Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Part 3: Cooking and Eating Out: What to eat and What to ask.

Welcome to the third part of my food allergy series.  Here are Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them. This post is all about food. One of the first things you have to learn when dealing with food allergies is what to eat and not eat. This is a constant learning process because ingredients are always changing.  There are a tremendous amount of books and websites that deal with cooking for food allergies. Once again, I’m going to highlight the resources I go to most often and that have helped me learn how to cook for my food allergic child.  
Kids with Food Allergies

I have to mention this website again. I listed them in Part 2, but they have a wonderful recipe database that can be live saving when dealing with multiple food allergies.  Check out this link for information on basic substitutions for different allergens.

 Food Allergy Mama

Talk about delicious recipes!!  I have not been let down but Kelly Rudnicki’s creations.  Her recipes are Nut, Dairy & Egg Free, but they can easily be changed to fit other needs.  Her book “The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking Book” is a wonderful collection of her recipes.  As I’m typing this my house is filled with the smells of her banana bread recipe!  I use her recipes at least a few times a month.

       Peanut Free Planet

This is a great site to shop for ingredients and special items. Everything they sell is peanut free. They also updated their site so you can limit your search based on other allergens.  Great place to stock up on sunbutter because they carry the 5 lb. tubs.  Some other items we really enjoy from this site are the AllerEnergy Bars and AllerEnergy Marshmallows.

     Allergy Grocer  

This is another wonderful site to sop for ingredients and special items. They have a great search engine to limit your search based on allergens or type of diet. I get my corn-free powdered sugar and baking powder from this website.

Learn to cook.   

      This is not a website, just my suggestion. The best thing you can do for your family with food allergies is learn to cook and teach your family how to cook. You don’t have to cook fancy meals, the simplest things are the best. This way you know what is going into your families body. 

Now I know times are busy and you don’t always have time to cook from scratch. Here are a few of my go to processed foods that we use to get us through those days.

Please remember to read ingredient labels every time you buy something. Things change without notice. Also ingredients can be very different on the different varieties of similar products. I can not stress reading the label, even if you have bought it in the past. Recently my son's favorite bagel changed their ingredients and now use corn flour. So now I'm on the search for a safe bagel for him again.

If you need help learning how to read food labels for allergens, check out this post or this post.

Now eating out can be a difficult adventure when you have a food allergy. My biggest piece of advice is to find a few local restaurants that you can trust and use them. We hardly ever eat out. But before we do here are the things I do.

     Check web site for restaurant.  Many restaurants have nutrient and/or allergy information.

     Call the restaurant.  Do not just go by the web site information. Things change and the site does not allow get updated. Talk to a manager or the chef and discuss the food allergens you need to avoid.  Emphasize that the problem can be fatal and make sure they understand the risk of cross-contamination. If you do not feel confident after talking to the manager, do not eat at the restaurant.

       If you feel your needs will be met then once you arrive at the restaurant, speak to the manager and/or chef and review all the ingredients and procedures again. Do not hold this discussion with the wait person, you need to talk to the person making the food or responsible for the kitchen procedures.

Next week we will look at going to school. What type of things you need to ask to make your child's education safe.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The posts on this blog do not constitute medical and/or legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Always discuss individual health questions, concerns and medical issues with a qualified personal physician.


  1. Review your weekly grocery store ads, most grocery stores put out their weekly specials on Wednesdays just in time to plan on a your shopping list. Purchase items on sale. Be sure to check your pantry and write down any necessary spices or rubs that your recipe calls for. This help avoid duplicating what you already have.

    Healthy cooking tips

  2. Interesting and useful once again, thank you :)