One of the hardest obstacles I have encountered since becoming a parent of a food allergy kid is what to feed him. My oldest lived off of peanut butter before the PB debacle - many days it was the only true protein that I got into him. PB&J, PB & Banana, PB & baby carrots, PB & apples, and so on. Just before learning of Luke's nut allergy I was starting to think about letting him try peanut butter, as I was desperate for an easy meal solution. Since Cody did so well with it, I had high hopes that I could turn to peanut butter for both boys.
Now that we know about his allergy, peanut butter is out completely. We don't keep anything that mentions the word "nut" on the label. So not only is it lacking as a meal idea for Luke, it's also not a meal idea for Cody. There are peanut butter alternatives out there - soy nut butter, sunflower seed butter, almond and cashew butters, etc. The nut butters are a definite no, I have no desire to discover if Luke is anaphylactic to them as well. Soy butter is out, as I am trying to limit our soy intake. We do use Sunflower Seed Butter. I don't particularly care for it -the consistency is similar to natural peanut butter, but it leaves an aftertaste that I'm not crazy about. At first Cody refused to eat it, but now he will occasionally ask for it. I don't give it to Luke. First, as he gets older, I don't want to confuse him. I don't want him to see peanut butter and think it's something that is safe for him. Second, emotionally, I have a hard time giving him something that resembles a food that could have killed him. When I make Cody's sunflower sandwich, seeing the sunbutter on the knife gives me the heebie jeebies, it's a bad reminder.
Of course Luke's other allergy, egg, is just as difficult. Egg is in a lot, from salad dressings to frozen french toast, pastas, etc. Sesame seed is in more and more foods, and the worst part is it's not a Top 8 Allergen, so companies don't even have to list it as a food ingredient. Anything that has "spices" in their ingredients could include sesame. It's scary, and frustrating. Especially since we don't know if it's truly an allergen for him.
The hardest part is not being able to just give him whatever is handy. When we're out, I have to be careful about where we stop to eat if we need to grab something fast. McDonalds is out of the picture until October when they're supposed to stop serving the Reese's McFlurries. Chik-Fil-A, a former favorite, is out because they use peanut oil. Panera Bread serves peanut butter, and doesn't give me a warm feeling about eliminating cross contamination.
This is a sample of what I feed him, while avoiding all nuts, eggs, sesame. We're also currently avoiding barley, rice, oats and banana as a trial. It's a short list, but it works for us for now. Most items are portable, which is nice for going to playdates or to the mall.
Fresh Fruit (strawberries, pears, nectarines and watermelon are his favorites)
Steamed Veggies (broccoli and carrots are favorites)
Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Organic String Cheese
Gold Fish crackers
Trader Joe's Mini Cheese Pizzas
Chex Corn Cereal
Sliced American Cheese
Kirkland Mickey Mouse Chicken Nuggets
Wegman's Pasta (marked as vegan - no egg and not processed with egg! This is literally the only reason I shop there)
Classico Pasta Sauce
Whipped Cream Cheese
I try to do organic as much as I can, within reason. My budget doesn't allow everything to be organic. I focus on the things that both boys eat the most, dairy and fruit. Trader Joe's has an awesome selection of organic products at very good prices - most of the time what I pay for organic there is comparable to what I would pay for conventional at the grocery store.
Luke is not a sweets kind of kid, at least not yet. I was lucky enough to win the new The Divvies Bakery Cookbook: No Nuts. No Eggs. No Dairy. Just Delicious! cookbook recently, and am looking forward to trying some of the treats in there. Maybe having a yummy eggless cookie or cupcake will convert him =)