Every balabusta has her shortcuts and ‘Shh! Don’t tell anyone!’ secrets that help her to keep everything together, no matter what.
Well, we Food Allergy Mamas have our own arsenal of tricks and here are some of them.
Below is a list of sites that, combined, serve as the ultimate resource for anyone living with, cooking for or entertaining someone with food allergies. I also keep a separate folder in my browser bookmarks to save the sites that I find helpful and useful – I recommend that you do the same. Even if these are resources you don’t need yet, you might one day.
KFA (Kids with Food Allergies) Guide to Passover: When I first discovered this guide, my DD was too young for it to be helpful and by the following year, her nut and egg allergies had disappeared. Since milk is her only remaining allergy, it isn’t a source that’s particularly helpful to me. But it does make you think – how will you have charoset on the table if your child can’t be in the same room as nuts? How do you replace an egg on the Pesach Seder Plate if your child is allergic?
Vegetarian Fat-free Passover Recipes. Any Yom Tov meal is going to be hard if your child has food allergies; Passover is particularly difficult if your child is allergic to chicken or beef. Note the recipes provided are ‘gebrokts.’ Please note: the recipes provided are vegetarian, not vegan, and so eggs are included in some of the recipes. Egg-beaters are NOT egg-free and should not be used in recipes for your egg-allergic child unless they tolerate baked egg.
Smart School Time Recipes: . This wonderful e-book was put together by a bunch of different food allergy bloggers and really provides great recipes that don’t require ridiculous or expensive ingredients that you’ll never use for anything else. The first few pages also contain links to the sites where some of the contributors blog and they’re worth checking out.
Oliver's Labels: If your food-allergic child is headed off to school for the first time (or even into middle school), it is a great idea to label the food they’re going with (so that someone doesn’t cross-contaminate an otherwise safe food) as well as they’re backpacks so that people are aware of the allergies just by looking at them. You don’t want a child caught up in an exciting activity to forget to make sure a food is safe. But if they have a sticker on their shirt declaring an allergy, the grown-ups around them can be aware for them.
Luna and Larry's: A company that makes coconut-based ice cream and is free of most Top 8 allergens (some flavors do contain tree nuts). All but three flavors are certified-Kosher by Kehilla Kosher in Los Angeles. It makes a nice change from the same three flavors of Toffuti brand.
FAAN Coupons: This link takes you directly to their coupon page, where they provide you with discounts to many allergy-related resources. Check out the entire site.
Divvies Bakery On-line: Besides for offering products for sale on their site that are free of eggs, milk and nuts and carrying Kosher Pareve certification, there is also a wonderful baking book you can buy to make things at home. Best of all, the recipes don’t call for specialty ingredients.
Enjoy Life: Everything this company makes is free of the Top 8 allergens, is produced in a dedicated nut-free factory AND carries Kosher certification from the cRc. A number of Jewish grocery stores and health food stores carry their products. If the one near you doesn’t, ask them to bring it in!
Cherrybrook Kitchen: I discovered this company while in Chicago for Succot of 2010. Their products are amazing and they carry great cake, cookie and pancake mixes so that you can enjoy baking with your food allergic child. The entire family spent the first days of Yom Tov eating my daughter’s cookies, that’s how good they were.
In general, always take some time, every couple of months, to walk up and down the aisles of whatever the largest non-Jewish supermarket is near you. While my local Jewish grocery carried Enjoy Life, I found Cherrybrook Kitchen at a non-Kosher supermarket chain store. You would be amazed, if you only took the time, to discover which products are Kosher and fit the food-allergic diet.
Keep in mind to check out products that are marked ‘natural’ or ‘vegan’; the former will have a shorter and more easily recognizable ingredient label (free of additives and preservatives) while anything marked vegan will be free of all animal by-products – including milk and eggs.
Have a go-to site you’d like to add to our list? Leave a comment here and we’ll check it out!