The Allergy Friendly Lunchbox

By : | 0 Comments | On : January 18, 2016 | Category : Blog, Food Preparation, Intolerance, Tips from Mums

The Allergy Friendly Lunchbox

5 of our favourite allergy friendly recipes:

If eating party food or out at a restaurant could cause a life threatening reaction to your child you could understand why daycare, school play dates and parties for a child with a food allergy can cause stress and anxiety on a daily basis. One in 20 children suffer from food allergies and many more experience food intolerance reactions. Empowering yourself with knowledge, educating your children and their caregivers right from the start, and choosing to be as organised as possible can make it a little more manageable, allow you to feel more ‘in control’ and confident.

Our top tips to managing food allergies and intolerances when out and about:

–       Involve your child with their food allergies as early as possible
–       Encouraging your child to understand food labelling and ingredient lists, ask questions about food
–       If required, ensure you take your EpiPen out with you
–       Educate family and friends on appropriate management and safe food handling
–       Research a wide variety of websites and cookbooks for appropriate recipes
–       Learn how to adapt recipes using alternative ingredients to encourage variety and enjoyment from food
–       Start building your own file of all the successful recipes you have prepared
–       Cook in bulk and have a freezer full of appropriate snacks, party food and meals
–       Choose restaurants and cafes who serve appropriate meals or who are willing to cater for your child’s allergies and/or intolerances

Tips for friends and family:

–       If you care for a friend or a relative’s child with a food allergy make sure you are educated in the allergy including, safe and unsafe foods as well as the appropriate care and management of allergic reactions
–       Before offering food to children ask them or their parents/carers if it is food that is suitable for them to eat first
–       Remind parents to let you know of any allergies or intolerances when organising parties, get togethers or play dates
–       If you are unable to cater suitably for allergies, kindly ask if the parents could bring along appropriate food for their child.

Tips from parents:

Our growing One Handed Cooks community on Facebook kindly shared their top tips on managing lunchboxes, play dates and parties for their children who suffer from a wide variety of severe food allergies and intolerances.

  • “I tend to take enough homemade food and snacks for son no matter where we go, so that there is never a question of not being able to eat something nice, which removes any stress. In all honesty, it has been fine to manage (so far) because homemade food using fresh produce is the healthiest and best option regardless of allergies. It does take planning and preparation, and the freezer is definitely my best friend so I’m not baking every other day. But, so far it’s been no extra effort than I would expect to give my child a healthy diet anyway.” – Becky
  • “I always pack my son’s own lunch and snacks if he has a birthday party to go to or if we are going out. I cook all his meals so I know exactly what is in his food. He has been educated about his allergies and he knows not to take food from anyone especially things without labels on them. Never assume that the food is safe and always read the labels on everything. Teach family members how to use an EpiPen.” – Anita
  • “From day one we taught our daughter to check ingredients and ask about ingredients. She was taught if she didn’t know the brand or ingredients don’t eat it. We have not made a big fuss of it so it’s like it’s part of every day life and she’s no different. We tell people when we accept invitations that she’s allergic and offer to bring her food and everyone thanks us for saying something up front and they cook to her needs. It’s important kids don’t feel different so don’t make a song and dance about it.” – Nicolle
  • “Whenever we have gatherings at our house, all food we prepare is safe for our daughter. Guests know what to expect – even her birthday party cake was egg and dairy-free! We hope she will grow out of the allergies as she gets older. As she becomes more cognisant of food ingredients, we’ll educate her about what she can eat, and signs of an allergic reaction so she can let an adult know.” – Nicola
  • “We have never really had packaged food in the house so that hasn’t been an issue and I just prepare/cook everything for him. I think being organised and bulk cooking is the key. I find basic recipes that work and change the veg and meat etc. for variation.” – Suzy
  • “I make all her food for day care and play dates; and I try and make it as ‘normal’ looking as possible as to what other toddlers her age are eating. I also plan to get her involved in making her food as she gets older so she has greater awareness about her safe foods. At the end of the day I have just had to become a more creative cook but at least I finally got the justification to buy a thermomix!  I just want to finish by saying ‘well done’ to all you amazing parents of kids with allergies – it’s a bloody tough road!” – Kate
  • “Both my children (4 & 5) are aware of their allergies and know not to accept food from anyone unless checking with mum or dad first. I never leave the house without pre made food and rarely have packaged food. I’m now finding that controlling the food isn’t a problem but what they come into contact is i.e. touching railings, shopping trolleys, kids play centres, other kids hands etc.” – Helen
  • “From very early I purchased an esky for my son, and always take his food in that. I find it easier to cater for him, so I will prepare food and take it to parties for him. He is now 3 years old and he will ask for his “esky” and knows to go to his esky to get food. We have also explained that certain foods make him sick in his belly and have spent a lot of time explaining that he can’t have cows’ milk, and why.” – Nathan
  • “Planning is my best strategy and teaching myself to cook healthy delicious meals with dietary limitations”. – Lynda
  • “We pack my son’s own food for events and when we arrive he knows to ask if food provided contains these foods, he is also very good at being aware of keeping away from others that are eating these allergens. We don’t request others go without his allergens, just that they wash their hands and have something to eat/drink after eating them.” – Cassandra
  • “My 5yo has dealt with allergies and intolerances since she was 2. At her kindy that supplied food, we took her lunch and always talked to her about why she had a special lunchbox. I made all her things and she usually helped. If we were somewhere where something was offered we would talk about why she couldn’t have it and I would say ‘but we can make one you can have when we get home’. This made a huge difference to her acceptance and she loved helping me make her safe alternatives.” – Nadia
  • “As a rule I take his food wherever we go. I have discovered that you cannot assume something is ok for him to eat by the name of product e.g. rice crackers. Must always read the labels.” – Jodie
  • “My son has an anaphylaxis peanut allergy. When we go to playgroup they have told me to always go and get my sons morning tea first. For play dates, I try to organise somewhere where I know that food is safe. If I go to someone’s house I ask if I can bring the snacks, if it’s someone who is sure and most of the time my friends don’t mind as they are more nervous then me.” – Lisa
  • “One very good friend of mine told me right at the start of this journey to be “proactive rather than reactive”. Which means educating all our close family members and friends and especially my older son (who had no allergies) about safe and unsafe foods that are allowed around my daughter and the importance of washing hands and mouth when handling her.” – Mariam
  • “I taught my son from a young age about numbers in food packets plus how certain foods make him feel. So many families feed kids from packets. But there’s an equal amount putting effort into fresh, home prepared meals. That makes it easier to fit in with.” – Justine
  • “It helps to be proactive when you travel. I had to fly recently with my son and I alerted the airline ahead of time and carried a travel plan from my son’s doctor along with his medication and safe food. At each stage of travel (check-in, waiting at the gate, and on the plane) I spoke to the air crew about his allergies and they were friendly and extremely accommodating. This made what could have been a very stressful situation much more manageable.” – Dianna

If you have any tips you would like to add or recipes to share feel free to comment below. – OHCs x

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