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10 tips to help kids with food allergies feel included

Do you have a child who has food allergies? Here are food allergy tips to help your child feel included not excluded.

My 4th child is allergic to eggs, wheat, tree nut, and peanut as well as coconut and barley – whew! That’s quite a list. Now, three years after his food allergy diagnosis, keeping him fed and happy is easy. But…

food allergy tips …he’s reached an age when he feels left out when he can’t eat something other kids are eating. He’s tired of hearing, “I’m sorry, you can’t eat that.

It will make you sick.”I don’t blame him one bit. It stinks that he can’t eat so many things that the rest of us take for granted. So, we work very hard to make food as normal as possible for him while still keeping his diet safe and healthy for him. 

Here are 10 tips to help a kid with food allergies feel included

1. Don’t make a big deal about it

This is the most important tip. No matter what your child’s diet, don’t turn it into a pity party. His restrictions may be tough. He may not like it, but turning him into a victim won’t help. Instead, sympathize with him, but don’t overdo it.

2. Master a few special allergy-friendly recipes

Your food allergy learning curve may be steep! I was initially overwhelmed by having to cook for my babe without eggs, wheat, and nuts (and dairy which he can now tolerate – thank you, Lord!).

Over time, I developed a repertoire of simple allergy-friendly desserts (like egg-free banana pudding and gluten-free chocolate cookies) for my son. If he needs a dessert or a quick snack, I have some easy options and he won’t be left out.

 

food allergy awareness

3. Carry portable snacks at all times!

You don’t want to be caught out of the house without an allergy-friendly snack.   I keep a snack-container of acceptable snacks for my kiddo to eat. I try to give him a variety so he doesn’t get bored.

4. Show solidarity with your allergic child.

When eating a meal with my son, I try to eat what he eats. He doesn’t feel quite so left out, even though his brothers may be eating something different. We also will often choose a dessert my son can eat for the whole family.

5. Always, always be prepared for food-related events with portable snack food or a small cooler.

I never assume that allergy-friendly food will be available for my boy. If he can eat some of the food being served, it’s an unexpected bonus, but if not, we are prepared. Always go prepared to feed your allergy loving child, and not trust you can find something at the event you are at.

6. Seek out restaurants that have food your child can eat.

We’ve identified several local restaurants that we know have safe food for my son. This is a wonderful traveling with food allergies tips I share with any parent who is new to food allergies.

 7. Find other ways to make him feel loved and special.

Although a cookie is an easy reward for a special achievement, food isn’t the only reward. Other special rewards might be a trip to the playground, getting to stay up late or an extra story at bedtime.

8. Discuss allergy requirements with other caregivers out if your child’s hearing.

There’s no reason to make him feel more self-conscious. If you can give the caregiver a rundown when your child can’t hear that will make a smoother transition. Food allergy awareness is key.

9. If other kids ask questions about your child’s food allergies, answer them with simple, straightforward language.

I often tell kids that my son can’t eat certain things because they make him itch. I keep it casual and set the mood that it’s not a big deal. Kids will be kinder if they understand the situation.

10. Remind him of his progress.

If he’s outgrown some food allergies, he may love to hear the story of how things were before. I love to tell my son about when he couldn’t eat corn or milk. We talk about how nice it is that he can now enjoy those foods. These discussions put things in perspective for him.

boy eating cereal

 

How do you keep your food-allergy kids from feeling left out?

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8 thoughts on “10 tips to help kids with food allergies feel included”

  1. I am thrilled that Cheerios now are Gluten Free I have had Celiac Disease for 3yrs so finding things for breakfast so I don’t get bored are great. I was eating Cheerios before I was diagnosed so it’s great that I can continue to eat them now.

    Reply
  2. How early does a child develop their allergic reaction to certain type of food and other materials? My wife and I are thinking of taking our 2 year old daughter to a food allergy testing center. Mostly because my wife saw how red our daughter was getting whenever she was eating raw shrimp.

    Reply
    • You can definitely get young children and babies tested. I would recommend finding an allergist that treats children. Good luck!

      Reply
  3. I have four boys too, and my fourth has all sorts of allergies as well. He is only one year old now, so I appreciate this advice ahead of time. I have worried about how he’ll react when he realizes everyone else is eating something yummy that he can’t have. One thing that may help is that I am eating like him and have been for a year—because he actually reacts to his problem foods in my breastmilk. I noticed allergy symptoms before he even started solid foods, in fact. So to keep him healthy while he nurses, I eat his diet, and I will continue to nurse him probably until he’s two because weaning him is super intimidating with all his food restrictions (peanuts, wheat, dairy, eggs, tree nuts, bananas?, peaches?, something else in Trader Joe’s coconut yogurt that gave him hives?).

    Reply
    • It’s super challenging keeping that kind of diet, isn’t it? Good for you! The thing that helped me stay on track was knowing that I would eventually be able to go back to my old diet once my son weaned.

      Our allergist tells me most kids outgrow the wheat allergy and probably the egg one too so that gives me hope even though my son is approaching 5.

      Reply
  4. My daughter had that never ending list of allergies as a baby and through the preschool years. She started outgrowing them in elementary school and finally outgrew the worse of them (anaphylactic reactions from peanuts) just this year at age 16. It is such a relief because she is looking at college in two years. She knew enough to take it very seriously after experiencing a few severe reactions. She can now look forward to her future without those limitations.

    Reply

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Welcome. I’m Sarah!

 
Sarah

I’m the creator of Decluttering School (formerly known as Early Bird Mom), lover of organized spaces, encourager to women and mom to four boys. Click here to read more!

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