Holiday Cooking FREE Of Nuts, Eggs, Dairy, Gluten & Soy
It’s hard believe but the holiday are ALMOST HERE ! How is that even possible? It feels like it was just July moment ago! Yet here we are… the season of family, celebrating and E-A-T-I-N-G is upon us. Home cooked meals, desserts and those of so gracious food baskets – just the thought brings a smile to most peoples’ faces. Seriously, who doesn’t love those holiday treats?
Parents of kids with food allergies. That’s who! Why…? Because many classic holiday goodies contain a minefield of ingredients that their kids may be allergic to!
Good news up ahead for individuals and parents of kids with food allergies… Most of those common ingredients can be easily substituted, so you and your kid can enjoy those treats safely and without feeling deprived. (I on the other plan on depriving myself this holiday season. I vow not to get carried away and to keep my pants size the same as they were pre-holiday season!)
So here they are some very easy food substitutes for common allergen ingredients…
#1 OUT WITH THE NUTS. IN WITH THE SEEDS
If your kid with food allergies, can’t eat TREE NUTS OR PEANUTS, you can replace them with:
Roasted seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, which by the way, are also very healthy; in fact, pumpkin is considered a “super food” (one that’s very high in nutrients). I find that many recipes that call for nuts can be replaced by seeds. I make a great pesto sauce by replacing pine nuts with sunflower seeds.
Beans or roasted peas or chickpeas. Beans or roasted peas or chickpeas aren’t just for baking; they’re also great in those nut-bowls and I sometimes toss baked chickpeas like the Good Bean into our salads and it gives it that little bit of crunch and flavor very similar to nuts. No nuts needed in this household!
Pretzels. Yes, you heard that right. In fact, pecan pie is a favorite on many holiday tables but instead of pecans, use pretzels.! Or for a special holiday treat for kids with nut and sesame allergies, consider making these Sunbutter Pretzel Truffles.
#2 DAIRY FREE…YESIREE
If your kiddo is allergic to DAIRY, replace it with a dairy-free “milk” substance, such as rice, soy, almond, cashew or coconut—(but of course, be careful, since many of those items mentioned are made of other allergens). I have found oat milk to be an amazing substitute (and many time overlooked) for those looking to avoid dairy as well as other common food allergens. Here is a recipe for dairy free mashed potatoes from Eating with Food Allergies.
#3 THE INCREDIBLE BUT NOT ALWAYS SO EDIBLE…EGG
For EGGS, first figure out if it’s going to be used as a binder (to hold all the ingredients together) or a leavening agent (to make the baked good rise and be fluffy.)
To replace eggs, use some healthy fruit, such as ½ mashed banana or a ¼ cup applesauce. If your recipe calls for an egg white glaze, use some melted margarine instead. If the egg is used as a binder in the recipe, you can use a little mashed fruit, such as 1/2 banana or ¼ cup applesauce. This is one of our favorites, because it adds a healthy touch to a not-so-healthy item. Mashed fruit makes a great binder.
Oh—and please be careful if you do decide to use one of those commercial egg replacement products. You want to be sure it says “replacement” and not “substitute.” The substitutes are usually in the dairy section with the eggs—they address things like cholesterol-control, not allergy-control.
#4 GLUTEN FREE IS HOW I HAVE TO BE
For WHEAT/ GLUTEN ALLERGIES— We’ve all been introduced to gluten free flour and gluten free cakes, cookies and other goodies but one thing to be mindful of in regards to the Thanksgiving meal are the less obvious foods that may very likely contain wheat – gluten. For example, the broth used in turkey may contain wheat. As always your best bet is to make everything from scratch and to read the ingredients of anything store bought. Luckily for those living gluten free, there are tons of recipes out there and even store bought foods. Here is a whole batch of Thanksgiving recipes from Gluten Free & More.
#5 NO SOY. WHAT A JOY
For the most part, SOY is commonly found in almost ALL processed foods. That’s right! Want food made in a factory and conveniently packaged in a box or a can? Then say hello to our little friend soy. What’s really tricky is that even during the holidays when many meals are home cooked, there can still be hidden soy just about anywhere. Individuals or parents of kids with a soy allergy should be on the lookout for any pre-prepared store bought foods not completely made from scratch. And by scratch, I mean scratch. That includes the more obvious like store bought stuffing mixes but also the not so obvious foods like gravy flavored with store bought bouillons (which contain soy). Another thing to be on the lookout for is the TURKEY! That’s right! Some turkeys are injected with a self-basting solution that very likely contains soy, in particular the lower costing turkeys’ available. A free-range, hormone and antibiotic-free turkey is a pricey option but most likely your best bet (along with careful reading of the label and asking questions if necessary).
Happy and Safe Holidays!
Iris Shamus is a mother to 3 awesome kids & the founder/CEO of AllerMates. AllerMates was born as a result of her food allergic son, Ben. Iris and/or AllerMates have been featured in many places including Fox News, the Doctors, Veria Living, MSNBC, The Today Show & the Huffington Post with helpful advice on keeping kids safe. Based in New York, Iris & her team design & ship their products, create informative content & obsess every day about safeguarding kids.
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