10 strategies for keeping safe with food allergies


I often get asked what I do to avoid my boy having allergic reactions. Avoiding allergic foods is crucial when it comes to keeping safe with food allergies. When you have a child with multiple food allergies, it is important to have strategies already in place to avoid any unnecessary reactions.

When you have strategies in place it's easier for everyone involved.  There are many things I do on a daily basis to avoid him coming into contact with anything that is dangerous to him. Here are 10 strategies that we implement ...

1.  PLAN AHEAD. People with food allergies (or their parents) need to be organised. Gone are the spur of the moment days. If you want to be spontaneous, you also need to be organised. Be prepared for the unexpected!

2.  ALWAYS READ THE FOOD LABEL- EVERYTIME! Even if you have eaten the food before you still should check the ingredients. Sometimes companies change the ingredients listed without any other warning that they have done so. Know what's in your food and be aware of alternative names that manufacturers may use. Remember- If in doubt - Go without!

3. IF THERE IS NO FOOD LABEL AND YOU ARE UNABLE TO GET A CLEAR INGREDIENT LIST, DO NOT EAT THE FOOD! Ask yourself - Are you really prepared to place your life in the hands of someone else who has prepared and cooked food with ingredients that you don't know? There is also the added risk of cross contamination. When it comes to having a life threatening food allergy, it really isn't worth taking the risk. 

4. IF IN DOUBT ABOUT A FOOD LABEL, CALL THE MANUFACTURER. There is usually a phone number on the label of product. If in doubt or confused by the label, call them and ask the questions. Keep in  mind the person who answers the phone may not be the person who has the correct answer. Be persistent and get the correct information from the right person. If they don't sound like they know and aren't confident in assuring you, take it as a warning. Be mindful that you probably won't get anyone answering the phone outside of business hours, so perhaps try to reach them though social media avenues - Facebook, Twitter.

5. EDUCATE YOUR CHILD ABOUT THEIR ALLERGY! This is so important and the ultimate goal of an allergy parent. Never underestimate how much your child understands. Use every opportunity to educate and bring awareness to potential dangers that surround them. Use your words wisely so you don't instil fear. Keep your emotions and personal fears out of it and EDUCATE. Teach them how to keep themselves safe.

6. CHECK PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS FOR THE PRESENCE OF ALLERGENS. Be aware of what ingredients are in everyday products such as your shampoos, conditioners, cosmetics, moisturisers, medications etc.. Many natural and organic personal care products won't have the toxic chemicals but may contain nut oils, milk, salicylic acid or other allergens that may cause a reaction. Understand alternative names that some manufacturers e.g. Peanut oil can also be called Arachis oil and often found in zinc cream

7. CHECK PET FOOD FOR POTENTIAL ALLERGENS. Sometimes allergens are easily overlooked such as the ingredients of pet food. Bird seed may contain nuts or seeds, cat food may contain fish and horse feed may contain oats or grains that could cause reactions. Be mindful of any unusual ingredients.

8. ALWAYS HAVE A SNACK WITH YOU. By always having something to snack on when you are away from home, you will be less inclined to be tempted to buy something that may not be safe. 

9. DON'T SHARE! As parents we raise our kids to think about other people and to share with their siblings and other children. As a food allergy parent, we need to set boundaries to keep our children safe. Make it a strict rule NOT TO SHARE - food, water bottles, utensils, straws, cups or cutlery.

10. ALWAYS HAVE YOUR EPIPEN! (or Ana pen).. Make it a strict habit that at least one (preferably 2) epipen is ALWAYS with the allergic person. There are cases where anaphylaxis has occurred hours after ingestion of a food. Always be prepared and have your adrenaline with you.

No epipen= No eat!!

I hope these strategies have helped you. What other strategies can you recommend? What works in your home? I would love to have your feedback and comments. We are on this journey together and I certainly don't claim to have all the answers but together by sharing our journeys we can help each other.

If you are stressing about what to cook for Christmas - don't! I've already got you covered.
Easy Allergy Free Christmas is a recipe eBook that I've put together.

ALL recipes are Gluten free and TOP 8 FREE! (No Peanuts, Tree nuts Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Fish and Shellfish)

 I'm getting some lovely feedback already. Here's what Mandy says...

THANK YOU!!!!!  Your book is amazing. I’ve been so stressed about Christmas. I’m a single mum, my son is allergic to peanuts, almonds, soy, eggs, dairy and wheat and fish – so am finding it hard to feed him. So happy to find you and so grateful for your book – I can make EVERY recipe for him! I made your chocolate fudge and we LOVE it! Also love that I can buy the ingredients from my supermarket. Thanks so much! Mandy

Pop over to my website for more info.  Click Here

Have a wonderful day. Take care of you and yours and remember the Epipen

Sonya x

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