Snack Guidelines for All School

Each day assisting parents bring a nutritious snack for the class. Snack time is a lively yet relaxing time where students and teachers can sit together, and enjoy some nourishment and conversation. Park West, like other schools, has many children with allergies. Some of these allergies are life threatening. In order to do the utmost to protect all of the children in our care, meet Illinois State licensing regulations, and serve healthy, nutritious foods, Park West has thoughtfully developed the following snack guidelines.

We understand our guidelines may feel too restrictive, and some of you may feel we are being overly cautious. Our goal is to keep every child at school as safe as we can. Park West has no nurse on staff. Allergy issues around food are complicated, serious, and an added duty and concern for parents and teachers. We have worked to create a snack policy that is clear, understandable and practical so that adherence is manageable by parents and teachers. Thank you for your cooperation and vigilance.

We encourage parents to bring fresh fruit and veggies for snack. The exceptions are listed below. We find that produce, with or without a few crackers, will suffice for a snack. Filtered tap water is available at school and is served with every snack.

Due to the inconsistency of accurate (and changing) information available on the ingredient labels of crackers, only very specific crackers will be allowed for snack. No substitutions will be allowed, even when ingredient labels read the same. The approved crackers are listed at the end of the snack guidelines.

All food must arrive at school in sealed packages with a legible ingredient label. JK - Please do not send large “Costco” sized boxes of crackers. Once the box is open we can not serve the remaining contents even if they are individually wrapped.

All food preparation must be done at school, so please don’t wash, cut or prep food at home. Food from bulk bins or salad bars is not allowed.

*Please note: The 3rd floor team room/library is NOT an allergy free zone. This area may contain nut products, dairy, and wheat or other items to which children may be allergic.



The following are NEVER SERVED at Park West:

- Nuts (peanuts, tree nuts), nut oils, or nut particles and any product that has been made in a facility which processes nuts and that may cause cross contamination will not be served.

- Hummus, garbanzo beans, or products with sesame will not be served due to the possibility of cross reactivity in children with allergies.

- Dairy is not served in any form, including milk, cheese or yogurt. 

- Popcorn, raisins, hard pretzels and dried fruit – all choking hazards – will not be served. 


So what can parents bring for snack? 


Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh or packed in water. Not dried.

Not limited to the following, but here are some ideas:


- apples

- apricots

- bananas

- blackberries

- blueberries

- cantaloupe

- clementines

- cucumber

- dates

- edamame

- grapefruit

- honey dew melon

- nectarines

- oranges

- peaches

- peppers

- pears

- plums

- pineapple

- radishes

- raspberries

- tangerines

- tomatoes

- watermelon

- zucchini


For JK only: grapes, raw peas, carrots are allowed (these items are choking hazards for children under four years) 



- General Mills: Rice Chex, Corn Chex , Original Kix

- Kellogg’s Brand: Original Crispix



- Back to Nature - Crispy Wheat Crackers

- Back to Nature - Classic Round 

- Back to Nature - Harvest Whole Wheats 

- Back to Nature - Harvest Whole Wheat Crackers 

- Back to Nature - Organic Stoneground Wheat 

- Back to Nature - Organic Saltine Crackers 

- Keebler Club – Original, Reduced Fat, Minis Original

-- Keebler Wheatables – Golden Wheat, Toasted Honey Wheat 

- Nabisco Premium Soup & Oyster Crackers 

- Ritz - Original 

- Town House – Original, Wheat, Reduced Fat 

- Triscuit – Original, Reduced Fat, Hint of Salt 

- Westminster - Original Saltine Crackers and Oyster Crackers 26 

- Wheat Thins – Original, Hint of Salt


Graham Crackers

- Back to Nature - Honey Graham sticks 

- Nabisco Honey Maid – Honey, Low Fat Honey



- Rold Gold – Thins, Sticks, Rods, Tiny Twists, Lightly Salted Tiny Twists 

- Newman’s Own – Salted Sticks, Salted Pretzel Rounds, Unsalted Pretzel Rounds, Spelt Pretzels Chips 



- Simply 7 - Quinoa Chips (Sea Salt) 



- GimMe Organic Roasted Seaweed Snacks- Sea Salt 

- The Original Sea Snax- organic Roasted Seaweed Snack 


Please note: These options are very specific, and MUST be only as listed here. Various flavors of pretzels and crackers are not permitted, so please pay attention to the wording we have included (i.e. “original” or “classic style”).

Also, please make a habit of checking the labels of even the listed items for allergy warnings, as information changes regularly.


Quotes from Our Park West Family

"Park West will give you an amazing understanding of childhood education that you won't get anywhere else. The faculty, the classrooms, Jane. It's a special place, and you'll be a better parent for going there."

—KK Neilsen C., former parent