NH Mom Psychologist-Turned Entrepreneur Cooks Up a Line of Treats For Children with Food Allergies.
For the parents of the many children suffering from potentially life-threatening food allergies, finding a snack that their kids can enjoy in social situations with other children can be a challenging task. Just ask Jill Robbins. A clinical psychologist and mother of a nine year-old boy, Robbins had trouble finding snacks that her son could eat after he was found to be allergic to a number of foods at the age 18 months. So she started experimenting in the kitchen.
After many years of trial-and-error, she opened Gak’s Snacks ten months ago, providing a resource for other families like her own. At the Gak’s Snacks website and by phone she offers her cookbook and allergen-tested specialized ingredients for those who want to bake, and ready-to-eat baked goods for convenience. Her cookbook, “The Gak’s Snacks Allergy Cookbook: Baked Treats for All Occasions” contains over 100 recipes. From birthday cakes to snack bars to apple pie, there are recipes whole groups or families can enjoy together. The baked goods Gak’s Snacks currently produces are chocolate chip cookies, brownie chip cookies, and apple coffee cake. The cookbook recipes and baked goods are all peanut-free, tree nut-free, egg-free, and dairy-free. They are also made without wheat, and contain no soy except for soy lecithin. "Kids with food allergies ought to be able to have delicious treats and participate in social events that involve food just like everyone else," says Robbins.
In addition to being available through the Gak’s Snacks web site, Gak’s Snacks products are now on the shelves of several markets in New Hampshire, and are also being offered at schools in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. This summer the cookies were served to all of the campers attending the summer day camp program at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. “It’s been great to see schools and camps providing our cookies to their students and campers. That way all the kids can eat the same food together. It’s about inclusion,” Robbins says. Robbins makes it easy for parents and institutions to be enthusiastic about her products: they are whole grain, Kosher pareve, vegan, certified organic, and contain no cholesterol or trans fat. Gak’s Snacks • P.O. Box 491 • Windham, NH 03087 • www.gakssnacks.com • (603) 425-6613 • (800) 552-7172