Finding out that your child has a peanut allergy can be devastating to a parent. Peanut allergies can be frighteningly severe and unlike with many other kinds of allergies, an affected child can become ill even if she eats something that has merely come in contact with a peanut. While the list of foods to avoid is lengthy, if parents are careful and remain aware of problematic ingredients, kids with peanut allergies can safely enjoy a wide variety of delicious and nutritious foods.
Foods Your Child Can Eat
Even if a packaged food does not appear to contain peanuts, double check that there are no traces of peanuts in the product. Many packaged cookies, candy bars, ice creams and cake mixes are overtly labeled as "peanut free," and certain restaurant chains pride themselves on avoiding peanuts altogether. Naturally, your child is also free to eat fresh meat, fruits and vegetables or items that you prepare in your own peanut-free kitchen.
Whenever buying a pre-packaged food or an item from a commercial bakery, check the package for a peanut allergy warning. Kids who are allergic to peanuts must avoid anything labeled as containing peanuts, traces of peanuts or manufactured in a facility that also processes peanuts. If there is no indication on the label that the product may contain peanuts and it is manufactured by a domestic brand that you trust, it is likely safe for your child to eat. If you have any concerns, call the brand's customer service department before feeding the product to your child.
Fried Foods and Restaurants
When eating out, you might want to avoid deep fried foods that may be cooked in peanut oil, which is commonly used in some fast food restaurants. However, according to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, some children with peanut allergies can safely consume peanut oil, which doesn't include some types of gourmet oils like cold pressed, extruded or expelled peanut oils. To be safe, ask your server what kind of oil the food is fried in and if there is any peanut oil on the premises, and ask your child's doctor if it is safe for her to eat peanut oil. Since many fast food chains purposely avoid peanut oil to accommodate customers with peanut allergies, with some research you should be able to find plenty of places where your family can dine without worry.
Unfamiliar and Non-Labeled Foods
Even though there are many foods that are safe for kids with peanut allergies, as a parent you must be vigilant, especially when dealing with unfamiliar foods. Be careful with any prepackaged cakes and cookies, candy, ice cream and sauces that you have not used before. Use special caution with imported foods, as other countries may not have the same label guidelines as the United States. Also avoid foods containing other nuts, since even if your child's allergy is restricted to peanuts, facilities that process tree nuts often also process peanuts.