Child food allergy? When raisins just don’t rock it!
Being a Dietitian comes hand-in-hand with healthy eating, but being the Mum of a 5 year old with multiple food allergies has sent me on a mission to find alternative food and treats to keep a smile on my daughter’s face! I now realise that living with food allergy is as much a social challenge as a dietary challenge. Parties, picnics, play dates aaaaaaaaaaaaaarrgh! And school dinners??!!
Having worked as a Dietitian and being familiar with food allergy avoidance, I confidently march into the supermarket ……. an hour and a half later I’m tired and my trolley is only half full. What??? Checking food labels has zapped my energy, my hope is gone, do I really want to be confined to the ‘free from’ section? Big business for supermarkets, big trouble for my purse.
Since 2014 food labelling has changed, 14 allergens have to be highlighted on the ingredients list, which does make choosing foods easier. However, these days everyone knows someone with a food allergy or intolerance and ‘gluten free’ has become an everyday phrase. On more occasions than one my daughter has been offered gluten free products (although she does not have a gluten intolerance or allergy) which contain other ingredients that she is allergic to. I now mainly rely on home baking which I find to be cheaper and safer, although there are a surprising amount of alternative foods out there once you know where to look!
My top tip is to plan ahead; a packed lunch for long road trips, dairy free chocolate and homemade fairy cakes for parties, dairy free ice cream for the occasional playdate. These things all help my daughter feel that she’s not missing out.
I now want to help other parents who have found themselves thrust into the world of food allergy. There are some great alternatives out there for your child, it’s not all rice cakes and raisins. Going to the supermarket during those first weeks doesn’t have to be daunting and disappointing.