What to feed my two year old son who has a lot of allergies

Lacie - posted on 03/31/2013 ( 18 moms have responded )

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I'm trying to figure out what to feed my 2 year old son now that we have found out he is allergic to any dairy, egg, wheat, soy, peanuts or sea food. This is all extremely overwhelming to me as a mother and the one that feeds him! I have a cookbook and have been trying to look up things.. I guess I'm just looking to get any other ideas?!

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Paulette - posted on 04/02/2013

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This is so hard! My son is 10 and was diagnosed with multiple life threatening food allergies starting at 4 months of age. We are in much the same boat as he is allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts, and wheat. I'd start by saying it will get easier!
First, take a minute to go to foodallergy.org and look at their resources and call their toll free number on some help to get started. They were a life saver for us when we began this journey.
Second, there are several cookbooks that avoid the "top 8" allergens. Search for those via your library and check them out first! I have a million crappy cookbooks, and a couple that I actually like and use. I now check them all out from the library first to see if I'll actually like them. I'm picky as I won't make anything that has a million ingredients. The simpler the better for me!
Third, search Pinterest and online for "top 8 free" recipes. That is a great way to start. Also look for vegan AND gluten free recipes since you can add meat as you like...the gluten free is important as they often use alot of grains.
Fourth, take a deep breath and look up Enjoy Life foods. They don't have a ton of items, but they hit the comfort food/breakfast niche quite well. All the items taste great and are free of the "top 8" allergens. Plus, they have safe chocolate. Sometimes it is nice to buy a box of something. They also have two cookbooks that I actually like, but they are for desserts.
Fifth, shop the perimeter of the grocery store, most fresh fruits, veggies, "pure" meats (100% beef, chicken, etc. not cross-contaminated by the butcher), non-cow milks and "yogurts" (no soy for you, but maybe coconut and rice milk), rice cheeses (they make almond cheese, too...sometimes doctors say to avoid tree nuts if you are allergic to peanuts...ask your allergist), there is even coconut and rice "ice creams".
Finally, ALWAYS read the labels! Products change without notice, different sizes of items can have different ingredients, etc. You may also be able to get a referral to a nutritionist from you allergist. I wish I would have known to ask for that when my little one was a baby! Call companies and ask questions about products before you purchase, etc. The blessing of food allergies is that your little one will be eating an amazingly healthy, processed-free diet! You will be all healthier for it, but some-days you will just wish you could all have mac and cheese for dinner :)

Sally - posted on 04/02/2013

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That's similar to my daughter. Go to your favorite search engine and look up vegan and gluten free recipes. That should clear everything except the soy and the peanuts and you can always add meat to any vegan dish. Depending on how strong his soy allergy is, you may not be able to feed him commercial meat because some people can also react to what their food ate before it was processed.
Your allergist (or any search engine) should have lists of all the many chemical names that common allergens hide under. The law states that packaging has to announce if any of the "big eight" allergens (which all of yours are) are ingredients, but they don't have to tell you what any ingredient is "derived from" and a lot of the time the people who make it have no idea what's in it. Also "dairy-free" does NOT mean there's no milk in it--read every ingredient list. With your list of allergens, almost all processed foods are pretty much a no-go. That can make dinner take longer, but your family is also likely to get a lot healthier.
Good luck. The first 6-12 months while you're figuring it out are awful and it's hard to not be able to just run through a drive through on a busy day, but it does get better and there are benefits too.

Kiki - posted on 04/02/2013

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And a recipe to get you going...
Quinoa Pancakes

1 1/2 cups quinoa flour
1/2 cup rice flour
4 tsp baking powder (check gluten free)
1/2 tsp ream of tartar (check)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp xanthan gum (helps things stick together, in baking area at health shop)

1 tbsp honey
2 cups milk alternative (i need a bit more)
2 tbsp vegetable oil

mix dry, ad liquids, whisk, and make pancakes
add a bit of water to it if you need as can be thick

delicious, no egg, no wheat...


(from The Best Ever Wheat and Gluten Free Baking Book--I love this book. I make scones, waffles, you name it from it! She uses eggs, but you can use a replacer I imagine...experiment is key, and not giving up when it goes wrong because it will! but lots won't!)

Kiki - posted on 04/02/2013

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HIya,
I know this feels overwhelming rich tnow, but you will get used to it.
Ask to see a dietician for help as getting calcium is key.
Sounds like he can eat oats which is great as that helps. So a few thoughts...
-milk replacement, we use oat milk
-yogurts if you are in the states coconut yogurt is great
-cheeses you can get rice cheese
-you can get replacements for most things, but you will become a permanent label reader. don't ever assume ingredients stayed the same unless it's marked. my son started getting ill at one point and i realized the ketchup we get had added wheat flour to it for a short while!
-tinkyada pasta is delicious! (and rice based)
-EnerG do an egg replacer.
-buckwheat is great replacer for pancakes
-Freenut butter is your friend (alternative to peanut butter with seeds). easy, high protein....also if he can do seeds then hummus
-i use a lot of ground almonds if he can do nuts...i add half to muffin recipes to up the protein content and that works great.


and then learn to make stuff. lots of great cookbooks out there. Current favorite is Free For All Cooking.
Another kids one is The Gluten Free Cookbook for kids.

It'll help you get your head around the fact that you can make things. I never baked till I had two allergic kids. Now I bake all the time!

always have piles of snacks with you (fruit is great!), and figure out where eyou can eat out in advance if you eat out. lots of restaurants have allergy menus which really helps. or bring him food--just tell them in advance, usually fine.

give it time, start slow--you'll get there.

Jennie - posted on 04/02/2013

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Coconut-based products will be your best friend (alternatives to milk, yogurt, ice cream, etc.) all made with coconut. Also, almond milk and tofu-based products may be helpful to you. Take a deep breath and just keep researching alternatives. It will be a lifestyle change for your family in some ways, but within a couple of years (if not much, much sooner) you will forget that this was every difficult for you. If you have a Whole Foods or other organic/vegan-friendly grocery near you, the staff there should also be able to help. Best Wishes!

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Chasmodai - posted on 04/13/2013

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Another thing to consider is that wheat and soy is hidden in nearly all of the processed foods in the grocery stores. It's also fed to conventional livestock along with corn. If you eat animal products, you might want to buy grass fed beef rather than grain fed, and free range chicken, since it's hard to know to what extent your child may be affect by what the livestock eats. It's possible that if you can find eggs from local, free range chickens, your child may eventually be able to eat those once the offending foods have been eliminated from his diet.

In our home, the family is allergy to dairy which causes a lot of upper respiratory infections, but my husband had to cut animal products to eliminate high blood pressure, and I had to eliminate processed foods to address inflammation. We tried the paleo diet, the vegetarian diet, vegan diet and various approaches to the raw vegan diet, and found that the raw vegan approach helped us the most, allowing my husband to get off high blood pressure medication, healing my inflammation, helping us drop excess weight, improving our children's nutritional levels, and eliminating allergies. We focus on getting certain things into our diet on a daily basis: Plenty of greens such as spinach and kale, crucfierous vegetables, fresh ripe fruits, avocados, a tiny bit of coconut oil, etc. Every day we make sure to eat cucumbers, lettuce, apples, bell peppers, bananas, etc. We are always full and better nourished than we used to be. There are plenty of books on how to feed children and families these different diets, and it's perfectly okay to try a bit of this or that to find something that works for YOUR family.

Trina - posted on 04/07/2013

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I know how you feel. I resently found out I'm allergic to all these things and more. It was very overwhelming at first but have learned how to cook this way. I can substitute nearly everything I used to eat with ease now. Google is the best place to get great recipes. Just type in what you want to make (like gluten, egg and dairy free pancakes) and you get tons of recipes to go through and pick the one that best fits your needs. I'm so much healthier then I ever have been and it's so worth the effort! Good luck! And remember that cooking this way is nothing like what you are used to! Trust the recipe and follow it exactly and it'll turn out. Don't try and substitute or change anything until you learn how these ingredients work.

Arielle - posted on 04/03/2013

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Sorry, my phone is acting up. Move the section of text that starts with awesoical, seperate the words, move it to the bottom. Then read starting after good luck... :-\

Arielle - posted on 04/03/2013

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Go check out 100 Days of Real Food on Facebook. They have an awesoical consumption. They have lots of great recipes and are getting a lot of national media attention for their efforts to get the major food companies to alter their American recipes (which they have already done overseas). You may be able to find recipes to fit your needs, or even be able to modify them. And maybe the authors will look into finding recipes to help if you contact them. Good luck.me sight. It's all about eatting whole, unprocessed foods to cut down on artificial, chem

Donna - posted on 04/02/2013

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check out this website. It helped me a lot when my daughter was dealing with a lot of allergies.
www.spunkycoconut.com

Michelle - posted on 04/02/2013

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Great advice from everyone here! I can only add that it is common to fall into the trap of buying 'gluten free' or 'allergy free' packaged products when newly diagnosed and trying to navigate the new dietary protocols. However, these products are often overly processed and low in nutritional value, which can lead to other health problems. Wherever you can, use Wholefoods and make your own meals. Coconut, quinoa and besan flour are great substitutes in many recipes, and eggs can often be replaced with chia seed, flaxseed, puréed fruit and other healthy alternatives. Good luck! Mich

Alicia - posted on 04/02/2013

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try going to www.allrecipes.com and use their ingredent search. also you if you live near a loblaws or zehers or another store that has a cooking school you can ask them they might have classes for cooking with allergies. i use to work for one and we had lots of classes like that. i'll look thru my recipes and if i find some i'll post them for you

Chum - posted on 04/02/2013

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i have a friend who is allergic to all these and all kinds of meat too. he's now 31 and is the healthiest guy i know. he always says that his allergies are not a curse but are a blessing because he is so healthy and never gets sick! so although it is quite overwhelming as the mother, it'll be okay. i would suggest to find recipe books for vegan food or there are also a lot of recipes available online! :)

Aleks - posted on 04/01/2013

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I understand how overwhelming this can all feel at the start. Its not easy having to have such a restricted diet. People will look at you sometimes, and constantly freak out of what your child can and cannot have and totally fuss and over-react, which can get a bit annoying, but you will learn to be patient.
One of the things you will become really good at is reading labels on EVERYTHING! And once you do, you will realise how much most of the processed products sold in supermarkets that most people purchase is actually pure and utter chemical junk.

Make friends with your local health food shop owner. They will come your support at times, and also a great source of information of what is available and where, etc. Be prepared to bring your own food or treats for your toddler when you go out. Its just easier and safer that way... and also let some people off the hook, too (they will feel relieved) - especially at birthday parties and family gatherings, etc. Though your closest, nearest and dearest friends and family will certainly also start to understand and cater for your child.

It can get expensive, if you wish to use substitutes - which are, by the way, available quite readily these days. There are brands (depending on where you live the names of the brands available will be different) that are specifically made that target people with allergies. They are usually dairy free, wheat and gluten free. Most likely peanut free, and many times soy free. Also, just to let you know, that in some things you cook/bake you can use an "egg substitute" which can be bought at a supermarket (or health food shop). Also find out if your son's egg allergy is to the whole egg (ie, yolk and white) or just one of them. Also find out if he is allergic to any form of egg or just raw egg. ( I have heard of kids being allergic only to raw egg, but not hard boiled egg, or egg used in cake and therefore baked). This information, may give you further clues as to what you can use, if anything, from eggs. Also, something you probably know but have not provided is severity of the allergy. For example, some people are ok with traces of certain allergens - like soy or wheat, etc. but cannot have the whole product, while some people react to even traces. So that this also plays a big part in how convenient you can get with the diet.

You will learn to cook from scratch and will be healthier, and much happier for it. Yes, it can be quite inconvenient at times. And you will have to be very watchful when you go out on what your child puts in its mouth. My, now 4yo, DD knows that some things are off limits to her and she knows to check with me. She is also accepting of the fact that some things can make her feel bad/sick/sore, etc. And accepts when is told she cannot have XYZ, but can only have ABC from the choices available to her at a party or gathering, or even at a restaurant.

So, while it may feel so very overwhelming and hard at this early stage, you will (most likely) find this a blessing in disguise! I know most who have been faced with such a challenge usually do. As we learn more about our food, and how unhealthy most of that which is sold in our supermarkets really is, and the terrible effect it really can have on all of our health! But that journey is one of discovery and it is a long one.... Good luck with it all. And keep your chin up.

Jodie - posted on 04/01/2013

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Fruits veggies check with the meats what kind of feed they ate you should be able to check with the company on that my daughter can't do wheat and soy so I can understand how overwhelming it can be watch out with a lot of the gluten free because they often contain soy or soy leithcin you also should avoid vegetable oil because in reality it is soy oil we do rice chex my daughter loves them as a snack or breakfast you can do almond or rice milk use corn meal or rice flour instead of regular flour I have fount that the "Enjoy Life" brand is a safe snack as it is dairy,wheat, soy, egg, nut free my daughter loves their cookies and "choco loco" bars. She is 6 and we found out about her allergies at 2 as well. My advise is talk to a dietician for extra ideas and talk to his pediatrician to find out the dosage for children's Benadryl I case of accidental ingestion because 2 yr olds like to try to get what they can't have. Hope this helps :)

Julie - posted on 04/01/2013

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Sounds a bit over whelming, but it is doable! Start with whole foods like fruits and vegetables, then add some staples like lean proteins chicken, turkey, pork. Any potatoes, rice, almond milk, gluten free pastas (I like the rice the best). Tomato base sauces, sherberts instead of ice cream..
He is two so did you know they make Almond yogurt now, even coconut milk yogurts?
You can use Earth Balance butter (it's vegan so no dairy). Applesauce is my other butter substitute. coconut oil as a spread or for cooking baked goods. I use wheat free flours and rice dream chocolate chips (no dairy).
We are fortunate to have many more choices with all the food allergies these days. Hang in there and take it a day at a time
:D

Michelle - posted on 04/01/2013

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My friends son is allergic to milk.. But can drink soy. Hope that helps in some way.

Chasmodai - posted on 03/31/2013

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You know something: You are actually quite lucky! Your child is two and that is the perfect age to start him on a really healthy diet. Some people believe that the foods that you list above are not a part of the optimal human diet, but we simply aren't sensitive enough to realize it and it can take many years before it takes its toll. You son is simply more sensitive. A lot of times before people realize that the standard American diet is harmful to them, they can't imagine eating any other way.

You can do this! Can he eat coconut? My son can eat young Thai coconut but not mature white Mexican coconut. You can make coconut milk, almond milk, or oat milk. There are tons of foods your son can eat. For example, there are plenty of grains that do not contain gluten, such as buckwheat and oats. He might not be able to eat peanuts but can probably eat almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts and macadamia nuts. All of these things can be made into delicious milks, cheeses and creams. If I were you I would research something called the elimination diet. Also, vegan cookbooks can teach you how to make foods that do not contain eggs. Another thing to look into is the paleo diet. Plenty of young children thrive on paleo, vegetarian, vegan and raw vegan diets. You need to be informed about the nutrition your child needs and what foods contain that nutrition. The libraries are full of books on these subjects, and the internet is filled with information.

Learn to make green smoothies. Green smoothies incorporate mild tasting veggies with sweet fruits to make a drink that your child will drink up but will provide plenty of nutrition including protein. Green leafy vegetables are surprisingly high in protein. Check out Victoria Boutenko's book, Green For Life.

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