Updated: Oct 23, 2018
Being faced with the knowledge that you or a loved one has a food allergy or intolerance can be a daunting reality. What does this mean for you and your family? What foods will you need to avoid? What foods are safe to eat? Where do you even begin?
I have compiled a list of tips that I hope will help you along your way:
1. Learn to read food labels.
This point is probably the most important of all as it will provide you with the tool you need to identify which foods are safe to eat. Watch out for upcoming posts from Allergy Well for more information on label reading.
2. Use suitable replacements in your cooking.
Today there is a huge variety of ready to use foods that are allergy friendly. Some of these include gluten free pasta, pizza bases, bread, biscuits and flour; dairy free milk, yoghurt, cream and cheese and commercial egg replacements. You can still enjoy most of your favourite foods or a variation of them.
3. Don’t expect that food will taste exactly the same as before.
The chances are that it won’t. Look upon this as a way to enjoy new flavours, try new foods and experiment in the kitchen.
4. Try new recipes.
There are hundreds of recipes online that cater for most food allergies and the great thing is they have already been tried and tested so you don’t have to end up with yet another batch of failed muffins.
5. Make your own sauces and dressings.
If you have ever looked at the ingredients list on sauces and dressings, you will find that they contain a lot of items and usually one of them will be what you are allergic to. I found making my own to be a great way to ensure our food still tasted great without all the worry.
6. Be prepared.
Don’t let yourself be caught in a situation where there is shared food and you or your loved one is not confident in what they can or cannot eat. Ring ahead to check what food will be available and bring something along that you know is safe.
7. You can still enjoy eating out.
Many restaurants and cafes are considerate towards allergies and intolerances. It will require choosing the right type of restaurant and checking the menu ahead of time. It is a good idea to ask to speak to the chef once you arrive to find out what on the menu is suitable or if they can make something that is. The decision about whether to eat out or not will come down to how confident you are feeling and the severity of your allergy. If its all too overwhelming just enjoy the company, atmosphere, a good coffee and the great sandwich you brought from home.
8. Take any allergy medication everywhere with you.
Ensure you store any medication you require somewhere it will not be forgotten such as in your handbag or nappy bag. Be aware that an epipen needs to be stored at room temperature so avoid leaving it in the car.