Summer is an exciting time for kids and families alike, as the days are filled with camps, sleep-overs and vacations.
During this time, parents of children with food allergies have the extra challenge of figuring out how to navigate their child’s food allergies along with the change of schedules and normal routines.
While it may be tricky to stick to your child’s diet this time of the year, constant vigilance is important to ensure good health and prevention of serious reactions for those with immediate-reaction type allergies. And for those with the more delayed-reaction type of allergies, such as eosinophilic diseases, good adherence can improve and reduce symptoms and in some cases even clear symptoms up.
Because it’s so important to stick to your child’s modified diet, we thought it might be helpful to provide some snack ideas for on-the-go summer months that do not include six of the most common food allergens, milk, egg, wheat, fish, soy and nuts.
Let kids choose their own ingredients and prepare trail mix bags for road trips and pool days. Try these allergy-friendly ingredients: dried fruit, popcorn or kettlecorn, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, milk-free chocolate chips or carob nibs, mini marshmallows, mini gluten-free pretzels, banana or plantain chips, Cheerios or Chex cereal.
Portable Fruit or Veggies with Dips
Use a small mason jar or plastic container to pack mess-free fruit or veggies with dip. Try sunflower seed butter with apple slices, carrot sticks or celery or pair pepper strips, carrot sticks and zucchini with hummus or guacamole.
Granola Bars and Energy Bites
Granola bars are common snack choices but often contain allergens like nuts and milk chocolate. Try these allergy-friendly twists on the classic granola bar. These recipes are kid-friendly and a great rainy-day activity!
- Energy Bites (recipe from Keeley McGuire)
- No-Bake Granola Bars (recipe from A-Squared Creations). Use coconut oil instead of butter if your child is allergic to milk.
During the hot summer months, it is especially important for children to be properly hydrated. Here is a handy chart
which explains how much children should be drinking by their age and weight. And if your kids get tired of drinking water, we’ve listed a few alternatives:
- Water infused with sliced fruits
- Sparkling water
- Low-sugar sports drinks
- Iced herbal teas
Editor’s note: This post was written in collaboration with Alison Cassin, a registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in pediatric nutrition at Cincinnati Children’s. She works primarily with kids and adults with food allergies and eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders. She loves to cook (an essential part of being a dietitian!) and lives in a historic neighborhood in Cincinnati with her husband and dog Burger.