Food Allergy Living Blog

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2016 Unique Summer Activities for the Family

Posted 7.1.16 | Nutrition Specialist

The end of school and start of summer vacation is here! Yippee and oh my! Right?

Summer is a great time for activities for the whole family. You probably already have one or several plans on your summer horizon, but are probably open to suggestions too. Great! Creative activities have my name all over them and I’m happy to share.

But wait- first of all, are you worried about taking on all this fun adventure and keeping track of food allergies? Never fear, Neocate is here with an abundance of resources and tools with your food allergy needs in mind.  For instance, have you seen our NEW Footsteps App? Consider it a go-to anywhere, anytime assistant. Seriously! You can reference a video all about it featured in this blog New Neocate Footsteps App – Support in YOUR Pocket.

One of the app features that is great for allergy kids on the go this summer, is the Allergy Card section. This features can be used to organize important information about your child’s food allergy and taken along or shared with others. No need to memorize. You can even create multiple cards for caregivers, camp counsellors. These cards can be shared in multiple ways or simply printed and stashed in your backpack. Allergy cards provide a simple way to present information pertaining to your child’s condition(s), Neocate products used, Medication(s), Allergen(s) as well as Doctors information. It even includes option for you to put additional notes, add recipes and links to favorite Neocate resources too. Pretty cool, huh?

Now are you ready for some summer family fun suggestions?  OK, here you go!

Happy 100th Birthday to our National Park System

National Park System is celebrating its centennial birthday on August 25, 2016 and EVERYONE is invited to share in the celebration. Check it out here

There are some pretty awesome downloadable guides from the National Parks download center, here are a few offerings:

  • National Park Owner’s Guide – Filled with detailed maps, travel tips for over 400 parks.
  • Parks are for Play – Meant for parents to help kids enjoy, explore, and have adventures together.
  • Happy Trails – Spanning all levels of expertise, this guide is meant to inspire park wanderlust.
  • Urban Playgrounds – A park list within or close to metropolitan areas for day trip experiences.

You may want to look at our previous post Food Allergy Free Holiday Activities for more on this topic.  Sometimes outside fun can happen in your own backyard and we have fun ideas for this too.

Happy Birthday AMERICA!

July 4th will mark the 240th anniversary of when the original thirteen colonies declared their independence from Britain in 1776.Check out your local listing of 4th of July events such as parades and fireworks. Check out our previous posts on this too:

Rainy Day Blues?

No problem! If you’re looking for something relaxing, creative or active, our post Rain Day=Fun Day is full of great ideas.

Whatever you do and wherever you go this summer- ENJOY! And remember to take the Nutricia Footsteps app along with you.

-Jody L. Benitz, MS, RDN

How to Get Neocate Covered – Discover the Nutricia Navigator Difference

Posted 6.21.16 | Nutrition Specialist

Nutricia Navigator
The insurance landscape can be an intricate and confusing space. The bad news is that this landscape is getting more and more multifaceted. Unique sets of terms, changing legislature governing medical food, and new private and government-funded health insurance plans are just few of the elements that add to the complexity. The good news is that you don’t have to navigate world of healthcare coverage alone.

At Neocate we offer a free service created to help you find product access and coverage. This service is called Navigator and it helps you do just that, navigate. Nutricia Navigator provides resources and support to help answer your reimbursement questions. For example:

  • Do I have to pay for out-of-pocket costs?
  • My insurance denied product coverage, now what?
  • I am on WIC, is Neocate covered?

Our Navigator team works with Medicaid, WIC, self-funded plans, commercial insurance, & state mandates. Here's a quick video that provides an overview of the services the Navigator team provides:

Hear from Michael & Jennifer Derouen from Kingwood, TX on how Nutricia Navigator assisted them to obtain coverage for Neocate after they were initially denied coverage by their insurance company:

How can Navigator Help?

  • Contact your insurance plan to verify if you have coverage
  • Helps you understand where & how Nutricia products can be covered
  • Will assist in appealing denials for Nutricia product coverage through medical necessity support
  • Initiates joint calls between you, healthcare teams & insurance companies to guide you through difficult reimbursement processes

What Makes Nutricia Navigator Service Unique?

The Navigator team will go above and beyond to investigate all possible avenues to help you have the Nutricia product in-hand and make sure all questions have been answered. The Nutricia Navigator service is a piece of a comprehensive suite of tools and services Neocate offers as part of the Neocate Footsteps program. Learn More.

How to Contact Navigator

There are several ways you can contact our Navigator team, just choose the one that works best for you:

  • Email – Send an email to our team
  • Call – Give a call at 1-800-365-7354 and select option 5 between 10 am – 5 pm ET, Monday- Friday

Our goal is to help every family’s food allergy journey become as simple as possible. Even if, in the past, you have been denied coverage for Neocate by your insurance company, we encourage for you to double-check with our Navigator team to see if all possible options have been exhausted.

If our Navigator team has helped you, please share your experience with others below!

Father’s Day Gifts Kids Can Make

Posted 6.16.16 | Nutrition Specialist

With Father’s Day quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about what to get dad for his special day. Instead of heading to the mall, try taking some time with your little one to create a handmade gift! All of the gifts below are inexpensive and can be made with your children’s help!

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Custom Golf Balls - Use recycled golf balls to make a custom gift for dad! All you need are markers and a little creativity to paint!






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Popsicle Stick Photo Frames - All you need are popsicle sticks, tape, and glue! Print out your favorite picture with dad and add it to a customized frame.






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Superdad Footprint Card - This is the perfect craft to get your children excited for Father’s Day. Use any color paint you want your super dad to be. You can also paint a shirt and gift to dads or grandpas!





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“My Dad Rocks” - The hardest part of making this craft is finding the perfect rock! From there, all you need to do is wash it and paint a little message.






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Paper Tie Craft - This is a super easy DIY paper tie you and your little one can make for Father’s Day. You can write a personal message on the ties, paste a cut out of your children’s hands or decorate however you choose!






For more fun gift ideas, check out our list of last-minute gift ideas here. From all of us at Nutricia North America, we would like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all food allergy dads!



Cow Milk Allergy – It’s More Than Just Blood in Stool

Posted 6.14.16 | Nutrition Specialist

According to Food Allergy Research & Education, Inc (FARE), approximately 2.5% of children younger than 3 years of age are allergic to cow milk. Most of these infants and children will outgrow their cow milk allergy, while some may not.

How Do I Know if My Child is Allergic to Cow Milk?

Blood in a child’s stool can be a sign of an allergy to cow milk, and it's one that you may have heard about, or that your healthcare team may have shared with you. But what are some other signs that your child might be allergic to cow milk?

The following infographic highlights eight common signs and symptoms of a cow milk allergy (CMA), while also providing tips on what parents should look for and next steps if children are exhibiting signs of CMA.


Difference Between Lactose Intolerance and Milk Allergy

Now that we've reviewed common CMA signs and symptoms, you might be wondering, What is the difference between CMA and lactose intolerance? The following video from Dr. Adam Fox helps to explain the difference:

Dr. Adam Fox

Common Signs and symptoms of a Cow Milk Allergy

These signs or symptoms may take anywhere from minutes to hours to days until they appear.

  • Skin Rash/Itchy Skin/Hives
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme fussiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive Gas
  • Wheezing, coughing or other respiratory symptoms

Now, let’s talk about each of these signs in further detail.

Skin Rash/Itchy Skin/Hives

There are many causes of rashes in infants and children. Some are viral, others are due to something in the environment, but some may be due to the food that your child is consuming if he or she has an allergy. If hives develop right after your child has consumed food, it may warrant further investigation into food allergies. The skin around the mouth may be especially itchy if your child has certain food allergies. Note where the rash is and if it seems to bother your child. Remember that old saying, “A picture is worth 1,000 words”. If a rash appears on your child, don’t forget to take a picture and show it to your doctor. If you would like to keep a diary of all the symptoms your child is exhibiting and what she consumed, make sure to check-out the Neocate Footsteps App.


Some babies spit-up after eating if they eat too much, too quickly or a combination of both. They may also vomit due to an illness. By keeping track of your child’s vomiting, it may help to determine if cow milk is the cause of her vomiting.

Extreme Fussiness

The definition of colic applies to healthy, well-fed infants who cry more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week, for more than 3 weeks. Even though these criteria exist, colic is not well defined. The crying and fussiness that we call colic could mean that they are experiencing extreme abdominal pain, and cow milk may be the cause. Investigate extreme fussiness with your pediatrician to determine if there is a change in your child’s diet that may help.


Diarrhea (and other gastrointestinal symptoms) may be due to the foods your child eats or to an illness. It is important to note when the diarrhea starts and how long it lasts. If diarrhea continues more than 2-4 times per day for more than 5-7 days, it may be a sign of a cow milk allergy. It is also important to note if there is mucus and/or blood in the stool, as these can also indicate a cow milk allergy.

Excessive Gas

Babies can be gassy as their gastrointestinal tracts get used to foods they are consuming. If your child seems excessively gassy and it has a foul odor, it may be a sign of a cow milk allergy, especially when it is in combination with some of these other symptoms.

Wheezing, coughing or other respiratory symptoms

Respiratory symptoms may be a more serious sign of a cow milk allergy and should be taken seriously if you suspect your child has more than a cold. These include wheezing and coughing. If your child starts wheezing or has other respiratory problems after consuming cow milk-containing foods, seek medical attention. More severe than other respiratory symptoms is anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention.

It is best to talk with your healthcare provider if you suspect a food allergy, and keep track of the symptoms with a food diary to help determine what the food allergen may be. The Neocate® Footsteps App can help you keep track of some of these symptoms and allows you to take pictures, if need be, of any skin rashes or other reactions.

Management of a Cow Milk Allergy

If your child is allergic to cow milk, your doctor may recommend a hypoallergenic formula like Neocate to help meet your child’s nutritional needs. Neocate products are available for children of all ages for the dietary management of a cow milk allergy. Just like you'd expect, Neocate is dairy-free! Learn more about available Neocate products.

Can You Outgrow a Milk Allergy?

Most infants and children eventually outgrow a cow milk allergy. However there is no specific age by which this will happen. Each child is unique. Over the years, research has shown that most children will outgrow a cow milk allergy within a few years. For more severe cow milk allergies, research has shown it can take longer. For example, some researchers found that 80% of chidlren they followed with CMA outgrew their allergy by 16 years of age. Read more.

These are just some of the signs and symptoms of a cow milk allergy with a couple frequently asked questions we encounter. When it comes to cow milk allergy, what other questions do you have that we can address in our future posts?


4 Recipe Ideas for Neocate that are “Just Right”

Posted 6.9.16 | Nutrition Specialist

Do you remember the story of Goldilocks and the three bears? Of course you do. But if you don’t, this is the story about a little girl who, when faced with a number of options in various scenarios, always chose the option in the middle, the one that was “just right.” Wouldn’t it be great if every decision we made in life had a “just right” option, and didn't involve angry bears?

Unfortunately, choosing a hypoallergenic formula can pose a challenge for some families. Let me explain what I mean. Over the years, we at Neocate have offered families lots of options of hypoallergenic formula. Families of children over one year can choose an unflavored formula, or they can choose a flavored formula. And we offer more than one flavor, we offer seven great flavors! Not only that, families can choose from formulas that are powders and others that are liquid, or ready-to-drink. So convenient! And finally, some of our formula options have added prebiotic fiber to help support gut health.

With all of those choices, especially all the tasty flavors, you’d think it would be easy to find the right formula, if not several that would work. Unfortunately, some children prefer a formula that’s mildly flavored and mildly sweetened. For them, especially some when transitioning from Neocate Infant DHA/ARA around their first birthday, new flavors can seem strong. Young children may also not be ready for sweet beverages. On the other hand, they may find unflavored hypoallergenic formulas (we offer 3) a bit too plain or not quite sweet enough.

For years we’ve given parents and healthcare teams in this predicament guidance that, for these children, it may be best to try a mix of Neocate Junior, Unflavored and Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Vanilla. That mixture should give a nice middle-of-the road level of both flavor and sweetness. But we’ve never given more guidance than mixing them “half and half.” Until now.

I decided to sit down and really see if 50:50 was the right ratio. Through trial and error, I realized that wasn’t my favorite, but I did find the ratio of these two products that I think is “just right.” By that I mean it’s got a mild vanilla flavor and is mildly sweet, similar to vanilla-flavored dairy substitutes. You may prefer different levels of sweetness and vanilla than I do, but at least you can use these recipes as a starting point.

Neocate Junior + Neocate Junior


I was also curious what ratio might work well when mixing Neocate Splash, Unflavored and Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Vanilla. Because Neocate Splash, Unflavored is sweeter than the unflavored Neocate Junior powders, I wasn’t surprised that a 50:50 ratio was sweeter than I was looking for. But I was surprised to find that using mostly Splash gave the best flavor and sweetness. Here are the recipes I came up with:

Neocate Splash + Neocate Junior


You may be wondering how many cans of Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Vanilla you would need for every case of Neocate Splash, Unflavored. One can of Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Vanilla will give you about 48 level scoops, and each case of Neocate Splash, Unflavored has 27 drink boxes. For the top recipe (1 drink box to 1 scoop) you’ll need about 1 can of Neocate Junior to 2 cases of Splash. For the bottom recipe (1 drink box to 2 scoops), you’d need about 1 can of Neocate Junior per case of Neocate Splash.

While we’re talking about recipes, we know a lot of parents and healthcare professionals get creative when adding Neocate to the diet outside of using a bottle or cup. One of our latest recipes uses Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Unflavored in a delicious veggie cake. This recipe was developed by a chef who’s also a registered dietitian, so you know it’s tasty! Watch her prepare this delicious recipe: 

Let us know if you find these recipes helpful! What ratio tastes best to you or your loved one?

-- Rob



3 Easy Steps for Success when Explaining Food Allergies to your Toddler

Posted 6.7.16 | Nutrition Specialist

Okay, I admit it.  I don’t always know what to say when I am trying to describe a health condition or diagnosis to someone else.  I find this to be true when talking to my patients but even more so when trying to explain my own personal health to my family and friends.  Putting aside the emotions that come along with many health situations, I often struggle to find the right words to accurately describe my health so loved ones understand and can support me if needed, while not creating unnecessary concern.

So if I have a hard time talking about my health to my family and friends, how can you as a parent find a way to explain food allergies to your child? It is an essential conversation, and often one that needs to happen quite early in your child’s life to make sure your little one understands why their food choices are important.  It can be even more critical to prepare them for times when you are not there to guide them and oversee their food choices.  

Quick overview of how to Explain Food Allergies:


Now let’s dive a bit deeper on where to start:

Talking to toddlers can be tricky since they usually have a short attention span with lots of emotions.  You will want to get your point across to your toddler while not scaring them or creating fear about what they are eating.  Well fear not!! We have 3 quick and easy steps to help make this a breeze for you as a parent.  

Step 1: Pick Your Key Words

You will want to make this conversation simple and quick, so the first step is to pick your key words to communicate which foods are okay and which ones to avoid.  Perhaps words like “safe foods” and “unsafe foods”, or maybe “green light foods” and “red light foods” might work for your family.  Even something simple like “yes foods” and “no foods” will help your toddler know quickly which foods they can eat and which ones to avoid.

I personally do not like to use “bad foods” because this can make foods and/or meals negative. I like to always focus on the positive side of any situation, and this is especially true when talking about food restrictions. Maybe because I am generally a positive person, but I also think this helps people to think of food as pleasurable and meals as a fun time. You may find other foods that will need to be added to the list of “red light foods” after new foods are introduced into your child’s diet.

Ask your healthcare team for tips and suggestions for key words that they like to use, or even other parents who have children with food allergies.  Make sure to let us know in the comments below if you have any suggestions to share with other parents that worked well for you.

Keep in mind, most toddlers are very visual. For your conversation, think about incorporating visual aids to help make it smooth, clear and non-scary. Another way you can start the conversation is by reading a book or viewing a video about your child’s food allergy. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started. There are tons of resources available to find the one that is right just for you and your family:

Step 2: Make a List

You will want to make a list with all the critical points to include during your conversation. This will help make sure you cover the most important pieces of information clearly and effectively. You know your child best, so think about what items are the most important to include or maybe what they need to know so they are prepared and confident. You may also want to ask your healthcare team where you should focus or ideas on what to include on your list as they will likely have wonderful tips for you. They also know your toddler so they will know what is important for your child if you need more ideas.

Here’s a list of ideas that can help your conversation planning:

  • Key Words. You will of course want to explain the Key Words that you have chosen to identify foods. You might also want to discuss which foods are “green light foods” or “red light foods” or perhaps where you might keep a list of foods for them and others as a reference.

  • Symptoms or Reactions to Food Allergens. Your toddler will need to know what will happen if they eat something they are allergic to. This point will not only help them understand why this is an important topic, but also help them learn about their body.  Does their tummy hurt, does their skin itch or turn red? Or perhaps there is a more immediate reaction such as trouble breathing you will want to cover.

  • What To Do/Who to Tell if They Feel Funny. Who should they talk to or what happens when they start to have allergy symptoms? Which person do they need to alert about how they are feeling so they can get the care that is needed? It is important to make sure they know accidents can happen, but also know what to do so they feel confident about the foods they are eating. This can be especially helpful if they are still trying new foods so they can quickly communicate how they are feeling if anything changes.

  • Any Specific Rules for Eating. Is there an adult that they must check with before eating? Perhaps there are other rules for your family at mealtimes, or maybe rules you want them to follow when eating away from home to keep them safe.

Step 3: Practice and Repeat

Practice the conversation with another family member or friend. A trial run is always helpful to make sure your thoughts are organized. This final step will also help you to be clear and effective. Once you are ready to have a conversation with your toddler, remember this is an ongoing topic. You will want to repeat the information many times. As the parent of a toddler, you already know that you must repeat yourself many times before the information starts to sink in. Repetition is necessary for learning at this age, so be sure to enlist the help of the entire family and your support system to make sure everyone has the same message and uses the same key words. These 3 easy steps will help prepare you for success when explaining food allergies to your toddler.

I am always entertained by what kids say and how they see the world around them. Let us know how your child describes their food allergies to others, or perhaps how you were able to successfully explain food allergies to your child in the comments below.

--Kristin Crosby, MS, RDN


Tips for Planning an Allergy-Friendly Picnic

Posted 5.30.16 | Irina Kabigting

Are you looking for a simple and fun activity to share with your family? As the weather warms up, it’s the perfect time of the year to pack up a picnic basket and head out with the family. We have a few tips to make sure your picnic will be a walk in the park!

Keep it simple.

You don’t have to go far to enjoy eating outside with your family. You can even pack up a basket and head out to the back yard!

Pack in advance.

We recommend packing ahead of time so you don’t forget any key ingredients. Make sure to pack:

  • Tablecloths if your location has a picnic table
  • Blankets if you plan on hanging out on the grass
  • Napkins
  • Anti-bacterial spray or wet wipes (Keep those hands clean!)
  • Plates
  • Utensils
  • Cups
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • Emergency medication & epinephrine auto-injector if one has been prescribed by your doctor

*Don’t forget to throw in extra hand wipes so it is easy for everyone to clean up after they eat!

The Food Network even came up with a clever infographic for the ultimate packable picnic (click on the image to view larger):

Pack food separately and safely.

Whether you are going to a restaurant or planning a simple picnic in your own back yard, there is always a chance of cross contamination with food allergens. If your picnic plans include a mix of foods, be sure to pack foods in separate, sealed containers. Also bring enough serving utensils that each dish can have its own dedicated scoop, spoon, fork, or spatula. You can even color coordinate or label containers to make sure you are staying safe.

As the weather starts to warm up, another handy tip is to make sure to pack and keep your food safe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a handy handout you can download to help you handle food safely when eating outdoors.

View FDA Food Facts.

Pack treats.

All picnics need a tasty treat (or two!). Our Neocate Junior Brownie Bites are perfect to prepare ahead of time and add to the basket. For more delicious, dairy-free Neocate recipes, check out our Recipe Booklet.

 Additional Allergy-Friendly Picnic Recipes:

Have an emergency plan

Not to be a downer, but life happens. In emergency situations it’s easy to panic and forget what you need to do to help someone having an allergic reaction. For such instances, it’s best to have an emergency plan of action. Prior to your outing, write down what needs to be done in case of emergency – this will not only help you but can also serve as a guideline for any other adults onsite who can offer a hand.


Food Allergies and Birthdays. 9 Creative Birthday Celebration Ideas

Posted 5.26.16 | Nutrition Specialist

Your child’s birthday is a fun and exciting day for the whole family!  There are many things to consider when planning a celebration for your Little One, whether you’re having a small family party or a huge birthday bash. And planning can be a little more challenging when food allergies are involved; but we are here to help with a fun roundup of some of our community’s best birthday cake recipes and ideas!


For allergy-friendly cake recipes, check out our “Neocate Food Allergy Cookbook” for several different recipes. Here are just a few to get you started!

1. Yellow Cake with Frosting (Submitted by: Jessica Snell)


  • 1 box suitable yellow cake mix (e.g. Cherrybrook Kitchen)
  • 1/3 cup melted “tolerated” butter or margarine (e.g. Earth’s Balance dairy/soy free butter)
  • 3/4 cup water

Follow baking directions on cake package.


  • 1/2 cup “tolerated” butter or margarine
  • 1 tsp water
  • Add powdered sugar to reach the desired consistency
  • 1/4 tsp almond flavoring, optional
  • 3 drops pink food coloring, optional

Melt butter, mix in powdered sugar to make clumpy. Add water to smooth it out. For thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar. Once desired consistency is reached, add almond flavoring and 3 drops of pink food coloring, if using.

This recipe makes ~12 servings

2. Eggless, Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake (Submitted by: Daphna Finn)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients together. Combine all wet ingredients together in another bowl. Pour the liquid ingredients all at once into the dry ingredients, and beat just until smooth. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13” pan. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes. Let cool in pan. When cool sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

This recipe makes about 15 pieces of cake.

3. Banana Cake (Submitted by: Anne Medsker)

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick suitable unsalted margarine
  • 2 eggs, or suitable substitute
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup organic rice beverage or other milk substitute
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl add sugar and margarine and beat with mixer until blended. Add eggs and beat until smooth. Mix in rice beverage, vanilla and banana. In a separate bowl combine baking soda, powder, salt and flour and whisk together. Slowly add dry ingredients into the wet and beat 1 minute, just until combined. Grease a 9 x 13” baking pan with canola oil or baking spray. Pour in batter. Bake approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

And Kids with Food Allergies (KFA) also has a good variety of cake and icing recipes to try. Here's a recipe from their website:

Basic Buttercream Icing (Created by Laurie Carson)

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp water
Beat all ingredients together thoroughly. To make it thinner, add a little light corn syrup. 
You could add cocoa or carob powder to the icing to make it chocolate, if desired. I also added a drop or two of almond extract to take away some of the sweetness, but it's fine without it, too. Please note that margarine typically contains milk or soy, but there are milk-free and soy-free versions available. Corn Substitutions: Corn is a common ingredient in products. Starch, modified food starch, dextrin and maltodextrin can be from corn. Consult with your physician to find out which corn derivatives you need to avoid. Many corn-free options are available in the US. Find out more about corn substitutions in this KFA article.

Cake Alternatives:

Sometimes a traditional “cake” isn’t the best option for your child. That’s ok!  Let’s face it, it's not about the cake anyway. Our team came up with a few alternatives to that traditional cake in this blog post:

Delicious Trifle “Cake”

“Non-Cake Cake”

Cake Decorations:

Once you’ve decided on your cake, get creative and have fun decorating! We found some fun ideas to help you get started:

Better Homes and Gardens: Creative Birthday Cakes for Kids


Unique Birthday Cakes Gallery (from

You can even use Neocate cans to decorate creatively like @senstivemommy!
When feeding your guests be sure to pick allergy-friendly foods and snacks, or have a separate area designated for “safe” treats to avoid any possible cross contamination with allergens. Think about providing the kids with goody bags that do not contain food items. Some creative goody bag ideas could include crayons, stickers, pencils, erasers, and other age-appropriate toys. And finally, have fun celebrating your child’s birthday!
Share with us: What you did to make it the best birthday party ever?


6 Benefits of Food Tracking Diaries for Food Allergies

Posted 5.24.16 | Irina Kabigting

Mainstream media often covers the topic of food journaling or keeping a food diary to track what you eat. Usually that’s in the context of dieting, because this strategy can help us be more mindful of the foods we eat and can help in reducing the number of calories consumed. But have you ever thought about the benefits food journals can bring to families managing food allergies?

Today we will go over some of the benefits that can be gained by keeping a detailed food allergy journal.

What is a Food Allergy Journal?

A food allergy journal is a place where you record food intake for you and/or your child on a regular basis in a chronological order. This journal contains exactly what was eaten, when and where. The more detailed your records are, the easier it is for your healthcare team to spot potential allergy triggers and/or cross-reactions. (Unsure what cross-reactions are? Read Food Allergies and Cross-Reactivity – Do You Have to Avoid Related Foods?) Don’t forget to include in your records ingredients of an item consumed, note brand names used and quantities eaten.

Additional items you can track in your journal:

  • Formula, breast milk and other liquids
  • Food preparation type - Homemade or pre-packaged? Raw or Cooked? Fried or Baked?
  • Medications/Vitamins taken
  • Symptoms observed - Severity, how soon after eating they showed up, what they looked like? What time of day/night did they show up? Start/stop time (when applicable). For example “Baby was gassy and fussy 30 minutes after drinking 4 oz of formula. This lasted for 2 hours after eating”.
  • Mental state - How did you/your child feel during the meal and after? Was your child more fussy than usual, or did she have trouble sleeping?
  • Environmental triggers - Did you eat at home or out at the restaurant? Did you visit anywhere that had animals? Was anyone wearing a lot of perfume? Were there freshly bought flowers or was a nearby window open?

Benefits of Food Allergy Journals:

While keeping very detailed records of everything eaten can take some time, it does come with benefits:

  1. No need to memorize everything you/your baby consumes. During your next doctor’s visit you can easily answer their diet-related questions
  2. Helps prepare you for the next office visit. Knowing exactly what was consumed can help spark questions you might have for your healthcare professional
  3. Can help identify trends/cross-reactions
  4. Can work as a playbook for your healthcare team when you come in with concerns. For example, do you have concerns about the number of diapers you are changing vs. how many you think you should be changing? Is your baby gaining enough/not enough weight?
  5. Can help guide potential tests/recommendations
  6. You can track symptom improvements over time after taking certain foods out of the diet

Automating Food Allergy Tracking

Food allergy tracking can be done with an old school paper and pen method or you can go the high tech route with spreadsheets or phone apps.

Did you know that using the new Neocate Footsteps app you can simplify the tracking process and even email your doctor all the information ahead of time?

There are many features the new app provides that can help you keep a detailed food allergy journal:

  • Track events and share reports with your healthcare team: Diaper changes, symptoms, sleep times, meals, bottles, mood, weight, height and head circumference. 


  • Attach images and notes to any event, such as a diaper or skin rash. No need to guess when a specific event happened, how many wet diapers your baby had that day, or what that rash looked like last Tuesday.


  • View easy-to-read charts that can help identify patterns in sleeping, eating, and allergic symptoms. 


  • Email Reports: You can even email these charts directly to your healthcare team ahead of time!



Learn more about the app.

Do you keep a food allergy diary? What tips would you share with other families?

National Eosinophil Awareness Week 2016 - Review from APFED

Posted 5.18.16 | Nutrition Specialist

As we are coming close to the end of celebrating National Eosinophil Awareness Week 2016, we would like to share a guest blog post from Mary Jo Strobel. Mary Jo is Executive Director of the American Parthership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED).

How do you say eosinophil? It’s a question we hear often, especially during National Eosinophil Awareness Week (May 15-21). The answer is: ee-oh-sin-oh-fil.

Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell that play an important part of our immune system, helping us to fight off certain types of infections, such as parasites. Many different problems can cause high numbers of eosinophils in the blood including allergies (food and environmental), certain infections caused by parasites, eosinophil-associated gastrointestinal disorders, and other problems. When a person has elevated numbers of eosinophils in their digestive system, tissues, organs, and/or bloodstream, without a known cause, he or she may have an eosinophil-associated disease (EAD).

Eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders (EGIDs) are distinct diseases affecting areas of the gastrointestinal tract: the esophagus, stomach, and small and/or large intestine. EGIDs are often driven by food triggers.

Symptoms of EGIDs may vary from one person to the next, and may differ depending on age. Infants and toddlers often refuse their food or have trouble growing properly. School-age children may have recurring abdominal pain, trouble swallowing, or vomiting. Teens and adults most often have difficulty swallowing or painful swallowing. Their esophagus may narrow and cause food to become stuck (impaction), causing a medical emergency.

Currently, there is no FDA-approved therapy to treat EGIDs. Symptoms are controlled by dietary restrictions and/or swallowed steroids. Some patients have a severely restricted diet, or must avoid the vast majority of foods and instead receive all of their nutrition as an elemental diet (that is, amino acid-based nutrition), such as Neocate. Some patients are able to drink formula, while others need a feeding tube.

Join Us in Celebration of National Eosinophil Awareness Week!

This week is National Eosinophil Awareness Week (NEAW), May 15-21. Every year during the third week of May, our patient community comes together in honor and celebration of this special week to ramp up efforts around the globe to raise awareness of EADs. Since being officially recognized by Congress in 2007, this special week has helped bring about a greater understanding of these rare, chronic, and emerging diseases for which there is no cure.

APFED is spearheading the movement to unite patients and families, patient organizations, medical institutions and societies, healthcare providers, and companies that support the EAD community. We are working harder than ever to help the public, the medical community, and lawmakers understand the challenges faced by patients who have these diseases, placing particular emphasis on quality patient care, access to services and medical foods, and funding important research that will lead to improved diagnostics, treatments, and eventually a cure.

APFED is grateful to Neocate for supporting our National Eosinophil Awareness Week celebration. Thanks to this partnership, APFED will have the means to send educational packets to healthcare providers across the U.S. so that they have the information they need to better care for patients with EADs, and the ability to help patients and family with their efforts to raise awareness.

Visit APFED’s website to learn more about National Eosinophil Awareness Week and the ways that you can take part. We have new toolkits for individual supporters and health care professionals and organizations to help with your efforts. In addition, APFED’s blog has 10 easy ways you can support this special week.

We hope you'll take a moment to help us teach others about eosinophil-associated diseases. The first step is to share this blog post, and you can make a world of difference!

Mary Jo Strobel

Mary Jo Strobel is Executive Director of the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED), a non-profit patient advocacy organization dedicated to patients and their families coping with eosinophil-associated diseases. In addition to providing education and support services, APFED funds peer-reviewed research through its Hope on the Horizon program. This program is supported entirely by donations and allows investigators to initiate new, relevant projects that are likely to further the development of less invasive testing, new treatments and ultimately a cure.

Mary Jo lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two children. Her niece suffers from eosinophilic esophagitis.

Do you have an eosinophil-associated disease? Check out these resources!

  • EosConnections online community support forum
  • APFED’s 14th Annual Patient Education Conference for EGIDs (July 8-9 in San Diego)
  • APFED’s E-library featuring video segments on a variety of topics
  • Consortium of Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease Researchers (CEGIR), a federally-funded initiative that brings together top experts in the U.S. to research EGIDs. Learn more about CEGIR and their enrolling trials, and sign up for the Contact Registry at

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About Us

Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.