Genius Life Hacks for Eating-on-the-Go with Food Allergies
Updated: May 2
“So what CAN they eat?” This is the top question I get asked after rattling off the long list of foods our three kids must avoid. Peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, legumes, mustard, sesame, soy protein and sunflower seeds are the daily threats we navigate in the real world.
Unlike some health conditions you just move through and overcome, the food allergy walk requires constant vigilance and thoughtful pre-planning as you anticipate how and when food will show up throughout the day. The mental load can feel heavy and relentless, but the investment is worth it when kids make lasting memories.
Our kids are so happy to be going back to school in person, playing team sports, taking dance classes, piano lessons, meeting friends at the park and just living their lives outside of our home again. Unlike shelter-at-home Covid days where we could safely manage their food options, we now leave behind the comfort of our kitchen as we adventure out of the house.
Developing these skills to leave our comfort zone takes courage, skill practice, and a mindset shift that fights against our tendency to run from our fears. The process can feel slow and clunky as we prototype what works best for our lifestyle. Luckily through the struggle, you do learn what works for your family, and gradually become more comfortable eating outside of our home.
We have found some awesome 'life hacks' to keep everyone safe while getting back to fully living our lives. We had to share these must-have products with this community! My hope is that these tools help reduce the friction in living our lives fully and allow a bit more spontaneity back into our lives.
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PORTABLE MINI OVEN (plugs into car lighter outlet or wall outlet)
Food-on-the-go does not always mean sandwiches! Sometimes you want a hot meal but there is not a convenient way to reheat homemade pasta. This portable mini oven can plug into a wall outlet or even your car lighter outlet to slow cook a meal or just reheat a meal. It opens your menu choices up quite a bit for the possibilities of eating on the go!
When temperatures climb and you are living life outside, it’s hard to find a way to keep your epinephrine cool without freezing it. Ideally it would be at room temperature. The Frio pack using cooling gel to keep the medicine cooler on hot days. Our son puts his Frio pack in his sports backpack in the heat and we don’t worry about the medicine overheating. A must have for summer or high-heat climates!
HIDDEN EPINEPHRINE BELT
Our son was looking for a discreet way to wear his two Auvi-Qs at all times. The summer before 4th grade we bought this SPI belt and he practiced the habit of wearing this belt daily under his shirt around his waistband. With daily nudges he gradually became more independent in remembering to put on his belt. He wore it for all of 4th grade and continues to wear it without a fight in 5th grade. He plays hard at recess, jumping and running around and only takes it off when he puts it in his bag to play organized sports. The belt stays snug at his waist. SPI belt designs their products for active wear and we affix the devices next to each other with a bit of tape to keep the devices snugly in position so they don't bounce around.
SILICONE TRAY (for bake or no-bake energy bars)
Sometimes food planning does not always pan out in real life, and you may find yourself underestimating how much safe food you'll consume. We combine our favorite cereals with healthy oils (avocado, coconut or vegan butter) along with flax or chia seeds for a binder to create no-bake energy bars. After you mix the ingredients together, you can refrigerate or freeze the bars for when you need to 'grab and go'. Or you can bake ingredients in this high-heat safe tray. Once ready to eat, we usually bring a small cooler for the car when we're away from home for several hours. The energy bars hold together nicely when you’re ready to eat them. These are easy, healthy and nutrient-dense snacks to keep you full!
Finding a clean surface in a public place where you can safely eat is not always easy to do, especially when you don't have warm, soapy water handy to remove potential food allergens. Flatbox turns your lunchbox into a machine-washable placemat, (made from triple-insulated Neoprene) . We have two of these lunchboxes and they have remained durable after many laundry washes, still looking new too. Our daughters feel safer having a barrier between their food and the lunchroom table at school, and these continue to provide a versatile picnic experience whenever we are on the move.
EMOJI PANCAKE PAN
For food allergy families, finding a positive association with food takes work! You can’t help but start your day right when you serve these fun faces pancakes. Making batches ahead of time in this pan allows you to freeze extras for quick-serve breakfast in the morning rush. Kids also love to be involved in creating these fun faces too.
Did this post spark other must-know life hacks that you want to share with our food allergy community? Make sure to follow us (scroll down to bottom of page) and tag @feedyourcan.
We will happily feature your ideas and credit your genius life hack in an upcoming post or newsletter!