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Food allergy tips for the peanut allergic

Packaged Nuts
Packaged NutsPhotoxpress

Being the mother of a peanut allergic child for 11 years, I have learned many things through experience and research that have helped our family safely navigate through the food allergy minefield. A parent of a food allergic child must always be vigilant concerning food. It can be very stressful feeling that one mistake could land your child in the emergency room struggling to breathe. This is why tips from others in the food allergy community are so helpful in avoiding potential problems and helping food allergy parents feel more at ease.

That being said, here are a few tips regarding peanut allergies that we have picked up along the way.

(Tips apply for the time this article was written in 7/2013)

Tips for the egg allergic and shellfish allergic to come in upcoming articles.

Follow me on Twitter for more allergy and asthma information @GRallergies

Do you have a peanut allergy tip? Please share by commenting below.

Packaged Nuts
Packaged Nuts Photoxpress

Packaged Nuts

Most packaged nuts are made on lines with peanuts.  You can not trust items made by someone that used nuts unless you are familiar with the packaging of the nut used. 

Blue Diamond almonds come in a variety of flavors and are safe for the peanut allergic.

Bakeries have high risk of cross contamination
Bakeries have high risk of cross contamination photoxpress

Bakeries have high risk of cross contamination

Most bakeries use nuts throughout the facility and have a high risk of cross contamination.  Regardless of whether a bakery items contains peanuts, it is very risky to trust it.

Krispy Kreme donuts are made in a peanut free facility.

Contains labels can not be the ONLY check.
Contains labels can not be the ONLY check. allergy

Contains labels can not be the ONLY check.

Always check the ingredients list not just the contains allergen label.  There have been instances where peanuts or peanut oil is in the ingredients list and not the contains label.

Also note that contains labels are optional for manufacturers to display.

 

Peanut butter alternatives are yummy!
Peanut butter alternatives are yummy! photoxpress

Peanut butter alternatives are yummy!

There are some great peanut butter alternatives.  Our favorites are I.M. Healthy Soy Nut Butter with Honey, SunButter, and Biscoff Spread.

Be careful of nut butters and check the label carefully.  Most almond, cashew, and other nut specific butters can contain peanut.

School cafeterias see lots of peanut butter
School cafeterias see lots of peanut butter photoxpress

School cafeterias see lots of peanut butter

Many school lunch tables are wiped with the same bucket of sudsy water between lunch shifts.  It is questionable whether this eliminates the peanut allergen sufficiently from the tables.  Sit at the peanut free table or bring a place mat to put your lunch on.

Also note that if you decide to allow your child to sit at the general lunch tables instead of the peanut free table and this is a change from previous years at the same school, you may create confusion with school staff as to the seriousness of your child's allergy.  Make sure to explain the reason for the change to staff members.

Stick to specific brands and always check for changes
Stick to specific brands and always check for changes google images

Stick to specific brands and always check for changes

Hershey's chocolate bars (regular size) and Kisses are peanut free.  They also make chocolate chips for baking.

Original, hard Oreos, original Kelloggs Rice Krispie Treats, and original, hard version Chips Ahoy cookies are peanut and egg free.

Grape Nuts cereal is a great alternative to granola on yogurt.

Gluten free does not mean peanut free!
Gluten free does not mean peanut free! google images

Gluten free does not mean peanut free!

Gluten free items are not allergen free.  In fact, many gluten free items contain nuts.  Since gluten free stores are often promoted at food allergy events, it can become confusing for children specifically when choosing something to eat. Always check the label!