Preventing food allergy reactions can be difficult and tiring as a parent with your little one under your own watch, let alone when your child is in the care of someone else. Food labels are confusing, and not everyone understands the severity of food allergies. Sonya North, an Ohio-based mother, engineer and former digital marketing product manager, recognized a need for change and took action, creating an online tool geared toward helping kids with food allergies. This program, called SnackRoots, could revolutionize the way you find and share allergy-friendly foods. The app enables users to make shareable lists of safe snacks, protecting kids from allergens while also raising food allergy awareness.
Two of Sonya’s children live with several life-threatening food allergies, which account for five of the top eight allergens. Sonya watched as parents provided unsafe snacks for children with food allergies after events. She started sharing about food allergies in the community and joined a task force to revise her children’s local school system’s allergy guidelines in attempt to raise awareness. Sonya realized that many people wanted to accommodate children with food allergies but were uncertain about how they could do so. Many parents of food-allergic kids still find themselves scratching their heads at food labels at times, and the process of finding safe treats is even harder for people who are unfamiliar with food allergy safety.
Sonya decided she needed to find a way to help parents find safe foods for kids so they too could enjoy snacks at parties, in classrooms and on teams with relative ease. She started out making lists by hand for local parents, teachers and coaches, until she came up with the idea for SnackRoots.
How Does SnackRoots Work?
To create a digital list of safe snacks, simply click the “Let’s Go!” button on the SnackRoots page then follow the prompt to give your list a name. Next, you will be given the option to choose any ingredients you need to avoid, including the following allergens:
- Tree nuts
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Once you have chosen the ingredient(s) your child is allergic to, a list will be created with allergy-free snacks so you can share via email and/or shop from. Once a list is made, it can be edited, and you can make as many lists as you like. Although the idea of the app is geared toward raising awareness and sharing safe food lists with ease, this is an excellent resource for finding safe foods for your kid to eat without standing in the grocery aisle, reading labels for hours on end.
Sonya’s app is a free web-based app so you don’t need to download anything to your phone. The website is mobile friendly, to boot. SnackRoots does make its money through affiliate links, so you can support the cause by purchasing snacks directly through Amazon links on the site. In an effort to end food allergies altogether, North donates a portion of her proceeds to End Allergies Together, a non-profit focused on finding a cure for the growing epidemic of food allergies.
In an interview with a local news channel, Sonya mentioned that “no one misses the good old days when kids could show up to a party and eat anything more than food allergy parents.” The hope is that this app will change how food allergies are approached at food-related activities and celebrations.