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:
- Become adept at reading labels. Do NOT buy anything you can’t read the label on.
- 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.
- 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.
- Acknowledge that it isn’t fair. Living with food allergy fear is real. It is also real to live with missing food you enjoyed.
- Honor the missing of the allergen food.
- Find alternatives. They may not be as good as the offending allergen, or they might be better.
- Keep an open mind. Look to new recipes and countries of origin to explore food.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.