Food Allergy Snack Bag Ideas

Allergy-friendly snacks when away form home

Allergy-friendly snacks when away form home

One night at dinner, TQ asks: “You’re stuck on a desert island and you have a chance to save one thing, what will it be?” MK thought about it…… deliberated, and came up with something practical as she always does.  However, my quick reply was  “the snack bag!” We laughed…. seriously,  the snack bag really can be our lifesaver! Everyday after school there seems to be something going on…. soccer, volleyball, band practice, Dr. appointments (the list is endless) and of course, the first thing they say when they jump in the car is “I’m hungry.” I always have food-allergy snacks on hand in case we’re away from home for several hours because it can be difficult to just “grab” something on the run with TQ’s restrictions.

 

 

Snack bag contents

Staples:

Skinny pop or other plain flavored popcorn

Homemade chex mix – made with gf corn and rice Chex cereal, gf pretzels, a few chocolate chips, sometimes oat clusters, sunflower or pepita seeds. I change it up with whatever I find in the pantry.

Gluten free pretzels

Gluten free crackers

Daily add-ins:

Greenish banana (not too ripe)

Lactose free cheese cubes

Homemade gf muffin or bread that might be leftover

The not-so-healthy snacks sometimes included depending on the day:

Yellow bag Lay’s potato chips

Plain Frito’s chips

Homemade gf cookie (see my Artful Baker page for sugar cookies)

Sweetarts or Smarties – sometimes used as digestive aid as well

Medicine bag always included with the snack bag:

Pictured below are some of the items that I always have on had in our little med bag. Epipen, zrytec for an allergy flare up, lactaid for unexpected encounter with milk products, FrucosAid for an unexpected encounter with high fructose containing foods, and Smarties for that same reason. Vacation or a longer stint out of town may require other helpful items such as an anti diarrheal medicine, pain reliever, decongestant, band aid, hand sanitizer or wipes.

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Vacation is another topic that I could go into more detail. I’ll save those ideas for another day – like how to find appropriate restaurants and how to manage eating away from home. But, if you look closely at my box that I have packed here below you will see that I do have some interesting items.

This box was packed right before we left on vacation for a week. I included microwaveable rice packets for an emergency snack or meal. Beef jerky packets are also helpful in a pinch when it’s hard to stop for a meal. Find one that is not heavily seasoned and nitrate free.  Peanut packs were also included. I know, I know this post is about a food allergy safe bag – however, TQ is not allergic to peanuts, only tree nuts. So, in the case of a longer trip I do include those for a good source of  packable protein. MK will never allow me to pack the peanuts during the school year because she has friends with peanut allergies and she won’t risk getting them sick if they are in our car. (Gotta love that!) I felt I needed to explain my photo. 🙂

Vacation snack/supplement box

Vacation snack/supplement box

I hope this gives some ideas to those newly diagnosed with fructose malabsorption. Perhaps in the future, it will help to discuss some brand names that are working for us. Let me know your thoughts and if you have anything to add! I’m always looking for new ideas.

~K

My top 5 IBS triggers

IBS triggers

Hi everyone! So, this is a little bit of a departure from talking about fructose malabsorption and food allergies. But, with TQ’s diet I have gotten relief from some of my own IBS (or irritable bowel disorder) symptoms, and my system has calmed down. Everyone has different triggers and even symptoms. For me, I got very painful cramps and diarrhea (TMI I know!) And I have targeted a few sources that will trigger my most painful symptoms.

  1. Cooked greens: I have a low iron level, so I was told by my Dr. to make sure I eat my greens to boost my iron levels. I really love greens like spinach, chard, and kale. I put them in everything from soups to sloppy joes – BUT, if I eat more than a half of cup at one time then I can guarantee some trouble the next morning. So, instead of eating a heap of creamed spinach, or sauteed spinach I do best with sprinkles of it in unexpected places. So, I will continue to add my greens in all meals – just not a ton at once.
  2.  Cooked onions and garlic: Fructose malabsorption suffers must eliminate onions from their diet. Once TQ was diagnosed, I eliminated all onions in our cooking. I noticed that my system has been much more calm without them. We use green onion tops for flavoring, and chives too. But, for the most part cooked onions have been eliminated and it’s made a difference! As for the garlic: Well, this is just sad. Again, I’ve eliminated this from our diet for the fructose malabsorption problems. I do use garlic flavored oil in cooking and that gives good flavor. I don’t miss the discomfort from eating an Italian meal! The garlic flavored oil does the trick.
  3. Beans: I don’t think this is uncommon. High fiber foods are typical IBS triggers. I tried introducing beans to my daughter’s diet as she prefers more of a vegetarian diet. But, she really doesn’t like beans. I do though! Unfortunately, everytime I tried to consume the leftover bean dishes I made for her, I was unhappy later. So, those have been unfortunately and reluctantly eliminated from our household.
  4. Grains: I don’t have trouble with all grains. But, there are a few that are insanely troublesome. Specifically farro and barley. I’ve used these in certain recipes for added nutrition but they are not for me! I don’t have trouble with gluten. I do eat gluten free quite often as TQ is allergic to wheat (also breaks down into fructose when digested = trouble for fructose malabsorption sufferers) I don’t have trouble with oats or quinoa…. so I’ll keep trying a few new ones to see what happens.
  5.  Milk: I am not lactose intolerant. I can eat cheese. But, I have trouble when I drink milk. I don’t get it. But, it’s easy for me to steer clear of milk. We tend to use Cabot cheeses exclusively at home as they are lactose free (for my son). And I really enjoy goat cheese in salads but, I’ve given up drinking milk and feel better.

So, here’s to everyone’s health. I’m always learning, things are changing…. I’m just trying to stay healthy and feed my family well. Let me know if you have any tips – would love to hear from you!

~Karina

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Hi! Welcome and thanks for visiting.

I’m a single mom, busy like we all are – two jobs, two kids, three cats…..(sorry that’s for another blog). My journey began a couple of years ago with my son (TQ) being diagnosed with oral allergy syndrome. If you have to have a food allergy, that’s the one to have! Oral allergy syndrome is a food allergy where the reaction is localized in the mouth or throat. For the most part, it hasn’t been too serious for him. If he accidentally ingests a trigger food, it is treated with an over the counter anti-histamine. (TQ’s oral allergies are raw peas, carrots, pesticides found on berries, tree nuts and celery). More information on oral allergy syndrome is here if anyone is interested – it’s rather fascinating actually. His trigger foods are related to allergies to various tree and grass pollen.

The next symptom which needed to be investigated was TQ’s constant stomach aches.  This brought us on another long journey. Long story, short (a year later…after many Mom’s-intuition diagnoses on the internet ) I made an appointment with a pediatric gastroenterologist. Another 6 months later we had discovered he was lactose intolerant- aced that test with flying colors! He must avoid all milk products. Later scored even higher on the fructose malabsorption test – TQ is the poster child for that!  But, it answered a lot of questions. At the same time, I asked the allergist to repeat a whole panel of allergy tests (it had been a couple of years since the original pollen tests) He ran the full panel and blood work panel to reveal  new allergies to all tree nuts and wheat. Interestingly, peanuts are still ok and I use those a lot in my recipes.

So, there I had all of the answers to what was causing his problems and discomfort – but no real solutions. The doctors’ suggestions are to avoid milk and milk products and stay away from fructose. Hmmmm, easier said than done! The biggest challenge is fructose malabsoption. TQ can’t digest fructose which is naturally found in all fruits and some veggies. It is surprisingly common – yet most people don’t know they have it (think IBS sufferers). More on that later…. But, how frustrating to get the answers with no solutions! I was a fish out of water, how can I cook for this guy? And did I mention I’m a bakery owner…. hehehehe- that just seems like a cruel joke. Just like all of us here, I took to the internet. I researched incessantly.  My work is always in progress, but I sure hope I can help someone else navigate this crazy journey.

As an avid cook, baker and recipe enthusiast, I have a huge collection of recipes. My goal was to make my favorite recipes work with TQ’s new diet. So, most of my recipes are gluten free, lactose free (or I use lactose free cheese) and FODMAP friendly. I am happy to go into more detail regarding any of restrictions if my audience interested. I use little tricks that I’ve learned along the way, and of course, I’m still learning. Most of these recipes are TQ approved – some are even MK approved! MK is my uber picky eater – if I can make a recipe that she eats then I’m sure your whole family will love it! She’s actually my toughest challenge 🙂 Thanks again for visiting and I hope we can learn some things together.

Here’s to our health ~ Karina, TQ and MK