There are actually upsides of food allergies. Our family eats at home more often (which is lovely and also a great deal cheaper), reads ingredient labels, cooks together, seeks out whole real foods, and has learned to diminish the importance of treats (at least in comparison to fun and time with friends and family). I’d venture to guess our kids eat a slightly wider variety of foods than they would otherwise and they certainly don’t eat much fast food (no judgment, just not really an option for us). Here is a brief list of a few of our favorite items in case they can make your life easier too.
Cuisinart Mini-Prep Processor – We use a lot of flax seed in our baking and cooking. My meatballs couldn’t survive without them. It has amazing health benefits and also makes a great egg replacer. Ground seeds offer far greater health benefits but only store for 90 days in the fridge. So we buy whole, store them in the freezer, and grind up small batches as necessary. We also use our mini prep for chopping up raw almonds. These are the only safe nut for Bubba so we use them a lot in homemade energy balls (sort of like a Lara Bar), as a yogurt topping, etc. We buy unpasteurized almonds directly from a farm free of cross-contamination with peanuts or other tree nuts.
Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker – There are several really delicious coconut and almond milk ice creams that we like. We’re not crazy about the soy ice creams. Just personal preference. But nothing beats homemade ice cream. Our favorite recipe is Vegan Cherry Garcia (we use Enjoy Life Mega Chunks).
KitchenAid – Although there are ever increasing options for food allergic folks on the market today, yummy baked goods are seriously lacking. It is also hard to find something safe for Bubba that is not unnecessarily restrictive, i.e. gluten-free even though we’re okay with wheat. Plus baked goods are so preservative laden and kids looooooove baking. So we bake at least every couple weeks and keep lots of yummy items on hand in the freezer. Our two staples are Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies and Vegan Banana Muffins.
Jelly Belly Electric Ice Shaver – Hubs and the girls are obsessed with water ice, shave ice, slushies – whatever they call this in your neck of the woods. The girls will actually just eat a bowl of plain shave ice, but usually we get a little more indulgent and put juice on it.
Little Green Pouch – perfect for making your own baby food, transporting smoothies, etc. This awesome mama-owned company was started by friends of mine. I love these things. Less wasteful, healthier, and dish-washer safe. Our favorite smoothie is Vanilla Banana Blueberry.
Slim Snack – we use these to make our own yogurt popsicles. They are silicone so frozen smoothies and ice cream can slide right out of them. They also have a handy shape for squeezing other snacks into lunch bags or purses.
Rubbermaid Lunch Blox – stackable, easy to open, dishwasher safe, and they come with their own ice pack.
Hanna Andersson Lunch Bag – pricey, but I can justify the expense for our family. This lunch bag goes everywhere Bubba goes. It carries her Auvi-qs and food for every outing. It’s insulated, snaps easily onto our stroller handle, and has a great zipper for our allergy alert tag. And the Rubbermaid Lunch Blox fit in it perfectly!
Thermos FOOGO – We used these for Bubba for awhile with great success; almond milk stayed nice and cool for hours and the cup didn’t leak. When our baby was making his transition from bottles to sippy cups, we transitioned Bubba off of sippy cups entirely. We didn’t want there to be any confusion in the house over what was safe for her (the baby drinks dairy). So now these are only for him and Bubba drinks from ‘big girl’ water bottles and open cups.
I would love to hear about some of your favorite home cooking supplies. I will add them to my list! If you’re in the market for any of the items above and you purchase through the link provided, Food Allergy Ninja will get a portion of the Amazon proceeds at no additional cost to you. We appreciate your support!