Back to School with Food Allergies

I only encountered severe food allergies in the classroom within the past few years. Several members of my family have celiac disease, so I approached my first case with confidence. I quickly learned, however, that the food allergies in my classroom are a completely different animal. Ingestion of a food allergen–even a trace amount—can be life threatening. Some children experience a reaction just by contact alone.

Food Allergies in the Classroom

I’m not a food-allergy expert but I play one in my classroom. Like most teachers, I’ve seen an increase in the number of students who have severe food allergies. I don’t know why food-allergy rates are rising, but I do know that it means classrooms and schools are implementing new protocols to ensure the safety of their students. It also means that as an elementary school teacher, I’ve embraced the responsibility of following particular practices to make kids—and their parents—feel safe and ready to learn.

Food Allergy Bullying

A classmate smeared peanut butter on his locker in middle school. A fifth-grade teacher threatened to give him a zero if he didn’t participate in a science experiment featuring peanut butter. A school parent ambushed him with an ultimatum: either sign a liability waiver in case he experienced anaphylaxis during a high school graduation party or don’t participate.

Gluten-Free Lunchbox Treats

Here are gluten-free versions (they can be made dairy-free, too) of two favorite treats from childhood: Hostess' Twinkies and Cupcakes. Guaranteed to bring back delicious memories, you’ll be delighted by how much they look and taste like the real deal. Make one recipe or both—and transform your children's gluten free school lunch! Or make them for yourself to let your inner child indulge!

Considering Colleges When Gluten-Free

This past spring, FARE launched its Food Allergy College Search tool to help families find detailed information on how colleges handle food allergies and gluten-free diets. The database, which initially launched with 40 schools, has drill-down information on allergy-safe options, cross-contact procedures, staff training and roommate accommodations.

Don’t Miss These Gluten-Free Products!

Here is the latest and greatest in store-bought gluten free, paleo and vegan items. Get the scoop on cassava flour tortillas, paleo salad dressing, bone broth, almond crackers and more!

Research Roundup: Celiacs in College, Probiotic Impact on Gut Biome, & More!

According to a survey conducted by the New England Celiac Organization (NECO), almost half of college students with celiac disease say that eating gluten-free on campus is a problem. Students reported gluten cross-contamination in campus cafeterias, difficulty socializing due to embarrassment related to food and challenges advocating for themselves with untrained food staff. Thirty percent of those surveyed said they found “no solution” to their dietary restrictions on campus. Sixty percent were unlikely to recommend their university to others with celiac disease.

Back to School Food Allergy Gear

‘Tis the season for buying school supplies. Even if you don’t pack lunch for the kiddos, these products make the grade for on-the-go meals and snacks. They all earn high marks for making life a little easier and more fun.

School Safety Tips for Your Child with Food Allergies

A 504 plan is designed to ensure protection and accommodation for your celiac or food-allergic child in and around the classroom.

Gluten-Free Research Roundup

Having more infections in early childhood—both upper respiratory and gastrointestinal infections—slightly upped the risk of developing celiac disease later in childhood, according to research from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Tots with 10 or more infections during the first 18 months of life had about a 30 percent increased risk for celiac disease compared with youngsters with fewer than five infections.


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