8 Top Tips for Helping Kids With Food Allergies Thrive

8 Top Tips for Helping Kids With Food Allergies Thrive

One mom shares her tips for helping kids thrive despite having food allergies.


By: Lorraine Allen

Raising a kid with food allergies is challenging. When a child is first diagnosed, parents often feel afraid, stressed, overwhelmed, and even alone. But after five years of navigating this world with my little one, I can assure you that kids can lead a full, fun, and healthy life, no matter how many allergies they have or how severe they are. Here are my top eight personal tips to helping kids with food allergies thrive:

1. Get the best allergy doctor you can find. Do your research and talk to others. You might need to shop around to find the best fit for your family, but it’s worth the effort. Your allergist will write up an Emergency Action Plan to help keep your kid safe at all times and help train you on EpiPen usage and safe parenting practices.

2. Get support. Join food allergy support groups and networks, either locally or online, to help you navigate your child's diagnosis. The more informed you are, the easier it is to manage and help your kid thrive.

3. Get cooking. Don’t waste too much time looking for restaurants that serve food your kid can eat. Instead, just buy fresh, unprocessed foods like whole fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins. These can be simply cooked in water, or in many cases, eaten raw or roasted. Not only will you know your children are safe, but you will be feeding them healthy, fresh, delicious food and teaching them that they can enjoy great meals anytime, anywhere, despite their allergies.

4. Find food-free activities. Some of the best advice I ever got from an allergist is, “Don’t make everything be about food.” From sports and music to art, books and play, so much in life is inherently food-free. Enjoy these activities with your kids as often as possible.

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5. Find friends with allergies for your kid. This helps kids feel less alone, stressed, and different. Set up playdates and even meals with other allergic friends so that at least sometimes, they can safely share food with others.

6. Have fun. Help your kid be as carefree as possible by taking time each day to have fun and be silly, no matter how serious allergies are. Pack a picnic and go eat somewhere special, for example. Don’t ever let allergies keep you home, hold you back, or bring you down.

7. Stay calm. Blood draws, skin pricks, wheezing, constant itching -- none of it’s easy. But remember that your kid learns from you how to react to all situations, so no matter how panicked or stressed you might feel about allergies, don’t overreact. Your kids will have an easier time managing their allergies as they grow if they know how to stay calm.

8. Include them. Find activities and creative solutions to help your kids feel included even if they can’t eat the birthday cake or Halloween treats. Allergic Living magazine and Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) are just two of many great resources full of fun ideas to help your kid feel included and be healthy and happy.

Do you have any helpful tips to help kids with food allergies thrive?



Lorraine Allen is a writer, mom, and personal chef to one spunky 5-year-old girl with severe food allergies. You can enjoy their delicious recipes and follow their amusing family cooking adventures at Feeding Lina.

Image ©iStock.com/Imgorthand

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