How to Make Meals More Allergy Friendly
Ever find a great recipe (ahem, cough cough, on Maggie’s Fresh Kitchen) but you have a food allergy and the ingredients aren’t compliant? Don’t stress sometimes all you need is a simple ingredient swap and your meal will taste just as delicious! Remember these are cooking suggestions, baking is a whole different ball game!
Flour: Sub almond flour for wheat flour. Almond flour is best for coating chicken, binding meatballs and thickening sauces. The difference in taste is minimal, and your whole family will still enjoy your fantastic meal.
Noodles: There are plenty of options on the market today for substituting noodles. You will find rice, quinoa, corn and even lentil pasta lining the health food section of your grocery store. I personally find brown rice pasta to be the most compatible to wheat noodles. If you want to avoid grains all together, no problem! Try using zoodles (spiralized zucchini) or a spaghetti squash.
- Tip: Many people don’t know that soy sauce contains gluten, substitute Tamari 1:1. This is also a soy based sauce, found next to your traditional soy sauces. It has an almost identical taste, nobody will ever know, if I can trick my husband trust me yours won’t notice either!
Milk: Cow’s milk is easily substituted with almond milk. Again, the taste difference is so mild that your dishes will still taste amazing. When purchasing an almond milk, some brands contain a caveat of additives, yuck! Make sure to check that you are purchasing one free of Carrageenan, and stick to organic if possible.
Dairy: Heavy cream is slightly more difficult to substitute, but surely not impossible. I have found that full-fat canned coconut milk or coconut cream to be the closest alternative. This cooks up the exact same way, but there is noticeable taste difference, if you love the taste of coconuts, you will love this! Sometimes it even makes the taste better.
Soy isn’t an ingredient that typically needs to be substituted, simply because it is not commonly used. Two areas I have found that are particularly difficult when trying to avoid soy
- MOST shelf stable, processed products used some form on soy: either as a filler or a preservative. Unfortunately I’ve seen this being the case in many products being marketed for gluten-free, so it’s essentially swapping one allergen for another, both of which can have negative health effects. Make sure to check your labels, all allergens are listed at the bottom of each ingredient list.
- Soy sauce. Most Asian inspired dishes contain soy sauce (or gluten free tamari), and who doesn’t love a good fried rice!?!?! Coconut aminos are a perfect substitute, this one is my favorite. You can find my favorite here
- You don’t have to deal with crumbling meatballs or meatloaf just because you have an egg allergy! Whisk together 1 teaspoon of ground flaxseed with 1/4 cup of water for each egg to be replaced, and whalaa! You have perfect meatballs once again. This is also a perfect substitute while baking
- Nut can be tricky because there are so many different varieties and different types of allergies. If you have an allergy only to peanuts, just swap out for any other nuts you and your family enjoy, almond, cashew, walnut, etc…. Any nut butter can also be subbed for peanut butter.
- If your recipe calls for nuts as a topping in say a “cashew chicken” or in a salad, try using pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Equally as delicious and will provide the same crunch, without making you sick.
I hope this makes you feel more confident in the kitchen, and inspires you to cook your favorite dishes! With that said, I am not a dietitian nor a doctor, if you have a specific question or are unsure on any of the ingredients suggested, please consult your doctor first. Happy Cooking!!!!