Kids with Nut Allergies: Learn How to Keep Your Child Safe

Page content

Overview

It isn’t always easy to feed your children. One child may be willing to eat everything you put on the table while another one is your “picky eater.” After trial and error, you find foods your children like and you stock up on these. One day, when you feed your family, one of your children develops mysterious symptoms. You may chalk that up to illness. He gets sick again, but this time, it’s a little worse. You may not think of a possible food allergy until you’re in the emergency room with your child, talking to medical personnel.

Communication

It’s difficult for your child with food allergies to see other children enjoying foods he can’t even touch. Foods like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, peanut butter cookies, ice cream bars with peanuts, chips and snack foods are off-limits to him.

When you talk to him about the foods he can and cannot eat, try not to focus on words like, “You can’t eat this.” Instead, tell him, “You know, other kids with nut allergies get to enjoy some pretty tasty foods.”

It’s difficult to think in positive terms about a food allergy, but if you can reframe how you talk to your child, you can help him learn how to handle it in a more positive way, says Terry Traub, author of “Food to Some, Poison to Others.” [3] While he can’t have snacks like ants on a log (celery filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins), he can have fruit pieces dipped in yogurt or an alternative to ants on a log: sunflower butter or soynut butter on celery with raisins, writes Kids With Food Allergies. [1] When you approach the issue in a way that says, “Sure there are foods you have to avoid, but look at the other delicious foods you can enjoy.” Try to replace what he can’t eat with foods he can, so he doesn’t feel as left out.

Focus on Foods the Child Can Eat

Start focusing on the foods your child can eat, beginning with a safe, healthy breakfast. Instead of preparing snacks and meals for this child separately from the rest of the family, encourage everyone in your family to enjoy the foods your child with allergies can enjoy. If you try to keep everything separate, he will continue to feel different. He’ll continue to miss being able to eat the foods you and your family are able to enjoy and adjusting to reality will be much more difficult.

With this in mind, feed “safe” meals and snacks to everyone in your family. You help your child feel included. As he sees you eating the same foods he is eating, he may actually start to feel as if he is a regular kid, says Traub.

As you look for allergy-free foods your child can enjoy, you may start to think, “These actually sound tasty!” Communicate this attitude to your child so he knows his “special, allergy-free” foods won’t be boring, [3]

Educational Flashcards

Families with a child who suffers from food allergies should buy flashcards that spell out different situations surrounding food allergies, as well as information about food allergies.

The “Beyond a Peanut” flashcards help children understand that managing their food allergy includes reading labels and learning about cross-contamination.

Cross-contamination means allowing traces of a dangerous food – nuts – to come into contact with a food that is safe. For instance, if you make a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich for one child’s school lunch, wipe the knife that you used to spread the peanut butter and use it to cut a fruit bar for your allergic child, when he eats that fruit bar at lunch, he will have a potentially serious allergic reaction.

The “Beyond a Peanut” flashcards are user-friendly and come bound in a 3-ring binder. Each card introduces a different situation to children, caregivers, teachers and parents. The cards can be used as an interactive tool, teaching children about potentially unsafe situations and foods (birthday parties with allergy causing foods and adults uneducated about food allergies). The cards should offer better information about talking to servers at restaurants and how to alert adults to an allergic reaction that is in progress, according to About. [2]

Safe Snack Ideas

When your children come home from school, they are hungry. This includes your child with food allergies – he needs safe, healthy snacks just as much as his siblings without allergies. As you find foods he can eat and eliminate those that are dangerous for him, make a list of the good foods. Use these to come up with healthy, nutritious and tasty snack ideas.

These include: rice cakes with soy or sunflower butter; air-popped popcorn topped with oil, fruit kabobs, toasted whole-wheat tortillas served with bean dip, guacamole or salsa; sesame-free hummus on whole-grain pita bread or crackers; frozen banana treats with yogurt or smoothies blended with frozen berries, low-fat milk or soy milk and a banana, suggests Kids With Food Allergies. [1]

Safe School Lunches

Safe and tasty snacks can include the turkey, bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich with pesto sauce or the barbeque Asian chicken sandwich with cranberry dressing. Both of these suggestions are egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and corn-free, according to Traub. [3]

These sandwiches (and others like them) are nutritious, tasty and very different from the run-of-the-mill sandwiches on white bread children take to school. While you have to think carefully (and shop even more carefully), you will be able to find and make tempting lunch box offerings that your child will look forward to. As your child learns to adjust to his disorder, he’ll be helped by knowing that other kids with nut allergies are enjoying similar foods.

References

[1] https://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=139&title=healthy_allergy_friendly_snacks Kids With Food Allergies: Healthy Snacks for Kids with Food Allergies

[2] https://foodallergies.about.com/od/nutallergies/gr/beyondapeanut.htm About: Beyond a Peanut Flashcards

[3] https://newsblaze.com/story/20080829135521tsop.nb/topstory.html News Blaze: Back To School Meal Planning: Sanity Saving Advice for Healthy, Easy Meals