If your child has food allergies, it can be overwhelming when cooking staples like eggs, milk, nuts and soy are suddenly off the table. However, this doesn't need to complicate your meals! These days, there are more and more substitutes available so you can provide your child with a normal, balanced and nourishing diet. Here are some natural alternatives to the common food allergens mentioned above:
You can substitute 1 egg for 1 tablespoon of flax meal in 2.5 tablespoons of water and allow it to become a gel like consistency. 1/4 cup of mashed banana or 1/4 cup of apple sauce will also do the trick. Missing scrambled eggs? Try a tofu scramble with paprika, turmeric, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
A position paper on Vegetarian diets by the Academy of nutrition & Dietetics (2016) recommends that full fat, unsweetened soy milk fortified with calcium, B12 and vitamin D is a great option for kids over one year provided that the child is growing normally and eating a variety of foods. As further stated by the Academy of nutrition & Dietetics, breast-milk (or formula) should be an infant’s primary nutrition source until 12 months, then plant-based milks can be included. Always aim to purchase organic soy where possible. Other plant-based milks are less nutritious than soy. According to the Dietitians Association of Australia It is recommended that kids under 5 years old do not consume rice milk as it is low in protein and calcium.
Seeds are a great alternative to nuts. For example, instead of peanut butter, you can use sunflower seed butter or hemp butter if your child has allergies.
No soy, no problem! There are many other foods you can add to your child’s diet. Seitan, legumes, mushrooms and jackfruit go great in dishes and give a nice texture that you might miss without soy products, particularly if you are a plant-based/vegan family. If you are looking for a plant-based milk for your child, ripple pea milk is relatively similar to soy nutritionally so this may be a good option.