When our son, Morgan, was first diagnosed, we certainly ate more packaged foods than we do now. And I’ve found that cooking almost all of our food from scratch really eliminates the problem of what to feed a food allergic child. Thankfully, with a large freezer in our garage, I can prepare a lot of foods at once and freeze meals.
Regardless of what your child is allergic to, if you cook from scratch you will know EXACTLY what is in your child’s food. We eat pretty basic meals of a meat (chicken, turkey, beef, and fish), potato or rice, veggies and fruit for dessert. Of course, if your child is allergic to any of these items, you’ll need to make some substitutions. My daughter, Michaela, can’t eat beef; however she can eat fish – but that’s one of Morgan’s major allergens. So on the nights when Morgan eats a steak, we cook fish on the grill for Michaela. We are vigilant to not cross contaminate his steak by using separate grilling space and a separate spatula.
My family loves corn; however I am allergic to it. So, I’ll prepare a separate vegetable for myself. Or, I’ll just prepare several vegetables and everyone gets leftovers the next night. It does require more preparation and more cooking time, but for us it works.
We found that trying to find prepared foods that were safe for everyone was impossible. Our family rarely can all eat the same foods, so food preparation has become part of our day.
I do have cookbook listings here and there are several with recipes free of the top 8 food allergens.
In terms of lunches, we’ve found that all the schools have a microwave available to heat up meals. This allows for leftovers to be brought for lunch. We’ve also done ham roll ups, safe crackers, fruit and potato chips for a lunch. As Morgan’s appetite continues to grow, packing enough food for lunch is sometimes a struggle! We’ll be packing twice as much food soon to keep up with him.
Many parents with food allergic children choose to make most of their own food rather than purchasing store bought food. This can relieve the anxiety of possible cross contamination in production lines, and can also provide a more varied diet for children with multiple allergies.
For other recipe ideas, check out the following:
Kids With Food Allergies is an online support group and community with a recipe database here There are thousands of recipes that are marked as to whether they are dairy free, nut free, seed free, etc. This resource is superb!