We have been dealing with food allergies for all of Ade’s life. Currently we’re on a gluten-, soy-, dairy-, and nightshade -free diet. While children often grow out of childhood allergies, I hate the idea of just waiting for him to grow out of it. We’re still seeking answers though we do feel we’re closer to a complete answer. In the meantime we are trying to take care of Ade’s health the best we can and that includes cutting back on food we may absolutely adore. Because of all our cut-backs and adjustments, our weekly dinner plan doesn’t really vary and the food I list here can be found at least once a week in our meal plan.
Before I get into it let me just say that the things I have listed here are what work for my family but may not work for yours. If you think you have food allergies then use discretion and talk to a certified medical professional. Also, I do not receive a commission from any products I name specifically, I just like them so much I feel you should know about them, too.
Alright, are you ready? Good. Let’s get to the good stuff.
Who doesn’t love Tacos? Honestly, I totally had a love affair with tacos during my pregnancy with Isbe and I am so glad they’ve been able to stick around. Homemade tacos are an easy to throw together meal as the most work goes into cooking and flavoring the beef. Thanks to Pinterest, I am able to throw together flavoring using the spices in my cabinet instead of buying pre-made packets at the store, which often have additives that are not necessarily allergen-free friendly. The biggest change for me is that I’ve traded in my soft taco ways in favor of more allergen free crunchy shells. Viva la taco!
#2 CHICKEN AND VEGGIES
To say we love chicken in our household is a gross understatement. I’ve often complained to my BFF that my kids would turn into chicken if it was possible. Luckily we have found a brand of chicken that fits our needs at Target and Walmart. Perdue Simply Smart Organics Gluten Free Chicken has become an official staple in our house. Alongside the chicken is always a serving of vegetables, usually broccoli or carrots. Another way to serve up Chicken and Veggies is with a throw-together bake. Cut up the skinless chicken, chop up some vegetables, throw them in a baking dish, and add your favorite spices. Pop it in the oven for an hour at 350 and voila. Dinner is served.
I realize that this may be a no-no for some people with fish allergies and for that I apologize. However, this is (thankfully) one of our good to go foods. I love fish, just don’t give it to me with alcohol (long story involving my 21 b-day and my older brother). Fish is also one of those dishes that you can serve multiple ways. Our two favorite ways are Blackened Fish Tacos and Fish en Papillote. Apart from being safe for our little babies, they are full of good nutrition that benefits everyone. The most known is, of course, Omega 3 and DHA. Seriously if you can eat fish and don’t realize all the benefits it provides, Go Look It Up!
#4 VEGETABLES AND FRUIT
I know I mentioned vegetables with the Chicken but I thought I’d give it its own category. Our main vegetable staple is broccoli and carrots. Beyond that there’s usually a mixture of random vegetables in our crisper drawer depending on what’s needed for recipes that week. This week its Celery, Bell Peppers, and Asparagus. Unfortunately, the kiddos are not always as gung-ho as I am about their veggies. They are still kids after all. Some nights we have to negotiate the eating of veggies and other nights its the only thing on their plate they’ll eat. Okay that last one is really just Isbe. Some nights I catch her eating her brother’s vegetables for him. Some nights she doesn’t want to touch them. Go figure. When it comes to fruit, though, they’ll devour it. (As I write this, Isbe is eating a bowl of oranges and shaking her little booty in happiness.) I’m often hesitant to introduce fruits only because their dad is allergic to some. I don’t have to negotiate their fruit intake. In fact I often have to tell them to eat something else. Apples, Oranges, or both, it doesn’t matter. They want it. The reason Vegetables and fruit has their own category as a “meal” is because they’re either a part of dinner or eaten as a snack.
#5 TURKEY BURGERS
Confession, turkey burgers were not on my radar until probably three to six months ago. The only reason I entertained the idea of making them is because there is a recipe for them in Gwyneth Paltrow’s The Clean Plate cookbook. The first time I made them for the kids, I almost stopped at step one because…well…ground turkey looks and feels disgusting. I looked at that disgusting blob and thought, ‘No way these are going to taste good’. I am so glad I pressed on and finished making them because they were an absolute hit. Granted, the recipe in the book calls for Aquafaba Mayo, which I have yet to attempt. I’m going to assume it just makes them even better and that one day I will finally make that fabulous mayo to go with them. On days I may not have the lettuce used in place of buns, I either tear them up into little turkey nuggets or I use a taco shell. Turkey Burgers make a lovely lunch option for us.
Bonus # 6 BEEF STEW
Because I feel bad for putting fish on the list, I’m going to give you one more: Beef Stew. I love this option because you can modify it any way you want, really. Sometimes I’ll use onions and other times I’ll use onion powder just because I’m too lazy to actually cut up the onions. If I have kale then I’ll tear some up and dump it in. Beef stew is perfect for cold days and I often will make a double batch just so that we have leftovers for the week. It’s another easy one (see a pattern here?) that I can throw together and then let simmer for an hour or two, allowing me to focus on other tasks without worrying about providing a nutritious meal for my family. Really, it’s a dish that gives and gives.
So those are the meals we eat the most. Is it more work than getting take out? Well yeah, but this way I don’t have to spend hours online trying to find an allergen friendly option for the kids or debate whether the peanut oil is actually refined enough to not bring on a reaction. Basically, I know what goes in our food and can feed my family in a controlled environment.
If you’re looking for a good place to start in allergen-free cooking, or maybe need some new ideas, Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook, The Clean Plate is an excellent find. I also hope this list helps you! Allergen-free food does not have to be boring! I promise.