It’s been over a year since my son’s diagnosis. But it’s still rather surreal to me that many of the foods society is encouraged to eat for their fabulous health benefits could, in fact, kill my child.
And seeing that March is Nutrition Month, it’s been pretty much impossible to escape all of those “helpful” health articles going around. Unfortunately for many allergy parents, they aren’t that helpful at all.
You know the ones I’m talking about—articles that feature all those superfoods that are more like kryptonite for us.
For my family, it’s nuts, seeds and eggs. For others, it could be fish and dairy. While still others may be avoiding miso and soy beans and tofu. (Oh, my!)
Considering these are the foods that dietitians and nutritionists are urging us to eat (and eat often), I decided to review some allergy-friendly products that will hopefully help allergy parents who find themselves wondering this month and—let’s be honest—all year round: Is my child getting enough nutrients?
For those of us dealing with multiple allergies, this question can cause a lot of stress. The healthy blog browsing. The recipe searching. The meal planning. The ingredient checking. (As if we don’t have enough to worry about!)
The good news is that there seems to be an allergy-friendly alternative for almost everything these days. Unconvinced? Check out the handy table I helped create below. (You’ll need to click on the image and head on over to the original post in order to see the hyperlinked resources.)
And for those days when you just don’t have time to cook yourself, there seem to be more and more healthy, organic options that are free of top allergens available. (I don’t know about you, but I tend to agree with this article about allergy-friendly “junk food,” published by Hilary’s Eat Well. A lot of times I get so excited I’ve found a product my son can actually eat that I forget to look at all those other scary ingredients. And then, when I do a few days later, I’m wracked with #momguilt. Ugh.)
If you also suffer from mom guilt from time to time, keep reading to learn about the 5 healthy, allergy-friendly options I’ve recently discovered. Safe appetit!
1. Organic Yum Yums
A healthy, organic way to introduce solids to your food-allergic little one, Organic Yum Yums is free of top allergens and delivered right to your door. Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to get to try their new line of finger foods for toddlers! (Unfortunately, my toddler wasn’t so lucky. Because he has a new suspected allergy, he didn’t get to try it himself.) But I can say with all honesty that he would have loved 3 out of 4 of these products.
Lil’ Power Bites
These were, by far, my fave. And I know my little guy would have loved them too. Their muffin-like texture and subtle banana flavour reminded me of my mom’s healthy muffins… which my little guy just happens to adore.
Lil’ Bean Dip
This one is mild enough for little taste buds, but yummy enough to result in some serious double dipping. Perfectly paired with the Lil’ Chippers (see below).
This one comes with a savoury aroma (that is reminiscent of Crispers) the moment you open the lid. I love that they come in a variety of shapes, and I can’t help but think that my crunch-obsessed toddler would have really enjoyed these fun little snacks.
Lil’ Mighty Pea Stew
Even though this was my least favourite of the bunch, I’m quite certain that most babies and toddlers would disagree with my reasoning: My adult taste buds wanted more oomph! In retrospect, I think this would have been super delicious with a dollop or sour cream on top. Yum.
2. Hilary’s Eat Well
To use two cliches in one sentence, when it comes to Hilary’s Eat Well, don’t judge a book by its cover… because it’s love at first bite! Seriously, when I first stumbled upon the broccoli casserole bites, I was convinced there was no way my toddler would like them. They just seemed waaaay too healthy. But they were top allergen free, so I threw the package in my shopping cart anyway. Good thing I did, because he gobbled it—and anything else I’ve bought from Hilary’s since—up, caveman style! I love that this brand is allergen-free AND healthy (which can sometimes seem like an impossible combination), and it makes for a quick and easy dinner too!
3. GoGo Quinoa
This brand is our go-to for safe, healthy cookies. The great part is that it satisfies my little guy’s need for “COOOOKIES” and I don’t have to feel guilty giving in. We’ve tried several flavours, but my favourite is the dark chocolate chip. I’m pretty sure my toddler would vote for the vanilla coconut—if he understood the concept of voting. And favourites. GoGo Quinoa has a number of other healthy products to choose from, but so far, we’ve only tried their cookies. (I guess we’ve all got a sweet tooth!)
My toddler’s favourite
4. Ohh Products
Out of the blue, I stumbled upon these tasty little treats at my local coffee shop, and boy, was I excited! I had heard of Ohh Products, but hadn’t had the chance to try them. Here was my chance! Only mildly sweet, you certainly don’t feel guilty eating these little chocolate-coconut balls… even if you eat all three at once! I don’t know if it’s a ‘getting older thing,’ but a lot of times I find desserts I used to love WAY too sweet—not the case with these guys! And while they certainly taste healthy, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The only thing I feel bad about is not leaving even one for my food-allergic toddler to try. Whoops!
5. BioRaw & The Goods
I admit I’ve never tried either of these organic, allergy-friendly take-out options, but I was so excited when I learned about them, I knew I had to include them in this post. Can you believe BioRaw‘s nutrient-dense bowls and The Goods’ nutritious, filling lunches are free of dairy, egg, gluten and nuts*? And, they deliver?! Unfortunately, both locations do use sesame and sunflower in their ingredients, so it’s off limits for us. #storyofmylife Still, I couldn’t resist sharing for those of you who don’t have seed allergies. If you are local to Toronto, and you end up giving either of these take-out options a try, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
*The Goods does carry some desserts with nuts, but from what I understand, they are made and packaged offsite. Make sure to double check when you call or visit!
This allergy-friendly restaurant review was written by AllergyBites founder, Kathleen O’Hagan. Kathleen is a writer, a foodie, and the mom of a toddler with multiple food allergies. She loves seeking out accommodating eating spots and sharing them with the food allergy community. All opinions are her own.
Friendly. Supportive. Encouraging.
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