A healthy balance of food, family and fun...with a food allergy twist.

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

Buy a few allergy-friendly cookbooks and research some food allergy-friendly blogs that offer many great recipes. I have trouble finding the time to cook all the recipes I'd like to cook for my son - there are so many good recipes out there!

What's your favorite allergy friendly product?

Enjoy Life brand products. It's wonderful to know there's a company making easy convenience foods that are free of the top 8 allergens. 99% of my son's diet is based on real/whole food, but it's always nice to have easy allergen-friendly cookies or snack bars for occasions when you need them!

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

The social aspect of food allergies has been the biggest challenge so far. Since my son avoids so many foods, we have to spend more time and energy planning social outings and events. Some examples:

1. Visiting friends or family, birthday parties or any get together: I always ask what they're serving ahead of time and bring food that matches what we'll be eating. Birthday parties are especially difficult because there are so many treat available. I also have to make sure to bring a cupcake to every party as the cake is never safe for my son.

2. Eating out: There's not much my son can eat at a restaurant so we don't eat out much (which could be considered a good thing). When we do eat out we usually order a plain steak, hamburger or chicken along with steamed veggies. I bring additional food for him, but it's a little upsetting sometimes when you know your son can't even try all the tasty food that's available at restaurants.

3. Entertaining at our house: We'd like to have friends over for dinner more often, but I just don't have time to cook for a crowd every other weekend. We'd probably order pizza every now and then with friends, but I don't want my son to feel left out or worry about lots of unsafe food around the house.

Even though families with food allergies face many challenges, we still try to stay positive about my son's food allergies, remember that he eats such a healthy diet, and focus on the many things that he CAN eat and enjoy!

Can you recommend a great hot lunchbox meal for kids for the cold weather months? Please include a link to your recipe.

Kathryn Martin

This vegan and gluten-free mac and cheese can easily be paired with a fresh or frozen veggie like broccoli or peas. I recommend popping one or two portions of the mac and cheese (frozen in muffin sized portions) from the freezer, and microwaving it along with frozen broccoli or peas. Add it all to a thermos for a healthy and hot lunchbox meal.
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What's your favorite kid-friendly sandwich that serves well in a lunchbox, too? Please provide a link to a recipe with a picture if you have one.

Kathryn Martin

My toddler loves avocado and tomato chicken salad sandwiches. It's a great allergy-friendly option since my son can't have egg, dairy, wheat or nuts. I've found avocado to be a great replacement for mayo and/or cheese on sandwiches. I also prefer using freshly made chicken, but I used gluten free canned chicken as a time saver - here's my blog post about it.
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