School Resources

How to Choose the Perfect Nut-Free Snacks for School



Last Updated: Jul 12, 2022

With so many kids suffering from serious nut allergies, many schools have decided to cultivate safe spaces by banning any products that have come in contact with nuts. If you’re tasked with packing lunches and snacks, this can create a bit of a challenge. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to find nut-free snacks for school once you know what you’re looking for. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.

Why should you pack nut-free snacks for school?

With severe nut allergies affecting around 1% of the general population, or about 3 million people, many schools have implemented nut-free zones in cafeterias, classrooms, and even across the whole campus. Parents can help create a safe environment for children and prevent reactions by packing nut-free snacks for their own children, even if they are not allergic.

How to shop nut-free snacks

Since peanut and tree nut allergies can be very dangerous, it’s important to understand exactly what’s meant by “nut-free” foods and how to make sure what you’re buying is safe. Keep in mind that if a school is nut-free this does not mean you’re unable to send your child to school with a PB&J.

How to make sure store-bought snacks are nut-free

If you’re unsure whether your child’s favorite snacks are free of allergens, you can check the nutrition label on the back of the packaging or box. Ingredients are listed by quantity contained from highest to lowest. For more information on what to look for, visit our resource on how to read food labels.

Be mindful not to buy anything that’s made with nuts or processed in a plant where nuts are present. You’ll want to look for warnings like:

  • “May contain peanut or tree nuts”
  • “Processed on shared equipment with peanuts or tree nuts”
  • “Manufactured in a plant with peanut or tree nuts”
  • “Contains peanut or tree nut ingredients”

If you’re still not sure whether a snack is safe, look at the FAQ page on the product’s website or choose another option. It’s always better to be safe than sorry where nut allergies are involved.

Savory nut-free snacks for school

Most kids enjoy crunchy or salty snacks. Here are some popular favorites that are completely nut-free:

1. Cheetos

Heap of Cheese Puffs on white background

Cheetos are always a crowd pleaser! They come in a variety of shapes and flavors and are completely nut-free.

2. Pretzels

Pretzels are another nut-free snack. Mix things up by choosing pretzel rods, pretzel sticks, mini-pretzels, or traditional pretzel twists.

3. Rice cakes

Rice cakes come in a variety of flavors like caramel, butter, apple, and cheddar cheese. They’re a crispy snack that is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of kids.

4. Goldfish crackers

Tossing some goldfish crackers in your child’s lunch box is a great way to bring a smile to their face!

5. Pringles

Your kids will be thrilled to find out that Pringles make the list of nut-free snacks.

6. Finger Sandwiches

Get fancy with some savory finger sandwiches. These are particularly helpful for the picky eaters and feeding packs of children because they can be made any way you can imagine. Just remove the crust from any sandwich and cut an X for 4 mini bites.

7. Veggie Chips

Not only are veggie chips nut-free, but they’re also a delicious source of root vegetables.

Dairy-based snacks for school

Choosing snacks made from dairy will give your child an extra boost of protein, which will help keep them full for longer. Here are some of the best diary-based nut-free snacks for school:

8. Yogurt snacks

Yogurt cup with natural strawberry Greek style yogurt swirled with real strawberries

Yogurt snacks are tasty, healthy snacks that kids love to eat. Stock up on a variety of flavors, and you’ll always have a great snack to grab and go.

9. Pudding cups

Pudding snack cups come in so many different flavors! Choose at least a few different kids so your kids can enjoy plenty of variety in their lunch boxes.

10. String cheese

While you usually tell kids not to play with their food, string cheese is the exception! This is a fun nut-free snack for school that’s almost always kid-approved.

11. Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese makes a great snack! If your child likes sweeter snacks, look for fruit-topped cottage cheese cups instead of the plain version.

12. Bottled smoothies

Small smoothie drinks are healthy, tasty, and filling. They also come in various flavors, so you’re sure to find at least a few your kid loves.

Fresh-made nut-free snacks for school

If you have some extra time, it’s a great idea to make some nut-free snacks from scratch every once in a while. Take a look at these quick, easy recipes:

13. Fruit kebabs

Fresh summer fruits on sticks

Kids love snacking on colorful fruit kebabs. Start with some wood skewers (remove any sharp tips), then layer different types of fresh fruit to make mini-kebabs.

14. Caprese skewers

To make simple Caprese skewers, stack small balls of mozzarella cheese, grape tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves. If you think your child would enjoy it, drizzle the skewers with a bit of balsamic vinegar.

15. Homemade smoothies

Store-bought smoothies can sometimes have a lot of sugar. If your child enjoys smoothies, try making some at home with fresh fruit, a bit of spinach (they won’t even taste it!), milk or almond milk, and a bit of yogurt.

16. Guacamole with veggies or chips

Make fresh guacamole with avocados, lime juice, and cilantro, or buy pre-made guacamole cups. Serve it with fresh vegetables or tortilla chips – make sure they’re processed in a nut-free facility.

17. Fresh popcorn

Pop up some fresh popcorn on the stove for a nut-free snack that’s savory and crunchy. Serve it plain or sprinkle it with just a bit of salt for some extra flavor.

Sweet nut-free treats for school

You don’t want to give your kids too much sugar, but the occasional sweet nut-free treats are sure to brighten their day. Take a look at these popular ideas:

18. Fruit cups

Fresh Sliced Tropical Fruits Berries in Container. Delicious Healthy Snack Ready to Eat Salad in Transparent Cup Closeup Elevated View. Vegetarian Raw Food. Citrus, Kiwi, Raspberries for Lunch

Fruit-snack cups are the perfect guilt-free sweet treat. You can find shelf-stable cups with everything from peaches and oranges to pears and tropical fruit.

19. Oreos

When your kid has a chocolate craving, they’ll be glad to know that Oreos are on the safe list!

20. Fig Newtons

While nut-free granola bars are tough to find, Fig Newtons are another nut-free treat that’s similar. It’s quick and easy to toss a few in your child’s lunchbox to enjoy for an afternoon snack.

21. Rice Krispy Treats

Another super-popular sweet snack, Rice Krispy Treats are available in a variety of different flavors and shapes, making them a fun nut-free snack for school any time of the year.

22. Gummy fruit snacks

Most brands of gummy fruit snacks are totally nut-free. Your kids will also enjoy choosing the shapes and flavors that they like best.

Pack nut-free snacks for school the easy way!

Finding nut-free snacks your kids will enjoy can feel like a challenge, but Instacart’s got your back with some unique tips & tricks. Create your shopping list, and professional shoppers will find everything you need. Once they’re done, they’ll drop your back-to-school groceries off right at your doorstep.



Instacart is the leading grocery technology company in North America, partnering with more than 1,400 national, regional, and local retail banners to deliver from more than 80,000 stores across more than 14,000 cities in North America. To read more Instacart posts, you can browse the company blog or search by keyword using the search bar at the top of the page.

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