Saturday, October 16, 2010

Allergy-free Hospitality - Pt 2

Here's part 2 - the next edition of learning how to love on people with food-allergies by speaking their food-love language. Think of it as allergy-free hospitality.

If you are new to cooking for friends/family/self with food allergies, you probably start thinking about expensive and exotic foods that can only be purchased at a health food store.

True, the health food store will help you find an abundance of great products that can help address almost any food restrictions. The short-cut mixes and kits can be extremely healthy.

False, the health food store is not the only place to shop for foods that are allergen-free. A less expensive place to start is on the outer ring in your grocery store. Along the exterior walls, you will usually find the produce, meat, and refrigerated sections. These departments are where you will find the majority whole foods (name given to foods that are in their natural state/not processed with other ingredients). Serving green peppers (and other fruits & veggies) to someone with a peanut allergy is a safe bet (as long as you are handling the ingredients in a safe way). Roasted meat (look for proteins that is not injected with solutions, marinaded, or processed) is a tasty and gluten-free dinner choice.

The inner isles of the store contains most of your processed foods. You can find great options there as well, but CAREFULLY read the whole label (and save the packaging for your friends to double check).

Here's a list of foods that I suggest to family/friends when they ask what to serve:
  • Grilled/roasted/baked chicken, steak, roast, pork, etc (watch seasonings)
  • Hamburgers (not served on a bun)
  • Plain white or brown rice
  • Potato
  • Veggies
  • Fruit
  • Plain potato chips (watching for oils & flavorings)
  • Tortilla chips (watching for oils & ingredients) & salsa (look for fresh)
  • Rice noodles
  • Air popped or stove popped popcorn
  • Popsicles
  • Applesauce
  • Mexican and Asian recipes are often free of allergens or easily adapted to make them safe
  • Etc
There are plenty of great options that are inexpensive and very simple to make. Summertime is the easiest season when everything can be thrown on the grill.

You can do it. In fact, you may often cook this way and never realize that it is safe for those you love with food intolerances and allergies.

Next time we'll take a look at pitfalls and things to look at - many of which you would have never guessed. It may be a bit overwhelming, or a lot. Even being well educated and fairly carefully, I still miss things and make unsafe choices for my son. Everyday is a learning process and a chance to enjoy the wonderful foods that are good for our bodies

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