Food Allergies on the Go

When you are on the go with a kid with food allergies you have to plan and prepare.My daughter Kai is allergic to all of the Top 8: Eggs, Peanuts/ Treenuts, Wheat, Soy, Fish/ Shellfish, Diary.

If were going to be away from home any longer than 2-3 hours I always pack a lunch and snacks for Kai. It really saves me from being in a situation where we are gone for too long and my child does not have food that is safe to eat.  It also saves me money because we always bring our own snacks. So if you are simply looking for a way to save $$$ It’s a Win, Win!

I know packing meals everyday sounds like a lot but I have a few tips to make it super simple for you!

Tip #1 : The Preparation

The length of our trip and where we are going, determines the type of food I pack. For example, if we are just running errands that will run into her lunch time I will only pack a snack or a lunch. If our destination is a family member’s house and we will be there a couple of hours then I will usually pack two meals. If it is a long or over trip and I know there will be an accessible microwave I will pack a sandwich (for lunch) along with a more filling dinner option such as chicken wings, chicken legs, meatballs, etc.  If we are leaving early morning and returning in the evening I will pack breakfast for the car and lunch along with lots of snacks. I try my best to wake up before Kai, dress myself first, then I prep her food.

Tip #2: The Lunchbox

You need the right lunchbox. I prefer a lunchbox with a strap for convenient carrying. I also like a bag that has an outside pocket to hold my daughter’s water bottle. We use this Samsonite lunchbox, I found at TJ Maxx for $12.99. I love it!IMG_0222 It is spacious and keeps things cold with a freezer pack for 8-10 hours. My daughter drinks rice milk that I usually store in these Dr. Brown Bottles because they have a screw on lid and they fit perfectly in this lunchbox and remain very cold. This lunchbox also has a front pocket that I like to use to store my daughters food items that I prefer to kept at room temperature such as her Sun Butter Sandwiches.

 

Tip #3: The Food

Easy Finger Foods that do not require reheating are always a GO-TO for us. I love a balanced meal so I always pack a Protein, Whole Grain or Starch, Fruit, and a Fun Snack. Below are a few that we use weekly.

Breakfast Protein: Bacon, Sausage, Pancakes, Sun Butter and Banana Toast, Avocado Toast

Lunch/Dinner Protein: Black Beans, Sun Butter Sandwich, Avocado Toast, Turkey Avocado Sandwich, Homemade Chicken Tenders

Whole Grain or Starch: Homemade French Fries, Baby Gold Potatoes, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Rice Cakes, Ener-G gluten- free Brown Rice Loaf 

Fruit/Veggies: Avocado, Bananas, Grapes, Strawberries, Blueberries, Pears, Pineapple, Craisins, Baby Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, Tangerines/ Mandarin Oranges

Fun Snacks: Lays Potato Chips, Veggie Straws, Ruffles (Plain), Air Popped Popcorn

Tip #4: Food Storage

I like sturdy containers. Our lunchbox will do a lot of moving around and it sometimes gets shaken up. I prefer to keep the food separated (Who likes soggy food? LOL). Since a lot of our “on the go meals” are eaten in the car I aim for containers that are easy for her to open on her own. I really love these Sistema Containers. IMG_0218We have had these for about 2 years and they are still holding up well! You can find these containers at TJ Maxx, Homegoods, Target, or Amazon. The only con to them is that they do not store well in the cabinet because they do stack one inside another.

I always keep a spoon, fork, and knife in the pocket the lunch box. We do not use restaurant utensils due to possible cross contamination. I think it is better safe than sorry. If I forget these utensils then I will request plastic utensils.

Also, I  carry a back pack with Kai’s EpiPen and a bottle of Benadryl as a just in case measure. That way I am prepared if anything does happen.

Tip #5: Patience

My final tip is patience. It requires a lot patience to be a parent and even more patience to meal prep and pack a lunch daily. However, the benefits outweigh the time put into it. It guarantees your child an allergy safe meal no matter where you go and for parents with kiddos with no allergies, it saves money on impulse buys!

Thank you for reading! 🙂

Sending Love, Sasha Small

Allergic to Life

I am sure from the title you can tell I am about to talk about allergies, food allergies. My daughter is allergic to life. Not literally, but pretty close to it. My daughter Kai Alaina is 14 months old. She has suffered from severe food allergies since she was about 2 weeks old. It all started with our breast feeding journey. Around 3 weeks old Kai got a really bad rash all over her face and neck that we mistook for “baby acne”. A couple of weeks passed and it never went away. So after consulting our pediatrician we realized that she was having allergic reactions from some of the food that I was eating and she was ingesting through my breast milk.

And so our journey began…. I eliminated Dairy, Eggs, Soy, & Nuts from my diet. This doesn’t sound too bad right? Wrong! I did not know that this also included items that contained Dairy, Egg & Soy which is basically everything. Even if I put a strip of mayonnaise on my sandwich she would break out in this rash like the one pictured above. This trail and error process went on until Kai was almost 4 months old. After cutting almost every recommended food (nuts, soy, dairy) out of my diet I was basically eating meat & potatoes :(Even with all of these efforts it still was not enough. My daughter was still having reactions to my breast milk. I felt defeated and eventually had to transition her to formula. I was heart broken. Formula was not the easy route either. We had to try 4 different formulas before eventually finding the right one. She drank Neocate Hypoallergenic Infant Formula until she was 13 months.

Food

Solids which are an exciting time for most mothers was a very stressful time for me. I’ll just start with everything that Kai is allergic to:Eggs, Dairy (milk containing products), Soy, Nuts, Wheat, Egg, Squash, Raspberries to name a few. Lol

Below are pictures of Kai’s most serious allergic reaction after trying Butternut Squash Baby Food. This resulted in a trip to the emergency room due to tongue & face swelling.

Lets just say feeding Kai has been a challenge. But after much trail and error and a few trips to the emergency room, allergist, and dietitians. I have finally gotten a handle on things. Kai only has a few things that she can eat and I thank God that she does not know all of the food possibilities out there otherwise she would be miserable. Kai has to eat food in it’s most natural state so no processed foods for Kai!

Some of Kai’s favorites are:

  • Sweet Potato
  • Russet Potatoes- She can not eat store bought French fries since most of them are processed which means soy is most likely present, which is an allergen for Kai
  • Baked Chicken- Little bit of Salt & Lemon Juice for seasoning (it has to be moist or she will spit it out on the floor or throw it. LOL)
  • Apples
  • Avocado
  • Fruit Smoothies (Spinach, Strawberries, Pineapple, Banana)
  • Veggie Straws
  • Lays Potato Chips
  • Terra Sweet Potato Chips

Some new foods I recently ran across are:

All three of these I found at Whole Foods!

I will keep you all updated on things that Kai likes and how she reacts to them. I did not realize how common food allergies are becoming. Many children now a days are diagnosed with eczema and doctors prescribe steroid ointments into children’s skin care regimen when in fact the root to the issue is much deeper and something as simple as ingesting what their bodies look at to be a foreign substance. So as a mother if you have a feeling about something, follow your gut. No one knows your child better than you. Doctors don’t know everything and that is okay, keep asking questions, keep demanding tests, take notation and photos of your child’s progress and see as many different experts as you need to. Kai is on her 3rd set of doctors in 14 months of living and I will not stop until I find the person that is empathetic & anxious to help us find a solution!

Thank you for reading!

~Sasha