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I’ve learned that having a child with a nut allergy means you have to read the labels of everything you buy a little more carefully. As you load your grocery cart you are looking for actual nuts in the ingredients list of everything you pick up as well as special label warnings such as “may contain nuts”, “produced on shared equipment with nuts”, or “produced in a facility that also processes nuts”. Since even the smallest amount of nut protein can result in an allergic reaction it is always best to steer clear of any product you either suspect may contain nuts, or you suspect may have come into contact with nuts.

Remember, there is a lot of stuff out there that is perfectly safe for your child to eat and the more you learn about nuts and nut allergies the better you will get at identifying safe and unsafe foods.

There are a few foods that are considered “high risk” for those with nut allergies. They include;

  • Baked goods: Unless you make it yourself or it has a clear label that it is safe it is probably a good idea to avoid it. Cross-contamination is very common with baked goods as there is a lot of sharing of prep surfaces, cooking surfaces and cooking utensils.
  • Candy (especially chocolate): There are a few candy manufacturers that make some of their chocolate and candies in nut free facilities, however, most are prepared on shared surfaces with nut products. Read the labels carefully. If it isn’t labeled as safe, skip it.
  • Ice Cream: Cross-contamination is very common in ice cream parlors. The same scoop is used over and over again. Even soft serve can become cross-contaminated if the same machine dispenses multiple kinds of ice cream. Do your research before allowing your child to eat ice cream while you’re out. The safest thing to do is to buy a carton of ice cream from the store so you know what the ingredients are and you know the product is safe.
  • Ethnic Foods: African and Asian cuisine often contain peanuts and tree nuts. With Mexican and Mediterranean cuisine cross-contamination is possible as some of their dishes may contain nuts. It is best to avoid these foods unless you absolutely know it is safe (ie you made it yourself or have talked to the restaurant owner and chef).
  • Sauces: Many chefs use peanuts, peanut butter, or other nuts to thicken their sauces. Read labels, talk to the restaurant manager, and know it is safe before you allow your child to consume it.

To name a few. It really comes down to doing your homework. Thankfully food labels are a lot easier to read now adays and often contain special warnings that make it so much easier to identify safe and unsafe foods. Nuts can be easy to avoid if you know what to look for.

Here are a few helpful websites:

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