When faced with food allergies there are multiple challenges. The first is learning how to avoid the allergen. Once people learn how to avoid the allergen, another concern I hear is “am I meeting my nutrient needs now that I am avoiding a food or multiple foods.” The more food allergies someone has, the harder it can be to meet nutrition needs. While meeting needs can be a challenge, it is not impossible! With meal planning and guidance, those on restrictive diets can still eat a balanced diet and meet their nutrition needs!
This post will focus on the top 8 allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, soy, milk, eggs). The following shows which nutrients to pay attention to when removing a specific allergen and what foods you can eat to get the missing nutrients. The foods recommended here will not work for all since the suggestions are only taking into consideration that one allergen and people often have multiple allergies and therefore could be allergic to some of the foods recommended. It is important to always read the nutrition facts label for allergens and remember that nutrition facts labels can change.
Nutrients of concern: Calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, protein, riboflavin, vitamin B12, vitamin A
Some foods to Include in your diet: Non dairy milks fortified with calcium and vitamin D; Non dairy yogurts fortified with calcium and vitamin D, fortified cereals, canned salmon with sardines and soft bones, tofu made with calcium sulfate, kale, bok choy, tahini, dried figs, eggs, soybeans
Allergen: Peanuts and tree nuts
Nutrients of concern: Protein, niacin, magnesium, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Manganese, pantothenic acid, chromium, folate, copper, biotin
Some foods to include in your diet: Chicken, fish, turkey, whole grains, beans, lentils, avocado, oils, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, spinach
Nutrients of concern: Protein, riboflavin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, copper
Some foods to include in your diet: Eggs, beef, chicken, fish, lentils, beans (other than soybeans), milk, plain yogurt, nuts
Nutrients of concern: Protein, iron, biotin, folate, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B12, phosphorus,
Some foods to include in your diet: beef, chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, beans, lentils, milk, soy, nuts, sunflower seeds
Nutrients of concern: Manganese, fiber, copper, magnesium, niacin, vitamin B6, thiamine, selenium, phosphorus
Some foods to include in your diet: quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, almond meal, barley, chickpea flour, flaxseed meal, oats, millet, sweet potatoes, brown rice
Allergen: Fish and shellfish
Nutrients of concern: Protein, omega 3s, niacin, vitamin B6, iron, zinc, phosphorus, selenium
Some foods to include in your diet: Ground flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, walnuts, soy milks fortified with omega 3’s, chicken, beef, turkey, eggs, beans, lentils
When faced with diet restrictions it is important to look at macronutrients in addition to micronutrients. What this means is that it is not only important to get adequate vitamins and minerals in your diet, but adequate calories, carbohydrates, protein and fats too! A registered dietitian can help you plan an adequate diet and also recommend dietary supplements when necessary.