Finding out you or your kids have a food allergy doesn’t have to be the end of the world or the end of your fun in the kitchen. In fact, one positive way to look at food allergies is to think of it as a challenge to try new and exciting things. Food allergies can make you more conscious as a family of what you put in your bodies and make your meals healthier and more nutritious overall. There are many different types of dietary allergies, but some of the most common include reactions to gluten, milk, and nuts. Thankfully, the community of food allergy awareness is steadily growing and there are plenty of resources and recipes out there for you to try.
The trouble that comes with cooking for kids with gluten allergies is many of the replacement products are loaded with sugar and corn products. No parent wants their kid to have to choose between an allergic reaction with possibly deadly consequences and a life of sugary, corn-loaded processed foods. Instead of trying to recreate recipes that are dependent on gluten, capitalize on dishes that are naturally gluten-free. This means eating a lot of whole fruits and veggies as snacks, as well as healthy gluten-free foods. Some examples would be gluten-free cereals, pasta, and breads as well as anything that can substitute these things. Rice dishes are a huge part of gluten-free diets, and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Rice bowls, rice casseroles and Rice Chex are all satisfying healthy meals for when you have had one too many salads.
Milk allergies and lactose intolerance are incredibly widespread and therefore a little easier to manage than gluten allergies. There are many cultural dishes and vegan recipes that are tailored to a dairy free lifestyle. Many traditional Jewish or Asian dishes like matzo ball soup and kung pao chicken are specifically made to be dairy free. If you have some time on your hands, the best dairy free bread is the bread you make in your home. It’s not as hard as it seems and can even be made gluten free as well. Often, you just use rice flower and substitute milk for alternative binders. If you aren’t about to make your own, many ciabatta breads are made without milk and can be found in any local bakery. Ciabatta is delicious and hearty, especially when smeared with a little bit of pesto and toasted. Dairy free breakfast can be as simple as bacon and scrambled eggs, or swapping milk for an almond or coconut based alternative.
When meal planning for the whole family, it can be a challenge to serve allergy-free foods to a wide array of picky eaters. Try to plan ahead and come to the store with a list in hand. If you know what you are shopping for, it is less overwhelming than squinting at the ingredients list on every product. Be inclusive and fair in your meal preparation. Remember that allergies can be incredibly dangerous, but that doesn’t mean you have to be scared. Arm yourself with a detailed knowledge of your diet and few good recipes to fall back on.
This is a featured post by site supporter Anne Davis
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Editor’s note: This article is presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. If you have any health concern, see a licensed healthcare professional in person.