Dread Eating Out

Food Allergy Fear

Living with food allergies goes beyond the day-to-day challenge of finding the right food to eat. It activates a food allergy fear: that anything and everything which is picked up to eat will trigger a reaction.

For some, this fear is due to tree nuts or peanuts. For others it is due to wheat, dairy, egg or shellfish. These are examples of just 6 of of the top 8 allergens.

Food allergy fear is real. Did you know that 25% of all initial food allergy reactions happen at school, with foods unknown to be reactive? This reality effects all parents.

Here are some tips to conquer living with food allergy fear:

  1. Become adept at reading labels. Do NOT buy anything you can’t read the label on.
  2. Do not feel ashamed to ask to read every label at the deli counter. Yes, that is right. Read. Every. Single. Label. if need be.
  3. Become an advocate for your child. Learn to speak up. Learn to say no if that is a challenge for you. Your no may well save their life.
  4. Acknowledge that it isn’t fair. Living with food allergy fear is real. It is also real to live with missing food you enjoyed.
  5. Honor the missing of the allergen food.
  6. Find alternatives. They may not be as good as the offending allergen, or they might be better.
  7. Keep an open mind. Look to new recipes and countries of origin to explore food.
  8. Be honest with friends and family. They may not understand, or support your need to be so diligent, but remain so. Over time, they will begin to understand.
  9. Always eat before you leave the house and carry snacks with you. Keep a small cooler in your vehicle which has shelf-stable items in it for those unexpected times out.
  10. Keep pre-made party treats in your freezer. There always seems to be an unannounced celebration happening when you have children. Keep safe cupcakes in the freezer at all times.

I hope this tips help you feel more secure. For more hints and tips, or help navigating the maze of food allergies, visit our Food Allergy Strategist page.

Article by Mary Herrington

Editor-in-Chief of Saucy Woman, internationally published gluten free cookbook author and keynote speaker. Mary is mom to 2 girls, both of which are unschooled, one 19 the other 10. She lives with her husband, both daughters and 2 dogs in Charlotte, NC.

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