5 Tips for Dealing with a Food Allergy Diagnosis
To help moms better understand food allergies while making their lives easier (and their family’s lives safer), we teamed up with noted food allergy advisor, blogger and author, Tracy Bush, also known as “Nutrimom – Food Allergy Liaison” to offer suggestions to families who may be new to the issue of food allergies.
Food allergies among American children are on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, the prevalence of allergies affects approximately 4-6% of children in the U.S. In fact, the CDC estimates one of every 13 children has a food allergy, with nuts, soy, milk, egg, wheat and shellfish being the most common culprits. For a child with a food allergy, there are no shortcuts to safety.
“Identifying a list of ‘safe’ foods and snacks is imperative,” explains Bush. “Products like Crispy Green are easy for me to recommend to those I consult with because of the things it doesn’t include—it’s peanut- and tree-nut-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free. It’s also very portable and good to have on hand in a ‘pinch’ when fresh fruit or other options may not be available.”
“Our single-ingredient products are safe for many kids with food allergies,” says Angela Liu, President and Founder of Crispy Green. “Because we care greatly about this growing, very serious health issue for both kids and their parents, we are working with Nutrimom to help those with food allergies navigate a little easier.”
“No one is quite certain why food allergies are on the rise among U.S. children, but parents need to have the best resources and strategies to combat this trend and avoid allergic reactions,” says Bush.
While she isn’t a medical professional, Bush is a mother with whose child has multiple food allergies and experienced these struggles firsthand herself. Here are some tips from curated from Bush’s e-book, “The Stepping Stones to Food Allergies,” on how to get started creating a safe environment at home if your child has been diagnosed with food allergies:
Keep a positive attitude.
When cooking for those with food allergies, keep in mind that you are re-learning how to cook, so accept mistakes and rethink what you are doing and using. Be easy on yourself and don’t give up!
Restock your kitchen.
Replace ordinary kitchen staples with allergy-friendly staples and get the right kitchen utensils. Being prepared is half the battle. Baking ingredients, dried fruit packs or safe, allergy-friendly pre-made products for faster preparation should always be a reach away. Kitchen tools such as a mini-chopper, a food processor, a rotisserie and color-coded chopping boards are a few handy items to make preparation easier as well as safe.
Always have epinephrine.
An allergic reaction can happen at any time, so always be prepared. Especially if you will also be preparing multiple meals that contain possible allergenic foods, it may be a matter of life and death. A small mix-up could lead to a reaction and it is imperative that your epinephrine be on hand just like any of your kitchen staples.
Ask for help.
The key to learning to adapt to food allergies is to ask for help. Not only will this decrease the feeling of being overwhelmed, but it will also allow everyone to learn with you. Food allergies affect all family members, not just the allergic person.
Utilize the abundance of resources.
There are many websites and magazines that are loaded with good information just waiting to be found. It doesn’t matter where you start; the important thing is to gain the information and continue to expand from there. Knowledge is power, and luckily, there is new and better information available every single day. Check out: http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/
 Updated stat: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/foodallergies/index.htm