Unless you have a child that has, or are yourself, allergic to nuts, tree nut allergies are generally not something you think about. At least not until the child starts school. Tree nuts include peanuts (although they are grown in the ground), almonds, cashews, hazelnuts etc but not coconuts. I remember vividly my elder son, R-man’s, first day at pre-school, and noticing the sign at the entrance of a smiling peanut and his almond friend, pleasantly warning us that this was a nut-free zone. I frantically thought about the snacks we’d packed for R-man. Halved grapes. Carrot and apple bar. I had to check the packaging of the latter to ensure there were no nuts, not even traces of them, and this became the standard for snack selection. He ate a lot of fruit that year.
When R-man graduated to nursery at an international school, I found out that nut restrictions at non-local schools were de rigeur, especially at the lower levels where children are less careful with their food- how they eat it, who they share it with, where the cookies crumble. Again, R-man was stuck with fruit, some cheese and yogurt. First world problems, I know.Most seed bars contain nuts or are made in facilities that handle nuts. I’m also not a fan of most kids’ yogurts as they tend to be full of sugar. But it also made me think about whether Mekhala could create delicious, healthy and nut free snacks for kids to take to school? Thus began our long search for the perfect nut substitute.