Food allergies are scary and they are dangerous. When someone is diagnosed with food allergies, there are many challenges faced. Some of these challenges include:
- learning how to avoid the allergen
- learning what to look for on the nutrition facts labels
- learning how to avoid cross contamination
- educating others around them about their allergies
- making sure they are meeting their nutrition needs
While it is extremely important to focus on what foods need to be avoided, it is also important for parents of children with food allergies to help their children find replacement foods. When foods are taken out of the diet, nutrients are taken out too. It is necessary to find replacement foods and products to fill these nutrient gaps. The more food allergies someone has, the harder it can be to meet nutrition needs. While this can be hard, it is not impossible! With meal planning and guidance, those on restrictive diets can still eat an enjoyable balanced diet and meet their nutrition needs!
This post will focus on nutrients to focus on when removing one or more of the top 8 allergens from your diet. The top 8 allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, soy, milk, and eggs.
Keep in mind that the foods recommended below to include in your diet will not be a good choice for everyone because some people have multiple food allergies. If you or your child has food allergies read the nutrition facts label every time you purchase a product because 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 and dairy 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.