Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Essential Items for Families with Food Allergies – Portable Food Carriers March 28, 2017

Filed under: Parent Sanity — malawer @ 11:00 am
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Food allergy parents are accustomed to prepping safe food at home and taking it on-the-go to parties, school functions, and family gatherings.  Here are a few items that might make carrying safe food just a little easier!


Portable Slice of Pizza or Pie?


Take a gluten-free or dairy-free slice of pizza to a party?  Who knew there was a container just for that purpose?!  This Brick Oven Pizza Saver looks like it’s perfectly sized to transport both pizza and maybe even a slice of cookie cake or pie!

Brick oven slice saver



Individual Cupcake Holders:


Both this reusable (by Fox Run) and these disposable cupcake holders (both via Amazon) are the PERFECT container to tote a peanut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free cupcake to a birthday party!


Fox Run Cupcake Holder

Cupcake Supply Co Indiv Cupcake holder


Removable Labels:

When sending your child with a safe snack or special treat – OR when labeling your own lunch at the office – the best way to ensure it doesn’t get mixed up with someone else’s is to clearly label it.  These removable labels by Avery do just the trick:

Avery Labels


Hot Lunch!


If your kids are itching for a hot lunch, but school lunches aren’t a safe option, then you absolutely need a thermos that will keep your meal warm for up to 5 hours and fit neatly into your lunchbox or work bag.




And, while you’re packing your lunchbox, why not add Sistema’s four-piece cutlery set.  It connects handles to fork, spoon, kid friendly-knife and chopsticks – making it a synch to grab on-the-go.

Sistema Klipo


For Safe Restaurant Dining:


If you’re allergic to soy, you’ve probably already toted salad dressing to restaurants.  Allergic to gluten/wheat, I’d bet you’ve stashed tamari in your purse as you meet friends for sushi.  OXO Good Grips On-The-Go Silicone Squeeze Bottles allow you to do just that in a small, spill-free way!

OXO Squeeze containers


We want to hear from you!  What other items do you find useful for living with your food allergies? 


(Thank you in advance! A portion of the proceeds of the affiliate links go toward – an organization aimed at helping low income and at risk families with food allergies.)


How to Get Enough Calcium When You’re Dairy-Free June 16, 2014

Filed under: Health — malawer @ 1:19 pm
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As the mother of a child with a (now-former) dairy allergy and of two still picky, non-dairy eating boys, I worry about their calcium intake.  But, I can’t force them to like yogurt or drink regular milk when it tastes foreign and evokes mixed emotions from my FA son.


Children between 4-8 yrs old require approximately 800 mg of calcium per day while pre-teens and teens require 1300 mg (adults, you need 1000 if you’re under 50 and not pregnant).


So, how else can you sneak calcium into their diets:


Alternate Milks and Drinks:

Calcium Fortified Orange Juice     8 oz     350

Calcium-Fortified Soy Milk      1 cup     300

Calcium-Fortified Rice Milk    1 cup     300


Non-Dairy Refrigerator Items:

Soy Yogurt      6 oz      300

Tofu     4 oz       240-400


Dark Leafy Greens:

Edamame, soybeans cooked     1 cup    175

Kale, cooked      1/2 cup     103

Broccoli, cooked     1/2 cup     47



English Muffin     one     100

Waffle, frozen toasted     one    81

Corn tortilla w/calcium (who knew?!)     one     60


Don’t forget that when you add black beans, tahini (**if you’re not allergic to sesame seeds**), oatmeal, calcium enriched cereal or Nesquick into the mix you up your calcium intake as well.


Now go out and keep those bones strong!




Spring Break Bound! Hotels Accomodating Food Allergies March 11, 2011

As we (thankfully) approach Spring Break, I’ve read a lot about hotels that are tuning in to guests with food and airborne allergies.


Last year, the Marriott resort we stayed at in the Caribbean sold soy milk in a market in their lobby.  And, the concierge knew exactly were to find it elsewhere on the tiny island.


The Hilton at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida has added 52 PURE guests rooms.  These rooms are equipped with a state-of-the-art air purification system and are treated to remove allergens and irritants from all surfaces and fabrics (think hypoallergenic pillowcases, mattress covers, and microfiber sheets). And the Hilton isn’t the only hotel providing this service (see Allergy Friendly Hotels, below).


The Fairmont Hotel Group recently began offering a dedicated menu for guests and diners with dietary restrictions.  Their Lifestyle Cuisine Plus concept lists gluten-free, raw, peanut-free, and macrobiotic food options.


At Miraval Resort near Tuscon, Arizona, guests are asked about their food allergies and dietary requirements upon booking.  That information is relayed to the resort’s executive chef and Miraval employs a nutritional director.   They would like their guests not only accommodated, but happy.


The chefs at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong partnered with British designer and lifelong vegetarian Stella McCartney, to offer an organic and vegetarian afternoon tea throughout the month of March.


In addition to the above hotels featured, you can investigate allergy-friendly hotels as well as bed and breakfasts through Allergy Friendly Hotels website.  This site has listings in the U.S. and U.K., Ireland, Germany, Spain and Canada.


With so many excellent, allergy-sensitive places to stay this spring break, the only question I have is:  when are we going?!


Food Labels January 13, 2011

Filed under: Preparedness — malawer @ 10:41 am
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I label all the food in my pantry.  Yup, all of it.  Bear with me, I promise I’m not crazy.  I’m still trying to make things easier for us food allergy parents at home.


When my son was first diagnosed with food allergies, feeding him instantly became nerve wracking.  With so many different food allergies to manage, I had found myself reading and re-reading and re-reading the same boxes of food to make sure the ingredients were safe.  At that point, my husband didn’t yet have as good a handle on my son’s situation and felt uncomfortable giving him anything without my stamp of approval.   Trying to navigate my pantry was daunting for both of us!


I began labeling all the food in the house.  I read all of the ingredient lists on all of the food in my pantry and stuck a bright sticker on the front of the safe foods with a note that read, “OK for [my son’s name]” on it.


How on earth does that make my life more simple, you’re wondering?  Well, for starters, I only had to go through the pantry once.  Now, I just add a sticker to the safe foods as I unpack them from the market.


Also, the labels have several advantages:

1.  My husband is not thrown off when a new food is introduced to the household (and importantly will not require my help when, for example, my son is hungry and I’m out or – god forbid – in the shower!);

2.  The labels ensure that babysitters and other caregivers will be less likely to make a mistake feeding my child in our house — which means I can have a better, more relaxed time while out;

3.  Although we do not have any nuts or peanuts in the house, the labeling system allows those of us who are not food allergic to enjoy some snacks that  my allergic son can’t have yet.  I still prefer regular milk to soy myself and it’s hard to kick that ice-cream habit….

4.  As my son grows up, he can safely pick out snacks for himself.  I love to see his confidence when he can do new things for himself; and

5.  Finally, I won’t go insane by rereading all of those ingredient lists over and over and over.



Your sanity is just a bonus.  You’ll thank me later!


International Travel and Food Allergies: Tip for Vacations Abroad January 10, 2011



photo taken by Unsplash via Pixabay

Traveling to a foreign country is a thrill for most people.   But if you live with food allergies, it can feel downright daunting.  It’s hard enough to eat safely in English, nevermind in, say, Tagalog.  Well, never fear: with a little advanced preparation international travel can be fun again and not so frightening.


Printing a card which lists your or a family member’s food allergies in the language of the country you plan to visit is a great place to start.   First, creating an allergy card not only allows you to show it at restaurants, but ensures that your allergy won’t be missed at medical facilities of the country you’re visiting.  Secondly, because there are always worries about cross-contamination, an allergy cards can easily be passed from an English-speaking waiter to a non-English speaking chef to further ensure your safety if necessary.


There are several ways to obtain these cards.  Two places of note are:

  • AllerGlobal  ( – a free web app that allows a user to check off his/her allergies, choose the language of the country they plan to visit, and either print the information or download it as a PDF file; or
  • You can also purchase laminated cards from Select Wisely ( and other companies in a wide variety of languages.  In addition to allergy cards, they also offer cards advising of lactose intolerance, celiac disease, vegetarians and other sensitivities.  An individual can choose from 37 of the most common food sensitivities and from 12 unique languages to create a translation card specific to your needs.
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A few other tips, especially for traveling with food allergic kids:
  • Pack a supply of snacks that you can rely on as being safe for you or your child.  For us, breakfast and snacks can be particularly hard.  So, I packed an entire suitcase of cereal, PopTarts (not the healthiest, but convenient), and safe snack bags when we traveled abroad for a week.  **Bonus: I had an empty bag to fill with souvenirs on the way home!**
  • Consider carrying anti-bacterial wipes to clean surfaces that may come in contact with the allergic individual.  Think tray tables and seat dividers.  You’ll never regret carrying them.


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For other useful information regarding traveling with food allergies, read: