Smart Cookie

A proactive mom puts a healthy spin on packaged children’s treats.
Partake Foods
Kids approve of Partake’s allergen-safe cookies.

by Julia Szabo

Cookies are a social food, but cookie-sharing is high risk for children with food allergies, as Denise Woodard discovered shortly after her daughter’s first birthday. Little Vivi’s nausea and vomiting, misdiagnosed as “a stomach bug,” turned out to be Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES): “It typically affects kids under 3,” Woodard says, “but it’s hard to pinpoint the trigger food, because the reaction doesn’t hit until two to four hours after eating it—then they vomit until they go into shock.”

Dissatisfied with the purity of packaged snacks, Woodard resolved to make her own. One year of recipe development later, her company, Partake Foods, went to market with three exquisitely crunchy flavors: Sprouted Grain Chocolate Chip, Carrot Oat, and Sweet Potato Millet.

Free of soy, eggs, dairy, and nuts, the cookies contain no gums or stabilizers, and 30 percent less sugar than the competition. Partake’s chief taste tester is now 3, the age at which most kids outgrow FPIES, but Vivi shows no sign of losing interest in the delicious treats she inspired, downing them two at a time as a cookie sandwich, with Kite Hill vegan cream cheese.