If one of your family has a food allergy or food intolerance you may already be aware of the Free From Food Awards. This fantastic awards system is strictly monitored to ensure that only the best products earn a Commended, Highly Commended or Winners badge in each category. This year I was invited to join the taste-testing judging panel alongside a range of chefs, industry experts and parents of children with severe food allergy. Our job as taste-testers is to work out the best products based on their taste, texture, overall appearance and appeal but also based on their nutritional content.

As the owner of Lunchbox Doctor I felt the most relevant categories for the followers of this blog were foods that fell into the “No Top 14” category i.e.  free from all 14 major allergens and the “Peanut and Tree Nut Free” category.  At this stage I cannot tell you anything about the winners but I can bring to your attention the products that I felt were extremely good finds for parents creating Free From packed lunches.

The first product is a NUT FREE Satay sauce. Both of my children love satay but I cannot send my youngest to his nut free school with peanut satay sticks. This sauce, although a little too sweet (from a nutritional perspective) is a real find. I would use this on the children’s chicken sticks and even as a dressing on vegetable noodles. The only issue is finding it right now! Watch this space….

 

The second product I thought would be particularly useful for free from lunchboxes is the simplest of grain free pastas by  Evexia In spite of the medical appearance of the packaging it has the most incredible flavour and is made from only one ingredient, chickpeas! It’s a fresh pasta which I think helps texture but also means it is really quick to prepare on those busy school mornings. You can buy this from Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Wholefoods.

 

Finally, this Choc Pot chocolate spread from Sweet Freedom which reminds me of the chocolate spread I used to enjoy as a child. It’s hard to find a chocolate spread that you can be categorically sure has no contamination from nuts but this one does fit the bill. It uses the extracts (sugars) from apples, grapes and carob to sweeten making it lower in sugars than most chocolate spreads on the market. That’s not to say it is low in sugar! Everything in moderation. 😉 The Choc Pot will be launched in ASDA on 20th February this year.

To learn about other 2017 entrants and the winners follow the Free From Food Awards on Facebook and TwitterA shortlist of the 2017 entrants will be published on 8th February and Awards announced on Tuesday 28 March.