Overwhelmed with your child’s food allergy diagnosis? These 7 tips will help!
This post is part of the Dear Mom Letters series.
Last week I wrote a letter to moms of kids with food allergies. Among my family of 5, we deal with gluten, dairy, egg and tree nut allergies. I feel your pain, Mama. I really do.
Today I’ve decided to give 7 tips for moms of kids with food allergies.
I wanted to take the inspirational to the practical level. Especially for you newbies, I know life with food allergies can be utterly overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems.
Two years into this food-allergy-mom gig,
here are my tips for moms of kids with food allergies:
1. Make a list of the foods your child can eat.
This list will help you look on the positive. Even if it’s just one food–it’s one food he can consume that will nourish his little body. Try to focus on the positive and forget about the negative.
Not sure where to start? This baby food allergy site is very helpful.
2. Check out food allergy blogs.
Most of these are run by mamas who have been in your shoes; most of them still are in your shoes!
Some of my favorite food-allergy focused blogs include:
Chocolate Covered Katie: This is a healthy desserts blog, but she used to be vegan, so a LOT of her recipes are dairy free, and most of them are gluten-free as well. She includes subs for a lot of the major allergens.
In addition, know that most of the recipes I post on this blog are gluten, egg, dairy and tree nut- free. You can browse my Recipe Index here.
3. Meal plan.
I won’t pretend that this won’t be one of the most frustrating parts of your week–at least until you get the hang of things. Making that list I suggested in tip #1–and adding to it specific meals and not just foods–will be crucial to meal planning success.
Here’s a post with meal planning tips to help you get started. A really great meal planning resource for ANY homemaker is Stephanie Langford’s Plan It, Don’t Panic.
4. Always keep on hand quick, portable snacks your kids can eat.
You don’t want to get stuck somewhere with a hungry child and nothing to feed him or her because there is no store nearby that sells what he can eat. I like to keep rice cakes or rice crackers on hand. Fresh fruit–as long as it won’t spoil!–is an excellent choice. Here’s a list of 101 healthy snack ideas (many of which are portable!)
5. Keep some special treats for your child in the freezer.
I like to keep this garbanzo bean chocolate cake, which is gluten, dairy, egg and tree nut free, made up into cupcakes. They are always ready to be thawed out any time my girls are invited to a birthday party or other special celebration. I just have to whip up a quick batch of dairy-free cake icing to top them–or, sometimes, I just sprinkle them with some dairy-free chocolate chips.
6. Notify your child’s preschool, school, church nursery or other activity-group leaders of your child’s allergy.
This is crucial. I cannot emphasize it enough! I have heard too many horror stories of children accidentally ingesting an allergen-food while at school or church.
It would be nice if all of these groups would provide allergy-free snacks, but very few have the resources to do so. Be prepared, and send your child with his own snack.
We also send our gluten-free girl with her own playdough, as commercial playdough contains gluten.
7. Join an Allergy-Friendly Support Group.
These groups are popping up all over Facebook, and there are even some areas with real-life meet-ups! I think it’s really helped me not to feel alone to have some friends–both online and in person–who also have children with food allergies. We share recipes and just serve as listening ears for each other.
Lastly, don’t forget to pray. I sometimes forget that God has all the answers–even when I feel like there are none! Take your burdens to Him and be enveloped in His grace, even in the midst of difficult circumstances–like while dealing with food allergies.
I’m not going to pretend that I don’t experience both fear and frustration about food allergies on a regular basis. I do. Prayer helps.