I am happy that our school has a peanut and nut ban. It's not foolproof, as lunches are only checked for rogue nut products in JK and SK. Alas, having a stated nut ban is still a deterrent and it helps to protect the many children in our school with peanut and nut allergies.
I know not being able to send peanut butter is a pain in the arse for some parents. I know some kids live on the stuff. I was one of those kids who brought a PB&J sandwich to school several times a week back in the 70s. As a parent of a kid with peanut allergy, I am grateful to the many parents who abide by the no nut policy, even if they don't like it very much.
So what can you do if your kid loves the spreadable nutty goodness but you can't, or don't want to, send the real deal.
Despite what the labelling claims would persuade you to believe it is not "just like peanut butter." The two brands we have tried are made of soy and golden peas, respectively. My friend whose kids don't have allergies once had the golden pea version on toast at my house. She took a bite and then turned to me with a skeptical look. "It's clear to me that you haven't had peanut butter in a very long time if you think that tastes authentic," she said wryly.
Okay, the golden pea version is a bit of a stretch but the soy version is very close in texture, taste and smell, save for a faint soy-tastic aftertaste. And I never claimed authenticity, people. I just said that it's better than nothing!
My kids actually like the freenut butter a lot. Granted, my son doesn't remember what real peanut butter tastes like but his sisters do and they are fine with the creamy impostor. I use it just like you would use peanut butter:
- Spread it on whole wheat bread with a little honey or jam on top
- Stuff it into that lonely hollow in raw celery sticks
- Layer it between crackers for a stackable snack
- Smooth it on a rice cake with some raisins sprinkled on top
You get the idea. There are lots of possibilities. I have even baked with it. Chocolate covered bonbons at Christmas tastes very authentic. Peanut butter cookies are more of a stretch, but if you add in lots of chocolate chips? Not too shabby.
I live in Canada and both the versions I have pictured here are available through certain regular grocery stores. I know that most health food stores carry some form of freenut butter, too.
Some day my son will be an adult living in his own home. At that point my husband and I will likely invite real peanut butter back into our lives. Until then, the freenut butter is a handy substitute on those days when I haven't got a clue what to send for lunch.