Food Allergy Buzz

With an eye on food allergy community as a unique group of consumers, we share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life allergen-free.

Jennifer is a winner of Top 25 Food Allergy Moms - 2012

What's your best advice for a mom struggling with cooking for children with food allergies?

I would recommend taking advantage of the wonderful resources that are available today. The best place for a food allergy mom to begin--especially for a child who has multiple food allergies--is the Kids with Food Allergies Foundation ( KFA has fantastic support forums, information, tips and recipes. There are also quite a few excellent food allergy cooking and recipe blogs, sites, and cookbooks as well.

What's your favorite allergy friendly product?

My all-time favorite food allergy friendly product is probably Enjoy Life Food's semi-sweet mini-chocolate chips. I love to bake and I can find them in just about every supermarket near where I live. I love being able to find an allergy friendly product on the shelf in a store and not having to pre-order or mail away for it. What a luxury!

What's the biggest challenge raising a child with food allergies?

For me, the biggest challenge is getting a clear answer about cross-contamination risk from food manufacturers. I have to inquire about every "manufactured" food I purchase for my son to eat (this excludes fruit, vegetables, milk...). I need to make certain no tree nuts or peanuts are present where the food is manufactured. Knowing that peanuts and tree nuts are not ingredients is not sufficient, because cross-contamination is dangerous when it comes to food allergies. What I seek from manufacturers is a definitive yes or no answer, but unfortunately, very few companies provide a clear answer. This substantially limits our product choices.

I am glad voluntary allergen labeling regarding the manufacturing facility and cross-contamination risk is becoming more common. This greatly assists my purchasing decisions. I applaud the manufacturers that do go the extra mile and include this voluntary information. I hope more manufacturers will follow their example.

What is your favorite quick breakfast recipe?

Jennifer B

This is a funny question for me, because during the work week, breakfast at my house is all about just getting something in your tummy before the three of us head out to school (I'm a teacher.) The kids are half-awake and their appetites haven't woken up yet, so we don't need recipes for breakfast at all. Right now, it's winter so we're busy eating oatmeal with whatever topping we have handy--bananas, apples, strawberries--or just plain with a bit of sugar, maybe cinnamon.
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What food would you most like to banish from school cafeterias?

Jennifer B

PB & J! I would love if elementary school cafeterias would stop serving PB & J. I can't tell you how many kids in elementary school come out of school wearing part of their lunch on their faces and clothing. Not comforting, when you have a child with a life threatening allergy to peanuts. So I vote PB & J--hands-down!
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