Itchy, Itchy, Itchy

Our toddler, Elena was diagnosed with food allergies when she was about 8 months old - because she broke out in hives when her skin came in contact with peanut butter! After a blood test, we learned that she was also allergic to wheat, milk, eggs, and dogs. My first thought was, "Oh no! What a hassle!" And I was right. It is a hassle. And I hate being one of those people who bothers a hostess with questions like, "Can I see the ingredients on that container of x" or "do you have any applesauce around, because my child can't have ice-cream." But I am that person. If I have it all together, I bring along a substitute, but I have to admit - I don't always have it together, and then you're there, at the party, and your two-year-old is wondering why she can't have treats like all the other kids, and you're wondering what you can do to avoid a meltdown. I've been lucky - Elena seems to understand, "no, you can't have that, Honey, it will make you itchy," and she usually accepts it with good grace, especially if there's an alternative.

It IS a hassle, though, and probably will become more so as she gets older and gets less satisfied with a modified toddler diet. But for now, these are the kinds of things she eats:


  1. Puffed Rice Crackers - it kills me to buy these because it works out to $8 a pound for something that is essentially air puffed rice and a little salt and flavoring. I could buy steak for that! But steak is hard to carry in your purse, and difficult to prepare on the fly.
  2. Fruit Snacks - these and the crackers are my go-to road snack, good to keep a small cache of in my purse.
  3. Canned chicken - I've discovered Costco's canned chicken, and although it isn't cheap and it makes me feel vaguely guilty, you can't beat the prep time. And the texture is actually very pleasant. Elena goes through a can every 2-3 days.
  4. Rice - lots of rice. She likes all sorts, but I usually make either white rice, or brown rice cooked in tomato boullion, sometimes chicken boullion. She loves it, and of course the brown rice is probably ridiculously good for her, so win-win!
  5. Canned corn - not super nutritious, but filling, and it does have fiber, right?
  6. Applesauce - a fruit.
  7. Apples, pears, oranges, strawberries, bananas, any berries. She loves frozen blueberries and it's a good at-home snack. 
  8. Spaghetti sauce made with ground beef, tomatoes sauce and onions that you normally serve with noodles, I put on rice or corn for her. She doesn't seem to mind the substitute. 
  9. Tomato sauce - I actually will just pour this on top of her rice and sprinkle it with garlic salt, and again, she doesn't seem to mind it!
  10. Last winter I made a lot of blended broccoli soup that I mixed with yogurt for me, and served plain for her - she loved it, though she doesn't like broccoli whole. 
  11. Rice or corn based breakfast cereals - also a great traveling snack.
For most of her life I've fudged it a little on the wheat, because it doesn't give her hives and though it might have affected her eczema it didn't seem worth it to cut it all the way out because she was still nursing and I was still eating wheat, eggs and dairy myself (though I had to give up peanuts)! So what would be the point. Since she was weaned though, I've been trying to be much stricter in the hopes that her body might reset and she might "grow out" of her allergies, sooner. The list above isn't exhaustive - she eats many other things, but these are are the "go to" for snacks or when she can't eat what the other kids are eating. I wrote it all out in case I needed a quick reference, and just in case someone else happened upon this and wanted some ideas for "what in the world to feed this allergic kid?!"

Elena at a birthday party a few weeks ago. I had forgotten to bring her snacks, so I risked giving her cake. She broke out in hives and we had to beat a fast retreat. But she had been getting noticeably itchier before I gave her the cake, so maybe the grass and the heat contributed? Who knows!

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