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Back-to-School food allergy guide by pediatric dietitian

Back-to-School food allergy guide by pediatric dietitian

Returning to school and preparing for your kids' food allergies might seem overwhelming, but rest assured, it doesn't have to be! Ellie Friend, a Clinical Dietitian in the Endocrinology Department at Children’s Hospital, has kindly offered some valuable tips to ensure your child's well-being and proper nourishment during their time at school. 

The top 9 food allergens:  

  1. Shellfish  

  1. Milk 

  1. Peanut 

  1. Tree Nut (almond, Brazil nut, cashew, chestnut, coconut, hazelnut, macadamia nut, pecan, pine nut, pistachio, walnut) 

  1. Egg 

  1. Fin Fish 

  1. Wheat 

  1. Soy (soy oil, edamame, miso, soy sauce, soy protein, soybean/milk, tofu, tempeh, tamari) 

  1. Sesame 

Substitutes for 6 common allergens:  

  1. Shellfish:  Fin fish, flax or chia seeds, walnuts, eggs, yogurt, meat, chicken  

  1. Cow milk: almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, rice milk, oat milk, hemp milk, pea milk 

  1. Egg: tofu, egg replacers, “flax egg” (1TBSP ground flax seed + 3T water), mashed banana, ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce + ½ tsp baking powder 

  1. Wheat: products made with almond flour, coconut flour, rice flour, buckwheat, amaranth flour, sorghum flour, potato, tapioca, arrowroot 

  1. Peanut/peanut butter: almond or almond butter, cashews, sunflower, soy nut 

  1. Tree Nut: peanut or peanut butter, sunflower seed or butter 

Simple tips to ensure safe foods:  

  1. If your child has an allergy, it is best to pack their lunch.  

  1. Make sure your child knows what they can and cannot eat. 

  1. Meet with teacher, nurse or other staff to ensure they know symptoms of an allergic reaction and how to use the epi pen if needed. 

  1. Make sure child’s medication supplies are not expired and are the correct dosage. 

  1. Ask if there are food sharing guidelines in the school. 

  1. Remind your child not to eat home-baked goods unless asking permission first. 

Does your child have a food allergy? As a parent or caregiver, ensuring the safety and well-being of your kids with food allergies is extremely important. By staying informed about their specific allergies, communicating effectively with school staff and teachers, and providing them with a well-prepared allergy management plan, you can help create a safe and supportive environment for their academic journey.

If you aren't sure about your child's allergies, or need help with substitutes learn more about our specialists  

Food allergy evaluation

Our food allergy evaluation begins by obtaining an extensive history of the suspected allergy and may include skin testing or laboratory testing. The team works with each patient to determine the need to carry an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen) and teaches proper use to both patients and caregivers. For select patients, closely monitored in-office food challenges may be appropriate to determine whether patients have outgrown certain allergies or intolerances.

For infants with certain food allergies and/or atopic dermatitis who are at increased risk for allergy to peanuts, testing and dietary guidance in accordance with recommendations by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the American Academy of Pediatrics is provided.