
  • Fiddledee ID bracelets sell really cute medical alert bracelets for kids.
  • Vermont Nut-Free Chocolate sells delicious chocolate for gifts, baking and more. They also make great jelly beans.

I hope this guide helps. If you have a great resources for kids with peanut allergies, please share them in comments!

(Photo: Jeeto peanut allergy t-shirt)

16 Comments

  1. POSTED BY spectator  |  April 13, 2011 @ 9:35 am

    From 1930 until about 1980 no one in my family ever heard of a person with severe peanut allergy. Same with autism. Were one in ten children mysteriously dying of unknown causes? What has changed, if anything?

  2. POSTED BY Jimmytown  |  April 13, 2011 @ 10:37 am

    Spectator, I agree. When I was in elementary school and a student forget his/her lunch, they made you a pb&j without 1 case of a peanut allergy. When I first heard of peanuts being banned from schools and school age activities I started looking for answers. I’ve looked a journals and case studies involving our increase in vaccines to an overactive immune system and the types of foods we eat today. But the best explanation that seperates myself from chidren today would be this: When I was a kid, I was outside until it got dark. When I came home, my parents would say “are you in for the night? And I would reply “nope, just getting a flashlight!” So, maybe it’s all the videogames. Scientists think vitamin D, which the body needs sunlight to make, helps the immune system label substances as innocuous and thus build up a tolerance. Children who spend less time outdoors tend to be deficient in D, so their body might mislabel peanut proteins as dangerous. Parents looking to protect their kids might consider sending them outside — and not washing their hands when they come home. And dont give them antibiotics when they have a cold, let their immune system develop on their own. After all, a fever is a good thing

  3. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  April 13, 2011 @ 10:46 am

    Researchers aren’t completely sure why food allergies are so prevalent now. There are many theories, but nothing has been proven. Every year, the recommendations change: Wait until child is 3-years-old to introduce peanuts/nuts, start introducing them at 6-months-old, avoid peanuts/nuts while pregnant, eat peanuts/nuts while pregnant….

  4. POSTED BY katvanwin  |  April 13, 2011 @ 10:48 am

    My parents and I became aware that I had a life-threatening food allergy in 1970. Just because you didn’t know of anyone in this situation doesn’t mean they didn’t exist.

    The sunlight theory is an interesting one, but as many kids are diagnosed when they are 3 years of age and under; somehow I doubt heavy video game use has anything to do with their allergy status.

    One other thing that has changed significantly over the last few decades is COMMUNICATION. There are many things that are widely known now that weren’t in the past because of the preponderance of communication vehicles – hundreds of cable TV stations, websites, blogs, etc. These channels both publicize issues and allow groups to connect where they couldn’t have as easily in the past.

    I’m not saying allergies haven’t increased in the last few decades (I know they have) but I think the perception of their increase is even greater than their actual increase.

  5. POSTED BY Tudlow  |  April 13, 2011 @ 11:18 am

    My daughter, like Georgette’s, also has a peanut allergy and she is the first in both sides of the family to have one. She also has asthma, which increases the chance of a fatal reaction and we therefore carry an EpiPen everywhere she goes. It took a while to acclimate to her food allergy but we have and she has become very accustomed to taking ownership of her peanut allergy without infringing upon others. I’m proud of her just like I’m sure Georgette is proud of her daughter.

    I have both an undergraduate and a graduate degree in biology and I can tell you without equivocation that the immune system is incredibly complicated. Jimmy, although I’m not sure what your motivation was to search medical journals–and I’m postulating it was because of your dismay over the restriction of peanuts as opposed to the allergic child’s welfare–I seriously doubt you have the background knowledge and comprehension of the immune system to offer a sound hypothesis as to the increase in food allergies. Don’t take offense because the vast majority of people, including doctors, don’t. Immunologists do and that is where I go (and where all people should go) to gain an understanding about the increased prevalence to food allergies. The epidemiological (population) studies have not given us a clear answer yet, though, and if I was going to postulate as to what’s going on, the most I will say is that there is unlikely to be one single answer–it’s multifactorial. The hygiene hypothesis is well known but is not a perfect fit. My daughter played in the dirt and rolled around with our cat, even ate some cat poop once, was outside all of the time, etc.

    I feel like some people insinuate that it is these over-protective parents that are to blame. Peanuts are good! Dirt is good! Loosen up and let’s have PB&J everywhere like we used to! It gets old after a while.

    (And by the way, you should never give an antibiotic for a cold since a cold is caused by a virus…and the hand washing, well, let me just say that people should again turn to the experts for medical advice.)

    But Georgette–thanks for this list. Very helpful! I thought that Gina’s was peanut free, too, have they changed?

  6. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  April 13, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

    Tudlow,

    Thanks for the tip. I confirmed with Gina’s and they are peanut free, but not tree-nut free. I’ve added them, as well as The Pie Store to the list after another reader emailed me with the tip.

  7. POSTED BY katvanwin  |  April 13, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

    My post above was in response to the first two comments in this thread by Spectator and Jimmytown.

    Tudlow, thanks for your thoughtful comments. They expressed my feelings better than my own post, which was nearly as petulant as the first two in this thread.

  8. POSTED BY Tudlow  |  April 13, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

    My pleasure, katvanwin.

    You know what question/response I frequently get about my daughter’s peanut allergy? Something along the lines of, “OH MY GOD, I don’t know how you deal with it, how do you? My kid eats peanut butter all the time, everything has peanuts, that’s awful, I can’t even imagine.” And so on and so forth.

    It is possible to lead a happy, fulfilling life without consuming peanuts…hard to imagine for some, I know, but it’s true.

    One time, this woman working at a restaurant said to my daughter, “I can’t even IMAGINE! How do you deal with this? That’s awful! Peanuts are delicious! You’re really missing out.” My daughter didn’t pay any attention to this woman but I started to get pretty irritated. And then I said to her, “Wow, how do you deal with having such an annoying personality? It must be awful! Do you have any friends? Does your family avoid you? I can’t even imagine how lonely you must be.”

    (Okay, I didn’t say this aloud, but thinking it made me laugh and made me feel better.)

  9. POSTED BY CMEinmontclair  |  June 14, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

    I feel bad for the kids who have peanut allergies, but I have to say it really stinks for parents with non-allergic kids too. I have twins & peanut butter is my easy, stand-by favorite. My kids love it, it keeps great in the backpack, they’ll eat it on celery, wheat bread, whatever. And all summer now I can’t bring it to camp. Anyone have an alternative? I literally feed them peanut butter three times a week at least and when it’s a scramble in the morning to get ready, get lunches packed, etc it is THE A+ food.

  10. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  June 14, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

    CMEinmontclair,

    Sunbutter is the best alternative I have found. I love peanut butter and ate it almost every day before we found out my daughter was allergic, so I needed a substitute.

    Sunbutter tastes almost exactly the same. King’s and Whole Foods sells it.

  11. POSTED BY CMEinmontclair  |  June 14, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    fantastic! gonna pick some up for sure. I guess you have to write a note telling the teachers it’s not peanut butter.

  12. POSTED BY cmaynard  |  October 14, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

    Here’s another one that is peanut-free (though not tree-nut free): Able Baker on Maplewood Avenue in Maplewood. http://www.theablebaker.com/bakery.html

    She has great baked goods. (She also has a daily selection of gluten-free items).

  13. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  October 14, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

    Thanks cmaynard! We’ve added it to our list.

  14. POSTED BY springcheer  |  August 29, 2013 @ 11:44 pm

    I’m considering moving to Montclair. My seven year-old has life-threatening allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. Can you please give me candid feedback regarding how the schools handle allergies? Thanks!

  15. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  August 30, 2013 @ 7:20 am

    Hi Springcheer,

    The schools in the district have a peanut-fee/nut-free table in the cafeteria. I can’t speak for other schools, but Nishuane also asks that snacks sent in, which are eaten in the classroom, be peanut/nut free. My daughter has been at Nishuane and Hillside and I’ve had meetings with the nurses and teachers. They have her Epi-pen at all times and I send in safe snacks when parties happen.

    My daughter knows to ask if things are safe and will not eat things that don’t have a label she can read.

    The key is to make everyone aware, educate you child and make sure the nurse has an Epi-pen (or 2) at all times.

    Good luck!

  16. POSTED BY springcheer  |  September 10, 2013 @ 10:45 am

    Thank you, Georgette. Much appreciated!

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