It’s back to school time! Are you ready with your SAFE and YUMMY gluten-free, peanut free and allergy free lunches for your children?
It seems that everywhere you turn, more and more schools are requesting that lunches come without things that can set off the allergies of other children in the classroom AND so many children are becoming intolerant to gluten that you have to add that variable as well. Good thing that #myMariano’s (one of the best grocery stores in the Chicagoland area, if I may say so) makes buying gluten-free and peanut free easy for parents!
I will say that I’m afforded the opportunity with homeschooling to serve the trifecta whatever I want, but the cellist does attend public schools and while no one has had a peanut allergy in the past, I still try to err on the side of safety and send him with items that won’t cause reactions in general.
Mariano’s is a great place to go, because their gluten and peanut free items are clearly marked with signage that let you know that they don’t contain any of these ingredients. While it is clearly labeled with the words, there are also symbols with the wheat crossed out so that you can easily spot items you are looking for. Not only are the aisles huge enough for two shopping carts to fit down, but HELLO, the SIGNAGE is correct and easily found!
With plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables on the side, and organic apple juice. The snack consisted of the gluten and peanut free granola from Udi’s as well, which I found in the Organic and gluten-free aisle. Another great option and variation would be to use the waffles for a “sandwich” of the jelly and almond butter as well. Just toast it up that morning and create the sandwich for a great surprise for your kids!
The granola is a cranberry mixture that I can safely say will be gone if I leave it up to the trifecta. They LOVE granola, especially when fruit is present. What can I say, they have GREAT taste!
The snack section of the grocery store was pretty impressive! Pretzels, chips, granola and even cupcake mixes for those parents with a little more gumption than me. The section was only three shelves, but I’m assuming that in the future this will increase.I was also stoked to see that I could save even more with my Mariano’s reward card, which I already had, but anyone can sign up for one right at the front of the store before you even begin to shop. It’s super easy, and the card prints out for your convenience right there!
After all of that school lunch shopping, I couldn’t help but wander through the rest of the store to see what piqued my interest. Of course there’s the grilling station for those days where you just can’t imagine turning on your own stove, so you order up great cuts of meat and have someone else do it for you! Unfortunately, I was about three hours too early to have my order done, but it’s great to know for those days where we’re homeschooling outside of the home!
Another great function of the store is the fact that the pharmacy is up front. Or maybe I’m just the random person who thinks this is awesome. I figure you come in, drop your prescription off at the window, do your shopping, and then on your way BACK up to pay, you can pick up your medication. Instead of trekking to the back of the store to shop, and having to bring it back around one more time to pick up the medicine. Seriously, whoever did the planning for this store deserves a big medal.
If that’s not enough, sometimes when you shop, you get to experience flash mobs, of opera singers, dressed like employees. Because your life isn’t awesome enough when you shop.
As always, Mariano’s is on Facebook, Twitter, and they have an Online Community where you can find ideas for recipes and ways to use your favorite foods in new and exciting ways. I assure you that if you follow them on any of these social media outlets, it will be well worth the time spent. Mariano’s will also be hosting a Twitter Party on August 29, from 12-1pm CST, you can RSVP here.
So, what items are your favorites to include in school lunches or snacks for your children that are gluten and peanut free? Share them in the comments below! You can check out more photos from the Jefferson Park Marianos in my Google Plus Album.