Eat Tight: Tips and Recipes for Kids with Food Allergies

They’re called the Big-8: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. They’re the most common foods that cause allergies, with more than 3 million U.S. cases a year.

They can also wreak havoc on the once-simple act of shopping for and feeding New Jammies kids.

“Peanuts, nuts, and seafood are the most common causes of severe reactions,” says the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Allergies also occur to other foods such as meats, fruits, vegetables, grains, and seeds such as sesame.”

The good news, says the Academy, is food allergies can be outgrown during early childhood.

“Food allergy is more common in children than adults, but many allergies eventually resolve. Among the most common food allergies in children — milk, egg, wheat and soy — often resolve in childhood; peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish allergies can resolve, but are more likely to persist.”

The AAP says an estimated 80-90% of egg, milk, wheat, and soy allergies go away by age 5 years. But some allergies are stubborn.

“For example, 1 in 5 young children will outgrow a peanut allergy and fewer will outgrow allergies to nuts or seafood. Your pediatrician or allergist can perform tests to track your child’s food allergies and watch to see if they are going away.”

The AllergyKids Foundation strives to build community and provide information for people who want to protect the health of their loved ones, especially the 1 in 3 American children with allergies, ADHD, autism and asthma. One goal is to protect families from the additives now found in our food supply.

“We have the solutions to help make your experience easier and a wealth of information about how you and those you love can avoid additives and hidden allergens in many popular foods,” AllergyKids says.

The Foundation wants to restore kids’ health, one bite at a time.

“Take it from us. We have children with allergies, ADHD, autism and asthma, too. Finding safe and healthy solutions by helping to reduce your family’s exposure to food additives is what we’re good at. Let us share our knowledge and ideas.”

One way the AllergyKids Foundation works to build community is through its CARE Training for teachers and staff with food-allergic students. To effectively educate others, parents can partner with their schools by approaching them with a positive, understanding attitude, speaking with them about meals and special events, and packing their lunches and snack packs.

To help schools create a safe environment for food-allergic kids, AllergyKids has developed guidelines for training teachers and staff who supervise students at risk of anaphylaxis ( School nurses are uniquely positioned to implement and/or supervise this training program. Teachers and staff who supervise food-allergic students can receive training on the following topics:

• Comprehending the basics about food allergies.
• Avoidance of the food allergen.
• Recognizing the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
• Emergency Action Plan!

AllergyKids founder, former food anylyst and mother of four Robyn O’Brien, who has been called “food’s Erin Brockovich” by the New York Times and Bloomberg, has been instrumental  in publicizing that food addictives and processes have triggered an allergic reaction in the food industry. By asking, “Are we allergic to food or what’s been done to it?” people are listening.

Her podcast, “Take Out with Ashley & Robyn” can be heard worldwide on iTunes, and her in-depth articles can be read here:

Through her now-famous TEDx talk, she asked, “Do you know what you are eating?” O’Brien tells the story of how she started paying attention to what’s in food. Watch here:

“The answer may surprise you and it will certainly inspire you to be more deliberate about your food choices,” she says.

Kids With Food Allergies, a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, also provides valuable info and recipes to help parents shopping and preparing meals for kids with allergies:

• Always read labels! Product ingredients can change without notice. Do not assume a recipe or product is safe for you. Contact manufacturers to confirm safety for your allergy needs.

• Some recipes can be made “free of” that allergen. You may need to use a substitution or alternative product to make that recipe safe for the allergies you are managing.

• For assistance with a recipe or ingredient substitution, post on Kids With Food Allergies’ Food and Cooking support forums ( Receive personal help to alter a recipe to make it allergy-free for your child’s needs.

• Kids With Food Allergies’ Wonderful Collection of Safe Eats™ provides allergy-friendly recipes online at

This pancake recipe, created by Mark Feblowitz, with an apple cinnamon option that follows, can help solve some food allergy breakfast challenges for New Jammies families:

Egg and Milk-Free Pancakes

1 cup flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup water
1/4-1/3 cup oil
1/3-1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

1. Mix and cook on a well-seasoned, well-heated griddle.

We double this now that our son is a voracious teenager. His favorite variation of this is Apple Cinnamon Pancakes.

Gluten: Gluten is a protein found in specific grains (wheat, spelt, kamut, barley, rye). Other grains are naturally gluten-free but may have cross-contact with gluten-containing grains. Look for certified gluten-free products if you need to avoid gluten. Find out more about wheat and gluten substitutions.

Corn Substitutions: Corn is a common ingredient in products. Starch, modified food starch, dextrin and maltodextrin can be from corn. Consult with your physician to find out which corn derivatives you need to avoid. Many corn-free options are available in the US. Find out more about corn substitutions.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

1 recipe Pancakes, prepared (see above)
Granny Smith Apples, thin-sliced

1. On a well-seasoned, pre-heated griddle put a layer of batter, a layer of sliced apples, a layer of sugar and cinnamon and another layer of batter.
2. The griddle needs to be slightly cooler than you would normally use for pancakes so that it will cook through.

This a variation of Egg and Milk-Free Pancakes, but should work with any safe pancake batter.
Fruity Chicken and Rice Salad

Fruity Chicken and Rice Salad
Courtesy Category: Kristin J

2 cups rice, cooked & cooled
1 medium baked chicken breast, diced
1/3 stalk celery (including leaves), diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup diced red bell peppers (optional)
Zest and juice from one orange
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tsp sugar (optional)
1 tsp dried mustard powder (optional)
to taste salt and pepper

1. In a medium bowl, combine the canola oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper.
2. Add the orange zest and juice, celery and peppers and stir.
3. Add the chicken and rice and mix well.
4. Stir in the cranberries, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

This makes a really good breakfast, since it’s fruity but still has protein in it. You could also omit the chicken and make it a vegetarian meal.

Grilled Veggie 'Impasta' AlfredoGrilled Veggie ‘Impasta’ Alfredo

Courtesy So Delicious Dairy Free

1 1/4 cups So Delicious® Original Coconut Milk Beverage
2 heaping cups cauliflower florets (can include stems)
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp garlic, rough chopped
5 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
4 cups carrots, squash, asparagus, peppers (fun variety of color)

1. Steam (or boil) cauliflower until just fork tender.
2. In a saute pan, over medium heat, add coconut oil, and saute garlic for one minute, then add cauliflower and saute for 2 more minutes, stirring or tossing frequently.
3. Add cauliflower, garlic and remaining ingredients (except for vegetables) to blender or food processor.
4. Blend until smooth sauce consistency is reached, and season to taste. Keep warm over heat in pot.
5. Very lightly oil (whole) vegetables, and grill until just marked, but still snappy.
6. Peel vegetables into long thin (1/2″ max) “pasta” or ribbons.
7. Ladle sauce onto plate or bowl, and place “pasta” on top.

Can be served with fresh basil chiffonade on top, as well as red pepper flakes and nutritional yeast to finish.

Milk and Soy Substitutions: Alternative dairy-free milk beverages and products will work in most recipes. Find out more about milk substitutions and soy substitutions.

Coconut: Although classified by the FDA as a tree nut, coconut is not a common allergen and is not related to tree nuts. If you have a tree nut allergy, consult your physician to find out if you need to avoid coconut.

Blueberry SorbetBlueberry Sorbet

Courtesy Kathy Przywara

8 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed, picked over and dried
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cups fresh lemon juice (optional)
1/2 cups water

1. In a blender, puree blueberries. Transfer to a medium sized pot. Add sugar, lemon juice and water.

2. Bring to boil, remove from heat.
3. Strain into a bowl and set aside to cool.
4. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Other souring agents can be used in place of lemon juice such as amchoor (green mango) powder or ground pomegranate seeds.