: A Nutritionally Balanced Diet
If your child is allergic to wheat, dairy, nuts, or another major allergen, removing foods from your child's diet can lead to the loss of important nutrients. A balanced diet is essential for healthy growth and development, so it's important to find safe sources of the nutrients lost from food your child must avoid.
Kids with Food Allergies, a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, offers the following substitutions for ensuring your child gets the nutrition she needs.
One of the most common food allergies in young kids, milk provides many of the nutrients vital for bone growth, including protein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, B12, riboflavin, and phosphorus.
Meats, poultry, eggs, fish, nuts, and legumes are good substitutions for protein. But to get enough calcium, your child may need to eat more non-dairy foods than she is capable of eating. For example, a child who needs 500 mg of calcium daily would need to eat as much as four cups of leafy greens to meet that requirement.
In this case, seek out calcium-fortified foods as well as a high-quality multivitamin specifically formulated for kids.
Eggs provide quality protein as well as iron, biotin, folate, selenium, and vitamins A, D, and E. Meat, poultry, fish, milk, nuts, and legumes can supply protein, and meat will also supply selenium, iron, and vitamin B12. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes are rich in folate.
If your child consumes a wholesome, varied diet, avoiding eggs should not put him at risk for nutritional deficiencies.
Peanut and Tree Nut Allergy
Nuts are a great source of protein as well as selenium, B vitamins, vitamin E, and magnesium. Many other foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains also provide these nutrients. Consuming a variety of foods as well as a children's multi will ensure that your child isn't missing out on these important nutrients.
Soybeans can provide one of the highest quality proteins in a child's diet, plus zinc, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and B vitamins. A soy-restricted diet shouldn't cause nutritional deficiencies if your child's diet contains a variety of fruits, veggies, fortified grains, and other sources of protein.
Wheat is a great source of B vitamins, folic acid, and iron, but it can be easily replaced by other grains if your child is allergic. Grains like corn, rice, barley, and oats are good, nutritious alternatives, but just be sure to select grains from reputable sources to avoid the possibility of cross-contact. Since the milling process can remove important nutrients, also look for enriched and fortified grains.
Fish is an excellent source of quality protein and it also contains B vitamins and vitamins A and E plus the minerals selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and zinc. If your child needs to avoid fish, you can find the same nutrients in other protein sources including legumes, meats, and even whole grains.
For more information, visit Kids with Food Allergies, www.kidswithfoodallergies.org.