By Kristen Chandler
One thing I learned early in my and my children’s food allergy journey is that most snack foods and prepared frozen meals contain allergens. It’s even more difficult when you have multiple allergens to avoid like our family does. The selection of allergy-friendly foods is clearly expanding—I know there are more options available than there were eight years ago when we were just beginning our food allergy journey—but compared to foods that contain allergens, allergy-friendly options are still limited. They are also expensive, sometimes costing twice as much or more than regular foods. And my family lives in a rural area with no health food stores nearby, making allergy-friendly foods even harder to find. While it may not be as quick and convenient as picking something up at the supermarket, the cheaper and safer alternative is to prepare as much food as possible at home.
While the ingredients may require some tweaking or substitutions, there are plenty of recipes for kids with food allergies available. We have many of them in our database here on the My Kid’s Food Allergies website, and I’m going to share a few of my family’s favorites here.
When looking for new recipes, there are a couple of things I take into consideration. First of all, they need to be free of our family’s allergens of course, or the allergens that are included can be easily substituted with safe ingredients. Second, I try to find recipes that my children can help me make. They love to help out in the kitchen, and I think it’s important to include them while I’m cooking. Not only does this teach them basic cooking skills, but it helps teach them to manage their own food allergies as well.
Here are a few of my family’s favorite recipes for kids with food allergies, with links to the ingredients and cooking instructions:
My son is allergic to eggs and milk, which makes his selection of breakfast foods very slim. Most all frozen toaster waffles and pancakes contain milk and/or egg, and it took me a while to find a recipe that worked well without using egg. I really like this recipe. I prefer to use unsweetened soy or almond milk and agave nectar instead of maple syrup. My kids like to add Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips to the batter to give them a little flavor.
This is one of the first recipes I mastered. I have probably made these cookies hundreds of times. I make a bunch and take them to different events, and several people who don’t even have food allergies have asked me for the recipe because these cookies are that good! And the kids love helping me make them, too.
Until recently, the only frozen treat I could find to purchase besides popsicles was Italian Ice. Ice cream made with coconut and almond milk are becoming more popular, thus more available, but it’s cheaper to make it at home. And you can make it in bulk and freeze to have on hand for later. You can substitute just about any fruit (or chocolate dairy-free milk or pumpkin puree, etc.) to make the flavor of your choice.
This is just a DIY way to make Italian Ice, rather than buy it. You can use fresh or frozen fruit, and you can use just about any fruit you wish. Get creative and make some fun flavors!
These are easy to make and a great alternative to a sandwich in the kids’ lunchboxes.
Since my son is allergic to milk and also beef, the popular version of these aren’t an option for us. The sausages used contain beef and the biscuits contain milk. However, Pillsbury crescent rolls are dairy-free, and I usually alternate between using non-beef hot dogs if I’m making them for a snack, lunch or dinner and pork sausage if I’m making them for breakfast.
These are just a few of my family’s favorite recipes. You can find more recipes like these in our My Kid’s Food Allergies recipe database. Also, if you have a favorite recipe for kids with food allergies that is not on our site, you are welcome to submit it. We love sharing! There are also several great recipes that we love on Pinterest as well!
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