Food Allergy Living Blog

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5 DIY Allergy-Friendly Play-Doh Recipes for National Play-Doh Day

Posted 9.16.16 | Nutrition Specialist

September 16th is National Play-Doh* Day! Did you know that Play-Doh was originally a wallpaper paste that became popular due to its ability to be molded into a variety of shapes? It originally came in 3 colors – red, yellow and blue – from which many other colors could be formed. Now Play-Doh is available in over 50 different colors!

National Play-Doh Day was started in 2006 and has been celebrated every year since! But, for children with food allergies (including wheat), Play-Doh may not be a suitable option for a modeling compound. Don’t despair; our team took on a challenge of compiling allergy-friendly recipes you can make at home with your family.

Gluten-Free Baking Soda Play Dough

This recipe is an adaption of the Arm & Hammer Play Clay recipe


  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon oil


  1. Mix ingredients together in a sauce pan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. If you have older kids, they may get a kick out of doing this part.  During the heating process, baking soda makes the mixture fizz for quite a while before it starts to thicken. When it starts to thicken, beware! It goes really fast.
  2. Take the mixture off the heat as soon as it’s thick enough to start wanting to stick together. Let cool, partially covered until it can be handled.
  3. Next comes the fun mixing part. If you want your mixture to come in different colors, separate into balls and start adding your favorite food grade colors. I used Wilton®** icing gel colors left over from my cake decorating days and really loved the results. Beware – the icing colors may stain your hands but can be easily removed with a baby wipe.

2-Ingredient Silky-Smooth Play Dough By Our Best Bites

This silky-smooth 2-ingredient play dough can be made in just a few minutes with stuff you already have in your house--hair conditioner (or lotion) and cornstarch!


  • 2 cups cornstarch
  • 1 cup hair conditioner or lotion (don't use the expensive stuff, but I recommend something that is either scent-free or a scent that you/your kids like)


  1. Place the cornstarch in a large bowl.
  2. Mix in the beauty product of your choice with your hands--it will just start coming together and it will be pliable and very, very smooth.
  3. You may need to add more conditioner/shaving cream/lotion as you go. Use food coloring to color as desired. Keep covered when not in use.

Some tips from our mixing experiments:

For this recipe, don't use the expensive hair condition or lotion. Additionally, we recommend something that is either scent-free or a scent that you/your kids like. Bonus, if you decide to use a lotion for this mixture, you might notice very soft hands!

Gluten & Corn Free Play Dough Recipe


  • 1 firmly packed cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 Tablespoons cream of tartar
  • Food coloring as desired


  1. Place all ingredients into a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Stir continuously over a medium heat until the mixture congeals and forms a ball, approximately 3-5 minutes. Continue to turn the ball over on the heat for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and turn dough out onto a board or bench top.
  4. Allow to cool completely and then knead until the dough is smooth. Sprinkle with a little rice flour as you knead if the dough feels at all sticky but be sure to only add a little at a time to prevent your dough drying out.

Hints & tips:

Although it can be difficult to wait, I find so often when cooking with alternative flours it’s best to let the mixture cool before handling. Waiting allows the ingredients to bind fully.  One way you can speed up the cooling process is by breaking the mixture into smaller pieces.

Liquid food coloring can be added to the pot or kneaded into the cooled dough. It’s best to add your coloring one drop at a time. Doing so will help you achieve the desired color and may help to keep the dough from getting too sticky. If you find yourself in the situation where your dough did become sticker than anticipated, adding a bit more rice flour may help.

Store play dough in an air tight container or wrapped tightly in a plastic bag.

No Allergy Edible Play Dough

This recipe might be a better alternative for younger children who may want to eat the play dough! Added bonus, it’s super easy to make.


  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter (Sun Butter Spread)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  •  2/3 cup arrowroot powder ( or organic corn starch)


Mix all ingredients together and play!

Rice Flour Play Dough


  • 1 1/4 cups rice flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • food coloring or sparkles (optional)


  1. Mix flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a large pot. Add water and oil.
  2. Cook over medium heat until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan (about 5 minutes), stirring constantly.
  3. Add vanilla extract (for smell, not taste). Mix thoroughly. Put play dough on a clean surface. When cool enough to handle, knead lightly.
  4. Store in airtight container.
  5. Add food coloring to the water to make colored play dough. Add sparkles during the hand-mixing time for sparkly play dough.

- Ellen

*Play-Doh is a registered trademark of Hasbro™ and not affiliated with Nutricia North America

**Wilton is a registered trademark of Wilton Products Inc. and is not affiliated with Nutricia North America.



6 Things I wish I knew Before Starting an Elimination Diet for Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)

Posted 9.13.16 | Neocate Admin

Our guest blog today comes from Alexia Beauregard. Alexia is a food allergy specialist dietitian who also specializes in eating and feeding disturbances and is based in Greenville, South Carolina. She loves working with food allergy families to help make food fun again. Alexia believes that eating should be one of the basic joys in life and wants everyone to be able to enjoy whatever foods they can. She works with families in an outpatient setting and also teaches college courses. Her professional organization memberships include the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), the Council for Pediatric Nutrition Professionals (CPNP), and the International Network for Diet and Nutrition in Allergy (INDANA). She speaks regularly at conferences for medical professionals and for families.  You can find her on her Facebook page or in her private practice--Seagrass Nutrition & Therapy ( Her three children and husband keep her pretty busy at home. The Beauregards love sailing, biking, hiking, and just being outside in general. As a family, they are very active in sea turtle conservation and believe in conservation through education on the importance of preserving marine life habitat. You can often find them enjoying the beaches of South Carolina.

1. You can start getting ready to implement the full elimination diet gradually

You do not have to run to the grocery immediately following the appointment in which you are told to avoid milk, wheat, and soy (for example) to try to find alternative products. You have time to process that information and figure out how to make it work. It is important to determine what foods your child relies on the most for calories, protein, vitamins and minerals and what substitutes are available.  As with any diet change, slow and steady wins the race. Pick one or two foods at a time that you are going to change and experiment with alternative allowable foods. Try new cooking techniques. Also, take this time to inform school, daycare and anyone that may be involved in feeding your child about these dietary changes. The important thing to remember is that you or your child needs to be on your full elimination diet for at least 8 weeks before getting another endoscopy to determine if diet therapy is helping. The faster you begin to implement the full elimination diet, the faster you can start the countdown to your next endoscopy, and the faster you may be able to expand your diet again.

2. It will take more time

Be prepared to spend more time finding and preparing foods. The good news is that once you find your set “go to” foods at your usual grocery store or a grocery store new to you, the amount of time required will decrease.  Commit the time to finding as many alternative allowable foods as you can at the beginning of your elimination diet period. It will take more time to plan for travel or even going out to dinner on a Friday night. Remember, that this time is an investment in your or your child’s safety and can help prevent accidental exposure. It is heartbreaking to hear stories of a family that is 6 weeks into their 8 week elimination diet only to learn that they included a food that had milk in it because they did not take the time to fully read a food label. When this happens, the elimination diet clock has to start over.  Time spent finding and preparing allowable food is time well spent.

3. You can select the start date

You and your doctor agree that your child should start an elimination diet to determine if that will help reduce their EoE symptoms.  It’s September and all you can think about is Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas and how to manage this diet around the holidays.  I tell the families I work with to pick an 8-week time frame when they know they will have the highest likelihood for success. Some families may choose to use medication until they start their diet while others want to jump in and think of a milk free and wheat free Thanksgiving as a good challenge. However you feel about the diet, pick a time to implement the diet when you know you can be successful.

4. It does not have to cost more

Yes, alternative products such as wheat free bread are more expensive.  That is an undeniable fact. But, the diet does not have to include bread made from specialty flours. Think outside the sandwich when it comes to lunch. Single ingredient whole foods (think whole chicken) actually costs less per pound then chicken already cut up and sold in marinade. Grocery stores will charge more for items in which they do most of the prep work. Single ingredient foods are going to be a safer choice by decreasing the risk of accidental exposure to foods/ingredients that need to be avoided. Utilize websites like or for some alternative products. Some families have found that purchasing other staple household items online is cheaper and provides more money in their budget for food items that may be more expensive. Get creative with how you shop and meal plan. Remember point #2…it will take more time at first.

5. You are not alone

Any medical diagnosis can feel very isolating for the person with the illness or for the entire family. The good news is that in our highly connected and wired world it has never been easier to find people to connect with that are living with a similar situation. Organizations such as APFED have a tremendous amount of valuable information on their website to not only manage an elimination diet but can also help find a local support group. Other websites like Inspire can help connect you with other EoE families in an online community. Families that have done an elimination diet in some form or fashion are a great source of information about products, restaurants, hotels, and finding food free activities. This is a hard diet but it can be done. Find support to help make this challenging time a little bit easier for your family. EoE is not something that a family has to endure alone.

6. You or your child may not feel any differently

The truth is that you or your child may not feel any differently on this diet. Some EoE patients have very pronounced symptoms and feel much better when they avoid their trigger foods. Some people have much more subtle symptoms and may not feel any differently on this diet. Even in the absence of symptoms, it is important to follow the elimination diet. Remember, the goal of this diet is to prevent damaging inflammation in your esophagus and find the foods that cause the body to react in this way. The goal is to avoid those EoE symptoms that may occur both inside and outside the esophagus, and avoiding trigger foods is one way to do that.


Alexia Beauregard is a Registered Dietitian. The inspiration for this blog is based on her extensive experience working with the families of patients diagnosed with EoE. Please be sure to talk to members of your child’s healthcare team to determine if this information is appropriate for your child.

Food Fight! Tips for Feeding a Child on a Restricted Diet That Just Does Not Want to Eat

Posted 9.7.16 | Nutrition Specialist

Feeding children can be a complicated and stressful proposition for any family but couple that with a restricted diet due to food allergy and that could be enough to make even the most laid back parent turn into a drill sergeant that would make highly trained soldiers cry.

Why do kids sometimes refuse to eat?  Why do they stop eating foods they claim to love?  Why do they eat one thing one day and then the very next day decide that they hate that food?

If you ate a few bites of food and then experienced a pain so severe it took your breath away, would you be willing to eat that food again? How adventurous would you be in trying new foods?

And, what if these bad experiences with food are happening to you when you are only three years old with a limited vocabulary? How would you protect yourself?  You would probably only eat a certain number of foods or foods that always looked the same. 

So how do you feed a child on a restricted diet that just does not want to eat? Seek to understand the child’s perspective.

First, it is important to understand that food is a major control issue for all children starting at a very young age.  Most children have many decisions made for them and the one decision that is theirs and theirs alone is what and how much to eat.  Some children will let their parents or caregivers coerce them to eat while them others will push back and may push back hard.

Second, it is critical to understand that as a parent or caregiver, you cannot force feed a child.  It WILL NOT work. Children have absolute and total control over what they put in their mouth and that is the way it should be. Even if you are not physically placing a spoon in a child’s mouth, using pressure language such as “take one more bite” or “no dessert until you finish your broccoli” is an attempt to force a child into eating against their will.

Regardless if your child has to avoid one food or ten foods, eating needs to be a relaxing experience for everyone. Sharing a meal with other people needs to be a time where children learn table manners, how to engage in conversation, how to sit still, and how to use a fork, among other life skills. Eating and learning to eat are life skills. It should not be a time that they are badgered, begged, or belittled into eating the food in front of them. If you find that mealtime in your home is incredibly stressful then it is time for a change.

The good news is that there is help--and change for the better is possible.

As an Associate in training with the Ellyn Satter Institute, I am a huge fan of Ellyn Satter’s work. Her techniques and recommendations for feeding children (and adults) can encourage food seeking instead of food avoidance behavior in children with food allergies.

The Ellyn Satter Institute (ESI) website is filled with an amazing amount of information to help you on your journey of adjusting how you approach food and feeding at your house. Until you have time to read one of Ellyn’s books and information on the ESI website, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Division of Responsibility. As the parent or caregiver, you decide what food, when to eat, and where the eating will take place. It is up to the child to decide if and how much they will eat. Drop the drill sergeant act, take deep breaths, and let your child decide on their own what and how much they want to eat. For most children, skipping a meal will not cause immediate harm.  You have provided the opportunity for the child to eat. It is up to the child to decide if they will utilize that opportunity; but take comfort knowing that as a parent or caregiver, your job is done.
  • Eat at a table without distractions. Turn off the screens (large and small) and make eating the main activity. Eating at a table is especially important in situations when cross contamination is a concern or if young children may try to take food off of someone else’s plate that may not be safe for them.
  • Serve the food family style. Let the child choose what foods they want on their plate.  It is important that the child sees other family members eating the same food as them…even any hypoallergenic supplements that may be included in your child’s diet. If the child feels that their food is just like everyone else’s food, they may be more inclined to eat it.
  • Trust your child. If they say they do not want to eat a food do not pressure them. They may not be able to fully explain the feelings of worsening acid reflux, difficulty swallowing, or anxious feelings over trying something new.

How do you know if a child is just “going through a phase” or if they are truly becoming fearful of eating? 

This is a more difficult question to answer. If you find that your child starts to self-restrict and refuses to eat foods that are safe and this lasts longer than a week, it may be time to have them evaluated by a professional that is specially trained in eating and feeding disturbances. This can be a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, or a registered dietitian. A family counselor or therapist may also be able to help identify how much anxiety your child is experiencing around food.

Continue to follow low-pressure techniques such as those recommended by the Ellyn Satter Institute.  Provide emotional support by backing off, backing down, and letting your child have some control over their food and food choices. All children want control, but for those with health issues control is something that is harder for them to gain. They spend more time at the doctor’s office, less time at a friend’s house playing, and may feel like they have fewer privileges then a sibling without food allergies. Find ways to allow your child to have some control over their world. Control over other parts of their world will translate into better experiences at the dinner table.

A diet needs to have as much variety as possible in order for it to be a healthy, well balanced diet. If you find yourself in a situation where your child only wants to eat five foods (for example), consider adding a hypoallergenic supplement to fill the holes while variety is worked back into the diet. This is important to ensure that your child is getting all of the vitamins and minerals, protein, and calories they need to maintain a healthy immune system and grow.

All children, regardless of any medical conditions, go through different phases with their eating habits. As a parent or caregiver, listen to your instincts. Do not hesitate to have your child evaluated by a professional if you are concerned that they are developing a fear of food. It is a very real fear and do not assume that your child is simply trying to manipulate you into only getting the food he or she wants. Do not feel embarrassed if you find you need professional help to help your child through it. With the right help, your child will get past their fear or anxiety and everyone will be happier on the other side.

- Alexia Beauregard, MS, RD, CSP, LD

Our guest blog today comes from Alexia Beauregard. Alexia is a food allergy specialist dietitian who also specializes in eating and feeding disturbances and is based in Greenville, South Carolina. She loves working with food allergy families to help make food fun again. Alexia believes that eating should be one of the basic joys in life and wants everyone to be able to enjoy whatever foods they can. She works with families in an outpatient setting and also teaches college courses. Her professional organization memberships include the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), the Council for Pediatric Nutrition Professionals (CPNP), and the International Network for Diet and Nutrition in Allergy (INDANA). She speaks regularly at conferences for medical professionals and for families.  You can find her on her Facebook page or in her private practice--Seagrass Nutrition & Therapy ( Her three children and husband keep her pretty busy at home. The Beauregards love sailing, biking, hiking, and just being outside in general. As a family, they are very active in sea turtle conservation and believe in conservation through education on the importance of preserving marine life habitat. You can often find them enjoying the beaches of South Carolina.

6 Tips for Staying Safe at BBQs with Food Allergies

Posted 8.30.16 | Nutrition Specialist

With summertime coming to a close, there will be many “end of the summer barbecues” to attend. Don’t let food allergies be the reason not to spend time with family and friends! To ensure you or your child is safe at these BBQ’s, we put together a list of helpful tips for attending cookouts with food allergies:

Talk With the Host Before Attending

Regardless of who is hosting the family (family member, friend or a co-worker), they may or may not know about any potential food allergen your family is avoiding. Prior to the party, it’s always a good idea to give them a heads up by taking a few minutes to talk to them. If you had such conversations with the host in the past, don’t assume they remember.

It’s best to begin such conversations with education about food allergies, instead of jumping right into expectations/your needs. Remember not everyone is as knowledgeable about food allergies as you are. You don’t have to go into the nitty gritty details, but more about what you (or your child) is allergic to, what potential reactions can happen and how the host can offer a safer opportunity to be included in the event.

This is a great time to ask what foods they plan to serve and any ingredients in those foods that may contain an allergen. Sometimes the host may take extra precaution to use ingredients that don’t contain the allergen or they will make sure you know so extra precaution can be taken. During such conversations it’s always a good idea to bring up other ways you can assist.

Offer to Clean the Grill

While cleaning the grill may be labor intensive and time consuming if you aren’t grilling at home, it may add to your peace of mind. If you can’t or don’t want to clean someone else’s grill (lid included), consider wrapping your child’s food in aluminum foil (either heavy-duty or double wrapped to help prevent tears in the aluminum foil) prior to cooking. You can also consider bringing food that can be microwaved or cooked in a skillet to avoid the grill altogether.

Bring “Green Light" or "Safe” Food

Offer to bring a side dish or dessert that is allergen free for your child to consume. This way you know there will be a few things there that are okay to eat. You can also choose to bring your own condiments in individual-sized packets to help prevent any potential cross contamination with allergens when people eat family style and share large containers.

If you are looking for fun ways to incorporate Neocate into dishes you bring for your family, make sure to review our Neocate Footsteps Recipes. This guide contains delicious allergy-friendly recipes you can make to enjoy with the whole family. Recipes including Neocate Infant, Neocate Nutra, Neocate Junior and Splash products.

Go First in Line

Some sauces and condiments may contain foods that your child is allergic to. When at a BBQ, consider asking if food for your allergic little one could be prepared first (potentially separately) on the grill before adding those sauces to other food on the grill. This can help ease the concern of cross contamination with allergens.

Going first also pertains to going first in the buffet line. Some people are unaware of how easily cross contamination with allergens can happen and don’t realize that you shouldn’t switch the spoons for the coleslaw and the potato salad. By going first in the buffet line, you know the “safe” foods haven’t been contaminated with a potentially allergenic food.

Eat Before You Go and Bring Snacks

Sometimes it is easiest to feed your child before attending an event. With a full belly, there is less of a desire to eat foods that may contain potential allergens. If the event lasts more than a few hours, consider snacks you know your child will be able to eat.

Always Be Prepared

It’s always best to prepare for emergencies than to be caught by surprise. Prior to your event, take steps to make sure everyone knows what to do in an emergency situation. Better yet, write down and carry with you an emergency plan of action.  If your child carries an epinephrine auto-injector in case of anaphylaxis, make sure you have it with you at all times!


6 Allergy-Friendly Breakfast Recipe Ideas

Posted 8.25.16 | Nutrition Specialist

Neocate Fruity Tutti Pancakes

Doesn't this name just makes you want to try some! This is a great recipe if you are looking for a nice, hot breakfast option. Pefect if the rest of your family is eating pancakes and your are looking to make allergy-friendly option.  Pancakes also make a good finger-food option for weaning toddlers.

Want to print or save this recipe? Click the image below for your own recipe card:

Baked Oatmeal

(Submitted by: Kristy Harbaugh)
  • 1 cup oil (can sub. applesauce)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (can reduce)
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 cups oats (not the quick-cook kind)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups water

Combine all ingredients in order listed.  Pour into a greased 9 x13” pan.  Bake at 375°F for 30-40 minutes until lightly browned.  Serve with fresh fruit (bananas, strawberries, blueberries).

Notes: Do not use cooking sprays as all of them contain soy.  I used olive oil.

Serving Size: 8

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 650
  • Protein: 11g
  • Carbohydrates: 79g
  • Fat: 6g

French Toast

(Submitted by: Katherine Kennedy)
  • 2 Pieces of spelt bread
  • 1/4 cup of soy milk
  • Dash of cinnamon

Combine milk and cinnamon. Dip and coat the bread lightly in the soy milk mixture. Place on preheated skillet on low-med heat. You will have to cook it longer to ensure the soy milk dries and the toast isn’t mushy.

Serving Size: 2 pieces

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 250
  • Protein: 10g
  • Carbohydrates: 44g
  • Fat: 5g

Cinnamon Breakfast Bread

(Submitted by: Mary Blackorby)

With fall just around the corner, this is a fun option to warm up on a cool morning.

  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour
  • 3 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup Spectrum Organic All Vegetable Shortening
  • 5 fl oz rice milk (or Neocate formula)

Stir together flour, baking powder, sugar & salt. Cut in shortening with a fork until fine and mealy. Add rice milk (or Neocate formula) all at once. Pour into a greased 8” pan, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture and bake at 400°F for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm for breakfast.

Serving Size: About 12 servings

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 150
  • Protein: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 17g
  • Fat: 9g

Nutrition information for cinnamon bread recipe above calculated using rice milk.

Banana Bead Muffins

(Submitted by: Laura LaMotte)
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup of dairy-free margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups of brown rice or oat flour

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a food processor, blend bananas, sugar, margarine and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth.

Pour into muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes, or if using a bread loaf tin, for 60 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

Serving Size: 15 muffins

Per Muffin:

  • Calories: 230
  • Protein: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 43g
  • Fat: 7g

Wheat-Free Pumpkin Muffins

(Submitted by:Karen Mischler)
  • 3 cups wheat-free flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin

In a large mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Add oil and pumpkin, mixing well. Transfer into lined muffin tin and bake at 350°F until fork inserted in center comes out clean (about one hour).

Serving Size: 10 muffins

Per Muffin:

  • Calories: 330
  • Protein: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 31g
  • Fat: 23g

For additional Neocate recipe ideas, make sure to download Neocate Footsteps Recipes Guide.

Do you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share with the Neocate community? Post below, we would love to hear about your favorites.

Back to School With Food Allergies

Posted 8.18.16 | Nutrition Specialist

Summer is winding down and it’s time to start helping your children prepare for their return to school.  Your school might have sent school supply lists, teacher assignments, and schedule of back to school nights. Now, it’s time to create your own food allergy checklist/

Whether your child is returning to school or attending for the first time, here are some things to help make sure they have a successful, fun and safe learning experience. 

Within the school:

  1. If you don’t know already, find out if your school district has rules regarding food allergens in school.  For example, is your school a “peanut-free” school?
  2. Does your school have its own rules regarding food allergies?
  3. Is there a designated “safe” table in the cafeteria for families who chose to use it?
  4. Is food allowed in any classroom parties, or birthday celebrations?

With the classroom and health room:

  1. Are staff members/teachers familiar with food allergies?
  2. Do teachers know what an allergic reaction may look like?
  3. Is the school nurse familiar with how to use an EpiPen®? (Bonus: EpiPens at School Tips & How many EpiPens should your child have on hand?)
  4. Are you up to date and current with your child’s medical and emergency contact information?
  5. Have you written an emergency plan for school staff in the event there is an accidental exposure?

With your child:

  1. Is your child familiar with his/her signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction?
  2. Does your child know to alert an adult in the event of an emergency?
  3. Does your child wear a medical alert bracelet?  Or do you have a food allergy action plan?
  4. Have you discussed the importance of NOT sharing foods with friends?
  5. Does your child know how to deal with bullying when it comes to food allergies?

The school years can be some of the most fun and memorable experiences we have; following some of these back to school tips can help ensure your child’s first day back is no exception! 

BONUS: If your little one is going to school (or preschool) for the first time this year, make sure to read over 11 Tips for the First Day of School with Food Allergies we shared previously.

Keep Cool and Beat the Heat with Neocate

Posted 8.16.16 | Nutrition Specialist

We’re not sure about the weather where you are, but we’ve been facing some extreme heat lately! We wanted to take the time before the dog days of summer to answer your common questions about freezing Neocate and share one of our favorite warm-weather recipes.

My child LOVES freezer pops – Can I freeze Neocate?

We don’t recommend freezing Neocate. (Notice I didn’t say “no”…) Why not? It’s cold, it’s delicious, it keeps well. The short answer to this question is that temperatures below freezing can affect Neocate’s quality in ways we can’t perfectly predict. Let’s see if we can explain what we mean by that.

Freezing temperatures (below 32° F, or 0° C) can affect some nutrient levels. Some vitamins can break down in really cold temperatures, and home freezers can get really freezing cold! Also, frozen Neocate that thaws can change color. Also, melted Neocate that was previously frozen can separate into different layers. Gray Neocate in separate layers may taste okay, but is not appealing to us! So the main message is that we can’t guarantee the nutrient content or quality of Neocate products when frozen, or thawed, which is why we don’t recommend freezing Neocate products.

That said, some recipes that we or other families have developed for Neocate products are frozen, and we get it: frozen treats can be delicious. Especially in the heat! Ask your healthcare team for their guidance BEFORE you use Neocate in these recipes: make sure they’re okay with this, and ask if they want you to limit the number of frozen Neocate servings they’re comfortable with. You can find more information about cooking with Neocate.

Before we get to a brand NEW recipe(!), here are a few others that we love:

And last but not least, here’s one of our newest recipes: it quickly became one of our favorites!

Pumped Up Peach and Strawberry Smoothie

We just don’t think it gets much better than a frozen treat that combines some of the best, all-American flavors of summer. We’re talking about peaches and strawberries, of course! Our Pumped Up Peach and Strawberry Smoothie is a quick way to combine 3 ingredients. In no time, you’ll have a frozen treat that beats the heat, and then some. Not sure you believe that a recipe that’s that great can be so easy? Watch this short video to see just how quickly this tasty treat comes together.

Want to print or save this recipe? Click the image below for your own recipe card:

Tell us - What treats are you using to keep cool this summer?


What it Means to be a Food Allergy Parent

Posted 8.11.16 | Nutrition Specialist

It has been said before and it should be said again: allergies are no laughing matter. Food allergies are a serious health concern affecting 1 out 13 children in the United States, and behind every one of those children is a devoted parent.

Being on a food allergy journey with a child is not easy, and every family’s experience is different. But no matter the trials, food allergy parents can all agree that they work hard to keep their little ones happy, healthy, and safe.

We asked the community what being a food allergy parent means, and no two answers were the same.

Being a food allergy parent means...

“Constantly reading labels, calling companies and long nights of homemade things!” -@Sweets4EPIGirl

“Advocating for your F.A. child in school, educating friends & family, always pre-planning wherever you go.” - @epi-trak

“Constant diligence.” - @Kylah222

One thing all food allergy parents have in common is…

“You dance around the shop aisles when you find a new ‘safe’ food.” - Rachel Ward

“Hope!” - @Crazy.Happy.Family

Every food allergy story is different, so what’s yours? Comment below or post your story to our Facebook page.

Can I Keep Breastfeeding My Milk-Allergic Infant?

Posted 8.9.16 | Nutrition Specialist

You have been planning for months. Decorating the room, picking out names, buying clothes, gathering supplies and other needed items, adjusting your schedule, and preparing any support you might want waiting in the wings. Finally the time comes and your new little bundle of joy is here!!

While new babies always bring joy and excitement with them when they arrive, they also bring work to be done. This is true of each new member added to the family, whether it is your first baby or you are a seasoned mom with a few little ones under your mom experience belt. No matter your level of experience or how much help you have around, feeding and diapers will occupy much of your time and thoughts for the next few years.

Chances are you have already given quite a lot of thought and preparation regarding your plans to feed your new infant.  Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for your baby. It is the first choice when you ask the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and healthcare professionals worldwide.

However, successful breastfeeding can get complicated if your baby is diagnosed with an allergy to cow milk, or when other food allergies are suspected. A food allergy means the baby’s diet must change. Is it possible to manage your baby’s food allergies while sticking to your plan to breastfeed? Absolutely. Let’s look at a few scenarios and possible solutions.

My infant is reacting to the foods I’m eating.

Answer: Ask your healthcare professional for their advice.

It’s possible for small amounts of protein from the foods in mom’s diet to make their way into her breast milk, which can cause allergic reactions if the infant develops an allergy to those foods.

The first option your healthcare professional may suggest in this situation is for you to follow an elimination diet and continue to breastfeed. An elimination diet means you remove suspected allergens - both whole foods and some ingredients - from your diet. This removes the potential allergens from your breast milk, thus removing the allergens from your baby’s diet.

Often the healthcare team will recommend you start by eliminating just milk, or a few items like milk and soy, and foods containing certain ingredients derived from milk and soy. If your baby continues to have problems tolerating your breast milk, then additional foods may be eliminated from your diet.

It is key that you maintain a healthy diet to maintain your own health and be able to provide the nutrition needed for your infant through breast milk. Eliminating some foods, especially large groups of food such as dairy, may jeopardize the health of both you and your baby, so it is important to seek medical supervision from your doctor and/or a registered dietitian when planning an elimination diet.

Supplements of certain nutrients may be recommended, depending on the number of eliminated foods. Calcium and vitamin D may be recommended, for example, if you’re avoiding all dairy. Some moms have even found Neocate to be great hypoallergenic option to supplement their own nutrition when following an elimination diet while continuing to breastfeed their babies.

I want to continue breastfeeding but am not producing enough breast milk.

Answer: Ask your healthcare professional for their advice.

Some mothers struggle to produce enough breast milk to meet the needs of their growing baby. In this case many healthcare professionals will recommend supplementing with infant formula so the baby still gets the benefits of breast milk to ensure proper growth of the infant while the underlying cause of the low breast milk yield is addressed.

Supplementing your breast milk with a hypoallergenic formula like Neocate may be recommended if your little one has reacted to your breast milk. That’s because guidelines advise that babies with food allergies, or who are already struggling to tolerate breast milk due to food allergies, should be given a hypoallergenic formula like Neocate when a supplement for mom’s breast milk is needed.

Your healthcare team will advise you on what is needed for you and your baby specifically. The amounts of formula needed should be directed by your healthcare professional, such as your pediatrician or registered dietitian.

Supplementing breast milk with Neocate can help you continue to provide your baby the wonderful nutrition from breast milk, while also making sure your baby gets the full amount of calories and nutrients they need to continue to grow and develop from a hypoallergenic formula.

However, this can present some challenges. Babies often have a hard time switching between breastfeeding and bottle feeding. I hear from many mothers in this situation that the baby will often prefer one feeding over the other, and usually the baby prefers breast milk. For example moms have told me that their baby drinks well when they are breastfeeding but they struggle with bottle feedings. Even mothers who are exclusively bottle feeding will often say that the baby prefers the bottles of breast milk over the bottles of infant formula.

Some Tips for Moms Supplementing their Breast milk:

  • Many healthcare professionals suggest expressing your breast milk and bottle feeding only to help in this situation.
  • It is often recommended to add prepared Neocate consistently to the bottles with expressed breast milk. This can help with bottle acceptance because the bottles are consistently the same taste and they are consistently being bottle fed.
  • The amount of prepared Neocate needed should be directed by your healthcare team based the nutrition needs of your baby and your breast milk production.

Let’s say, for example, that your healthcare professional determines that your baby needs an additional 10 fluid ounces of Neocate daily and your baby is drinking 5 bottles daily. In this example, your healthcare professional might recommend an additional 2 fluid ounces of prepared Neocate added to each bottle of expressed breast milk. You would prepare the Neocate at the recipe recommended by your healthcare professional, then add 2 fluid ounces to each bottle of breast milk. This ensures the baby is getting a similar blend of breast milk and Neocate at each bottle.

Again, your healthcare professional will direct you regarding what is best for both you and your little one, so ask your pediatrician or registered dietitian for what is best for you.

I am adding prepared Neocate to breast milk, but my baby is not gaining weight.

Answer: Ask your healthcare professional for their advice.

For some infants, the calories in breast milk or formula may not be enough to support weight gain at a normal rate. When your baby can’t consume any more breast milk or formula in a day, the healthcare team may suggest other options to help your baby gain the weight and keep on track with her expected weight gain, or growth curve. (You can track your baby’s intake using the Neocate Footsteps App, so you can show the healthcare team exactly what she’s taking.)

Often, an increase in calories is needed. One option your healthcare professional may recommend is concentrating the Neocate before adding it to your breast milk. This can help to increase the calories and nutrients from Neocate that your baby is consuming, on top of the expressed breast milk. The same tips discussed above can be helpful in this situation with expressing your breast milk, especially adding the Neocate to your breast milk consistently between bottles.

Again, your pediatrician or registered dietitian will advise you on what is best for you and your baby, and how exactly they want you to prepare Neocate before adding it to your expressed breast milk. This is important, because formula that is too concentrated can lead to dehydration and other health issues. In other words, consult the healthcare team first – please do not do this on your own!

What other questions do you have about breastfeeding your baby with food allergies? Please share any questions or any suggestions you might have for other mothers facing this situation in the comments below.


Strawberries And Creme Dairy-Free Smoothie Recipe

Posted 8.4.16 | Nutrition Specialist

We have been gettting a lot of positive feedback on our latests posts showcasing various Neocate recipes. Today, we are sharing a fun smoothie that is  a great dairy free alternative for everyone to enjoy. This recipe is super simple and quick to make.

Click on the image below to download a printable recipe card.

If you would like, you can download our latest printable book of recipes. This book provides a set of delicious allergy-friendly recipes you can make to enjoy with the whole family. Recipes including Neocate Infant, Neocate Nutra, Neocate Junior and Splash products.

Download Neocate Footsteps Printable Recipes Today!


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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.