Top Three Ways to Handle Snacks in Children’s Ministry


What do we do with snacks in children’s ministry when there are so many food allergies with kids?

It’s a real issue and one we need to grapple with. I remember one of my fondest memories as a kid at church was eating an orange pushup at a VBS–regardless of the fact that we were standing on hot pavement for snack time. And now, it makes me sad in my 2-year-old class when little ones say to me “I hungy” and I have to say that we’re not allowed to give them snacks anymore. Is this what we’ve come to?

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We asked children’s ministers on our poll at how they handle allergy policies. Here are the top three ways they do it:

1. We rely on parents to inform us if there are any allergies we need to know about (79%).

2. We provide food but post the ingredients and make sure parents alert us to allergies (16%).

3. We don’t allow any food in our programs (5%).

The fourth option was “We allow kids to bring their own food, but don’t provide any.” (This is actually what our church does.)

So how does your church handle food allergies in your children’s ministry? Post to help us all grapple with this issue.


Top Three Ways to Handle Snacks in Children’s Ministry
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  1. Our church have an allergy list posted. We also ask new or visiting parents does your child have any allergies. So if they do then we ensure that they have to appropriate snack.

  2. I’m a food-allergy mom myself so I have some first hand experience with this. My three year old has anaphylactic reactions to dairy (anything milk, cheese, butter) and he can have reactions just from contact exposure so we have to be really careful with him. The problem with having all of the kids bring their own snacks is that allergy kiddos like mine are exposed to their allergens during class. Since my little guy is still fairly young I wouldn’t be comfortable with him being in a room with a bunch of other kids eating goldfish and drinking cups of milk, it’s too likely that he would have a reaction. Our church has a variety of snacks as options, they post common allergens for all of them, they have each child’s allergies listed on their registration so it gets printed on their name tag every week, AND they ask about allergies when you check them in to their room. Then if there a child with allergies in the room all of the kids are served the same snack option that’s safe for everyone. So when my little one is in a class no one in that class has goldfish, they all have either animal crackers or rice check which are both safe. So far this option works great for us and the other allergy families at the church.

    • Christine Yount Jones on

      Amanda, thanks so much for these great insights! This seems like a solid approach to this food-allergy issue.

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