The nutrition goal for people living with food allergies is about managing your dietary intake so the allergenic food is avoided (so a reaction does not occur) and ensuring nutritional adequacy. An Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) can help you deal with limited variety, feeding difficulties, suspected nutrient deficiency and food planning issues.
If you suspect you or someone you know has a food allergy an allergist, gastroenterologist or a paediatrician can help to diagnose and understand the food allergies. More information can be found at https://www.allergyfacts.org.au and https://allergy.org.au.
An APD can help you to:
- Gain skills to avoid an allergic reaction.
This may involve learning how to read nutrition labels, translating the allergenic ingredients and understanding the food sources of the allergen.
Looking for egg on the food label may not be straightforward. Egg may appear as the obvious ‘egg’ or not so obvious ‘albumin’, ‘glaze’ (on baked goods) and ‘ovomucoid’ for example. When reviewing a label for milk and milk products, you may notice the terms ‘milk’, ‘butter’, ‘ghee’, ‘calcium caseinate’ and Whey protein’. There are many more terms to describe egg and milk/milk products. If you are unsure what an ingredient is you may simply see on the label a description that states the allergen(s). Something like “This product contains milk and egg.”
2. Ensure nutrient adequacy through a variety of food to promote health and growth in children.
Focusing on food substitutes will help you to create a balanced diet. Nutritional supplements are helpful if you have difficulty achieving adequate nutrition with the food substitutes. Dietitians always encourage food first.
The table shows suitable food substitutes for egg and dairy and the key nutrient.
|Allergen||Food||Key nutrients||Substitute food|
|Cow’s Milk Protein||Cow’s Milk||Protein, carbohydrate, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium||Soy/rice/oat/nut milks, meat, legumes, nuts, whole grains|
|Cow’s Yoghurt||Protein, carbohydrate, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium||Soy yoghurt|
|Cow’s Cheese||Protein, carbohydrate, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium||Soy cheese, soy cream cheese
(Are not comparable to cow’s cheese ie. Use for variety)
|Egg||Egg||Protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, folate, iodine, omega 3s||Meats, fish, legumes, whole grains|
NB – Calcium-fortified milk should contain about 120mg/100ml.
3. Keep the fun at meal times.
An APD can help you to keep the fun and pleasure around eating and minimise any stress associated with being diagnosed and living with food allergies. This ‘how’ in nutrition adds to a positive quality of life.
What do you find is your biggest dietary challenge?
Mine was travelling to Japan and trying to communicate my son’s dietary needs to staff who speak little to no English! We’ll be right for our next trip to Japan as I’m learning Japanese 😉