The number of children in the United States who suffer from some kind of food allergy is on the rise. According to MSNBC, the number of children who have some kind of food allergy is up 18% since 1997 and now impacts over 3 million kids. So what kinds of healthy foods for kids are available?
Work Within Limitations
The first thing to do is come up with an eating plan with your pediatrician. Which foods are OK? Which are off limits? Which are OK in moderation? When you first begin investigating food allergies you may need to eliminate all questionable foods for awhile then slowly reintroduce them. Ask your doctor which healthy foods to eat are OK. Some conditions like gluten intolerance can make the digestive system sensitive to other foods. Once the main allergen is eliminated and your child has had a chance to heal, you may find that your child can eat a wider range of foods, and it will strengthen immune system too.
List of Healthy Foods for Kids with Allergies
Here are a few guidelines to use for kids with allergies:
- Whole foods. For the most part, when you’re trying to avoid allergens, it’s easiest if you can cook whole foods for your family. Most processed foods contain hidden ingredients. If your child is allergic to wheat, gluten and soy in particular it can be hard to know if processed foods contain those ingredients. While it is more time consuming to prepare foods from scratch, you’re whole family will benefit from it.
- Organic is best. More research is showing that food allergies may be related to the intake of pesticides and other toxins found on non-organic produce and in milk. Fruits like strawberries, peaches and apples where the skin will be eaten are the most important items to purchase as organic. Milk and dairy is also high on the list.
- Allergy Free Treats. There are companies that are now making healthy snack foods for kids with allergies. Enjoy Life is a brand that has a wide range of products and none of their foods have any common allergens in them. So if your child can’t have eggs, wheat, nuts, soy or dairy, give the Enjoy Life brand a try.
Allergies can be a challenge, but they don’t have to be an end to enjoyable food. With a bit of advanced planning and some homework you can prepare delicious foods that your whole family can enjoy, and the benefits of eating healthy for you and your family will show in other ways as well.