As long as your child or other family member has a food allergy, you will need to avoid that food. Sometimes that is easier said than done. You will need to become someone who reads every food label and is extra vigilant if the allergy is severe.
Here are some tips for living with allergies:
- Read the label before buying food at the grocery store. Allergens are listed at the end of the ingredient label. People that are very sensitive should avoid foods that state “may have been processed on equipment that processed some other allergen”.
- Look at restaurant menus on line before you leave home. You may find options that work well with the dietary restrictions. You may also find hidden ingredients in foods you might not suspect. Some fast food French fries contain dairy. I know that surprised me when we discovered it.
- Let your server know the dietary restrictions. They may be aware of how the food is prepared and can help with any possible cross contamination issues. They may also be aware of substitutions that the restaurant has on hand for allergies.
- Avoid buffet or family style settings as there may be cross contamination issues. When many people serve themselves it is easy for someone to use the serving utensil from one pan in another pan.
- Fried foods may be a problem as the same oil may be used to fry many different foods.
- Make sure that your child’s school is aware of the allergy. If the allergy is severe, make sure that the school is prepared to help your child in the event of a severe reaction. Many schools now have a policy of outlawing peanut butter and homemade treats to keep everyone safe.
- Work with other families that have the same food restrictions; sometimes they are aware of products that work well as substitutions or you may buy some foods in bulk and share with them.
This information is really just a basic introduction to food allergies. Work with your doctor and a dietitian to help your child lead the best, safest life.