Allergen-Free Food Options For Your Child
If your child has food allergies, what nutritious food options can you prepare that don't trigger an allergic reaction? Learn some options here.
When you have multiple food allergies in the family, it might be challenging to prepare nutritious but safe foods for your child. If you have a baby, it is important for parents to know that early introduction is important.
However, if your child has existing food allergies, avoidance is still the best way to manage them. But avoiding your child’s triggers is easier said than done, especially when you’re dealing with more than one allergen. Food manufacturers often warn you about potential allergens in their packaging, but some allergens may hide under umbrella terms for a group of ingredients like “natural flavorings.”
Safe and Nutritious Allergen-Free Food Options For Your Child
Here are some recommended allergen-free food options if your child has multiple allergies without compromising nutrition:
- Fresh, frozen or canned meats without allergenic ingredients
- Dried beans and peas
- Breads, cereals, crackers, noodles, pasta, rice, and tortillas made without wheat or other allergenic ingredients
- Wheat-free foods or grains available as flours: flaxseed meal, rye, rice, corn, arrowroot, barley, millet, quinoa, tapioca, potato starch, buckwheat, sorghum
- 100% fruit and vegetable juices.
- Margarine without dairy, soy, and other allergenic ingredients
- Butter substitute: coconut oil
- Egg Substitute: apple sauce, pumpkin puree, ripe bananas, chia seeds, ground flax
- Hypoallergenic milk formulas
- Alternative milk beverages made from rice, oat, hemp, pea plant, coconut, or potato
Avoidance and Safety
The cornerstone of treatment for an IgE-mediated food allergy is strict avoidance and nutritional counseling. (Exception: some people with milk or egg allergies can tolerate baked versions of these foods.) A high level of education is needed for multiple people involved in order to maintain safety, including:
- Hidden ingredients
- Early signs of anaphylaxis and when to use epinephrine is very important
How to Read Food Labels
An important step in avoiding allergens is learning how to read food labels. Many allergens can’t be seen and are usually hidden in packaged goods.
Thankfully, there are certain laws and regulations that make identifying food allergies easier. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) for example has ordered that FALCPA-regulated allergens should be indicated in any of these three ways:
- Using the allergen’s common name in the ingredient list.
- Using the word “contains” followed by the name of the allergen.
- When a less common word of the allergen is used, the widely known name of the allergen should be enclosed in parentheses. For example, “Ovalbumin (egg).”
These phrases do not guarantee that they’re made in allergen-free facilities. It is best to ask the manufacturer about the ingredients and manufacturing processes every time you are unsure about a product. Learn more about the FALCPA guidelines here.
Tips For Reading Food Labels:
- Know your child’s allergens and the food they often appear in. Familiarize yourself with the less common names of allergens. Milk, for example, isn’t always stated as milk or dairy. It could be butter, cheese, casein, hydrolysates, or curd.
- Don’t buy food products that don’t include a list of ingredients.
- Exercise caution when buying imported products. Some countries do not follow FALCPA’s food labeling laws.
All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your infant has severe eczema, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.