Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Allergen Crash Course (updated 8/29/13)

The most important thing about food allergies is to never assume that any product doesn't have allergens.  All labels must be read on everything.  No exceptions.  If there is any doubt, the product can't be consumed or used.

Beware of accidental cross contamination while prepping foods.  This means being careful about using cutting boards, knifes and other utensils, and surfaces that may have prepped allergen containing food.

When thinking of snacks, its often easiest to think of foods naturally free of the allergens rather than allergen free alternatives (such as finding non-dairy butter or gluten free bread).  Finding substitutions is usually harder, often requiring going to a specialty food store, and requires more preparations.  In other words, its more stressful.  Alternate products are also more expensive.  I'd recommend saving that type of work for special occasions like parties where desserts or meals are more necessary.  When you are buying an alternate product, look in the natural foods section; there you will find many gluten-free foods, some of which are also dairy and nut free.  There is often a gluten free section. 

A list of SAFE foods:
All fresh fruits
Dried or dehydrated fruits (examples raisins, cherries, apples. Watch for nut cross contamination warnings on the labels.  Mariani is a good brand)
Canned fruit
Crunchies snacks (freeze dried fruits and veggies)
All fresh vegetables
Snapeas (dehydrated veggies)
Popcorn (no butter)
Chex cereal
Most tortilla chips (examples Tostitos; check other brands for wheat, barley, rye)
Annie's  Gluten Free Cocoa and Vanilla Bunny Cookies
Annie's Gluten Free SnickerDoodle Bunny Cookies
Fruit snacks / gummies
Rice Krispies
Jet Puff Marshmallows
Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Free Dreams baking mixes
Sunbutter (on safe crackers, apple slices, celery sticks)
Silk Fruit and Protein drink (knows as "fruit milk" by the Hatches and Boyds)
Tortillas (made from just corn)
Eat Smart Naturals Garden Veggie Crisps 
Snyder's Gluten Free Pretzel sticks
Van's Gluten Free crackers (Multigrain, Lots of Everything, Perfect 10, Fire Roasted Veggie)
Sesmark Savory Rice Thins

If we are going to start having dairy, nut, and gluten free snacks, we need to exclude all products containing the following:
traditional bread, crackers, pasta, cookies, cake, and pizza
all nuts
ice cream
milk chocolate
modified food starch  / starch (when not identified, or else it could be wheat)

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