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Dairy-free snacks for my little Goldfish lover

Not too long ago, we found out that my four-year-old has a milk allergy. Problem is he remembers eating things like Goldfish crackers, Cheese-Its, etc. - and remembers that he really likes them. He misses them. Another problem is that his daycare keeps putting Goldfish, Cheese-its, Pirate's Booty and the like on their snack rotation. The little man is quite sad that he can't have them (and has been known to sneak a few when he thinks no one's looking...).

I've been looking for dairly-free substitutes of these classic kid snacks. Today I found Earth Balance brand's vegan versions of Pirate's Booty and Cheese popcorn at Whole Foods; woohoo! We tried the knockoff Booty and it's pretty good. I'm still stumped for a Goldfish substitute though. There used to be one (forget the name; I found it online) but they've stopped production. I know, I could make them from scratch, there are several recipes out there but part of the appeal for the four-year-old is that the crackers come out of a package. (Also I just don't have the patience to stamp out and bake goldfish right now). Has anyone seen vegan cheddar crackers anywhere? Preferably in cute little animal shapes?

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  1. I'd suggest also posting this on the special diets board

    1 Reply
    1. re: C. Hamster

      I will, thanks. I've looked a lot online and not found much, so I was sort of hoping there was an artisinal vegan cheese cracker maker lurking somewhere at a farmers market...

      1. re: Science Chick

        +1 to the Eco...They are surprisingly good.
        Also, TJ's has lots of vegan kid-friendly treats. Maybe suggest that the daycare put some of their vegan animal crackers into rotation? Or other options?

        1. re: pinehurst

          Part of the problem too is that other kids bring these items in their lunches/snack, so even if it's not on the daycare's menu it's always around.

          I'll take another look at TJ's, thanks.

        2. re: Science Chick

          That's the one that's been discontinued :-( I emailed to ask them if they distributed in the Boston area & they said that they'd lost their manufacturer & were having trouble finding a new one.

        3. What about the pretzel Goldfish? I don't know if they are dairy free or not, and I know they're not cheesy, but at least they are Goldfish shape...

          2 Replies
          1. re: jbsiegel

            Or original Goldfish. Those are my favorite. They taste like celery salt, yum!

            1. re: jbsiegel

              Sadly, even the pretzel Goldfish have milk protein in them.

            2. First of all I would talk to your son's dietician/nutritionist. They are a HUGE reference for kids will allergies as companies are often tinkering with ingredients so one day a food could be fine and the next it's not.

              Some else posted pretzel goldfish which is the first thing that came to mind. As of today they still have a trace amount of non fat dried milk but again his doc can tell you if this amount is OK
              <MADE WITH SMILES AND WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, UNBLEACHED ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), VEGETABLE OILS (CANOLA, SUNFLOWER AND/OR SOYBEAN), CONTAINS 2 PERCENT OR LESS OF: SALT, BAKING POWDER (SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, BAKING SODA, CORNSTARCH, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE), MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, ENZYMES, NONFAT DRY MILK*. *ADDS A TRIVIAL AMOUNT OF CHOLESTEROL.>>

              then there are Annies classic Bunny crackers, they are dairy free
              <<MADE WITH ONLY THE BEST INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC WHEAT FLOUR, ORGANIC EXPELLER-PRESSED VEGETABLE OIL (SAFFLOWER AND/OR SUNFLOWER), ORGANIC EVAPORATED CANE JUICE, SALT, YEAST EXTRACT, ORGANIC MALT SYRUP, YEAST, ORGANIC NATURAL BUTTER FLAVOR, BAKING SODA, ANNATTO EXTRACT FOR NATURAL COLOR.>>

              And Annies "saltines" (cute heart shapes)
              <<MADE WITH ONLY THE BEST INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC WHEAT FLOUR, ORGANIC EXPELLER-PRESSED VEGETABLE OIL (SAFFLOWER AND/OR SUNFLOWER), ORGANIC EVAPORATED CANE JUICE, SALT, YEAST EXTRACT, ORGANIC MALT SYRUP, YEAST, ORGANIC NATURAL BUTTER FLAVOR, BAKING SODA, ANNATTO EXTRACT FOR NATURAL COLOR.>>

              2 Replies
              1. re: foodieX2

                Hmmm I'd checked the label on the wheat bunnies and thought there was milk protein. I'll look again - not sure about the natural butter flavor.

                I haven't seen the Annie's saltines at Whole Foods, do you know of a store that carries them?

                We know from experience, trace amounts of milk proteins are not OK (though he's alright with "made on shared equipment that processes milk").

                Thanks!

                1. re: gimlis1mum

                  Our WF has the Annie Saltines and so does the "organic/health food" section of our local Stop and Shop or least both have in the past. My son is now 11 and he rolls his eyes at bunnies and hearts, LOL!

                  You could try the store locator on their site:
                  http://www.annies.com/our-products/st...

                  You can also order directly from them or from Amazon but you have to buy quite bit to get free shipping so not sure that would be cost effective.

              2. Any cracker that is "Parve" or has a Kosher symbol for Parve would fit the bill..but its really hard to find fake Cheese flavors...Parve is dairy free.

                1. If you want to fake a cheese flavor at home, nutritional yeast isn't too bad, as it adds a bit of tang. It won't fool anyone, though.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Isolda

                    Yup, pretty sure the Eco brand vegan "cheddar" cracker uses nutritional yeast as the main flavor note

                  2. Does he like (and can he eat) peanut butter? These peanut butter sandwich crackers from Late July appear to be vegan, and are a fun size:

                    http://www.latejuly.com/late_july_org...

                    In the pretzel direction, Utz makes plane-shaped pretzels

                    http://www.utzsnacks.com/store/p-827-...

                    as well as Phineas and Ferb shaped pretzels:

                    http://www.utzsnacks.com/store/p-671-...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: dtremit

                      Hmmm he could have the peanut butter crackers at home, but not at daycare (they're nut-free). I'll try the pretzels. Thanks!

                    2. Bumping this because I found a product at the Chelsea Market Basket this am that just might work! Funley's Cornbread crackers. Small, yellow, hexagonal crackers stamped with a few different designs, mostly faces. To be honest, the faces are a little creepy...but I'm willing to overlook that in something that might possibly satisfy my child's pining for cheese-its.

                      1. No answer to your goldfish issue, but there a bakery in East Arlington - Something Sweet without Wheat that does a lot of dairy free items.

                        1. I have not tried these, but I've been told that the "Original Tings" by Pirate brands taste like cheetos and are vegan. Not sure where to find them in the area but I know you can get them online.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Ladycale

                            I think I've bought them at Market Basket; Whole Foods for sure. DS likes them and think they taste pretty good too :-)

                          2. We have a similar issue at our house. Market Basket has some plain salted corn puffs that worked for us.They're their own brand. They're like Pirate's Booty without the cheese.

                            On the not-at-all-wholesome end of the spectrum, I read that spicy sweet chili doritos are vegan.

                            I'll look for the Funley's cornbread crackers. Are they in the regular cracker section?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: poundcake

                              Thanks for the tip about the corn puffs, I'll look for them. Probably cheaper than the Earth Balance vegan booty. And I'll look into the Doritos, too - my non-milk-allergy kid has been begging for them as a treat but I was afraid he'd feed them to his little brother...

                              Yes, the Funley's were in with the rest of the crackers. Right next to the Back-To-Nature brand stuff, which I also like.

                            2. Reviving an old thread in case you haven't seen this, gimlis1mum - Earth Balance vegan cheddar squares! All my vegan pals who've tried them say they're fab :D Not sure what local stores (WF?) stock it but Vegan Essentials sells them via mail order:
                              http://earthbalancenatural.com/produc...

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Scotpaulabear

                                ooo, thank you!! We've liked a lot of the Earth Balance snacks, I'll have to try the cheddar squares.

                                1. re: Scotpaulabear

                                  Got some today at the Melrose Whole Foods. Little boy LOVED them! They look just like cheese-its, the flavor is more salty than cheesy but if the kid is happy, I'm happy :-)

                                  Thanks again!

                                  1. re: gimlis1mum

                                    No problem! Glad he enjoyed. I'm looking forward to trying these next time I'm back in the States (or convincing a friend to bring a care package in July haha)...