Food allergy is an adverse immune reaction when consuming certain proteins in food, primarily found in seafood, eggs, milk, peanuts, soybeans, wheat, and shellfish.
Many food ingredients in the market have gluten, soy, nut, and shellfish, which may trigger allergic reactions in some people.
In this blog, you will learn tips you can apply when buying food ingredients and how to use them to prepare meals around food allergies.
Common Food Allergies
Common signs of an allergic reaction include swelling, excessive itching, difficulty breathing, dizziness, or fainting. Food allergic reactions range from mild to severe and can be a severe problem if not well managed.
Notably, people’s allergic reactions differ. Certain food ingredients trigger reactions in some individuals and not others.
Usually, the allergic reactions can be due to gluten, dairy, soy, nut, egg, or other types of allergen. Importantly, people who have food allergies and exhibit intolerances or sensitivities should be aware of the specific allergens to manage food allergies.
7 Tips for Cooking Around Food Allergies.
Food allergies are a genuine concern for many. Food allergic reactions can affect anyone, from the food preparer to the person eating the food.
Here are some helpful tips for selecting ingredients and cooking food for people with food allergies.
1. Identify the Specific Allergens and Avoid Them
If you suspect a food allergy, you should plan to monitor your body’s reactions to various meal types.
You can experiment with various foods and eliminate any food ingredients you suspect are allergens. Do this by cooking different foods each time and monitoring your body’s reaction.
However, if your allergy symptoms are severe, you should seek advice from a nutritionist.
2. Label Your Food Ingredients
Some food ingredients look alike, and there are higher chances of being used even when users know they trigger allergy reactions.
To avoid cooking using allergens mistakingly, always label the ingredients, so you quickly know what ingredients you include in your recipe each time you are cooking.
3. Read Food Ingredient Labels Carefully
If you have a food allergy, you know how important it is to read labels when you visit the grocery store.
With so many cooking products on the market nowadays, many products contain allergens. It’s important to read the label. Also, ask questions to ensure the suitability of the product you are buying.
4. Avoid High-Risk Ingredients
People with food allergies need to be extra vigilant about what they eat since no one should learn the hard way if they have allergies to certain foods.
To be safe, you can avoid peanuts, shellfish, and other allergy triggers until you are sure you don’t have allergies.
5. Be Careful When Eating in Restaurants or Avoid It
Although it’s always important to eat homemade food when you have specific food allergies, it’s always reasonable to eat out once in a while. However, since you have a food allergy, you must be careful when eating out.
To ensure you are taking safe food, you can always call restaurants ahead of time to determine if the foods you’re ordering cannot cause an allergic reaction. Importantly, you should always eat homemade food and only take restaurant food when unavoidable.
6. Avoid Accidental Cross-Contamination When Cooking
Always ensure absolute cleanliness when preparing food for people with allergies—Wash hands after touching ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction. Also, before cooking, clean all cookware, utensils, and surfaces that come into contact with ingredients that could cause an allergic reaction.
You should cook food for allergy people first or use a separate cutting board and other utensils for ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction.
7. Monitor Signs of an Allergic Reaction and the Severity
Continuously monitor the signs and severity of allergy reactions, and take the necessary precautions. For instance, you can always have an antihistamine nearby if you suspect handling specific food ingredients triggers allergic reactions.
Also, it’s advisable not to handle food preparation to avoid food allergies for people with severe allergic reactions.
Recipes That Are Perfect for the Food Allergic
If you struggle with recipe options around allergy foods, you can try out any recipes below. They are delicious food recipes that are healthy and safe to eat.
- Puffed Millet Bars – Suitable for people with gluten intolerance
- Spicy and Flavorful Chickpea Flour Pancakes – Gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free recipe
- Oven Sweet Potato Fries with Tapioca Flour – Suitable for people with corn allergies
- Banana Buckwheat Pancakes – Suitable for people with wheat allergies
- Cauliflower Soup – Dairy-free for people with dairy product allergies
- Quick Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) Salad – Complete meal for people who have an intolerance to meat
Applying the above tips and trying the recipes above allows you to explore cooking and eating different safe meals anytime, even with food allergies.
As a rule of thumb, you should always know the specific allergens and avoid recipes that require them. Lastly, get creative in cooking, use allergen substitutes, and enjoy healthy meals.