Food Allergies: Nutritious Alternatives
Author: be well™ with Big Y® Registered Dietitian Team
There are more safe, alternative options than ever.
When you or your child is diagnosed with a food allergy, an array of feelings may come up: confused, anxious and overwhelmed are just a few. Have no fear. If you are buying ready-made meals or ingredients, food labels are your best friend.
Below is a list of substitutions for four common food allergens.
Keep in mind this rule of thumb regardless of assumptions, shelf tags and/or package call outs—check the ingredient list before you consider it safe with your specific food allergy.
Alternatives for Peanuts**:
Unless it is cold-pressed, extruded or expelled peanut oil, studies show that most can safely eat foods containing highly refined peanut oil.
Note: Always check with your allergist first!
Soybean or tree nut butters
Non-peanut-based flour such as wheat or rice
Alternatives for Milk:
Soy milk and soy-based alternatives such as soy cheese, soy yogurt and tofu
Calcium-fortified juices, breads and snacks
Clear broth soups
Note: Other alternative “milks” such as almond, coconut, rice, etc. are not typically considered nutritional equivalents to cow’s milk due to their lower protein, calcium and vitamin D content. Always read the Nutrition Facts label if you are choosing an alternative milk to replace cow’s milk. Otherwise, these alternatives are viable options for use in recipes when not aiming to acquire a similar nutrient profile to that of cow’s milk.
Alternatives for Wheat:
Pure corn, rice, arrowroot, barley, potato or rye bread made without wheat flour or wheat products
Cornmeal, cornstarch, soybean flour, barley flour, oat flour, rice flour, potato starch and arrowroot flour
Oatmeal, cream of rice, puffed rice or other cereals made from pure corn, oats or rice to which no wheat has been added
Salad dressings or gravy prepared without wheat flour or products
Alternatives for Eggs:
Oil & vinegar dressings and eggless mayonnaise
Soups, broths and beverages NOT cleared with use of eggs
Gelatin, fruit crisp, popsicles and fruit ice as dessert
**To follow the least restrictive diet possible, work with an allergist to identify a unique list of possible allergens. For example, some individuals may be allergic to peanuts but not soybeans, peanuts but not tree nuts, or fish but not shellfish.