Today’s post in our allergy-friendly meal idea series is the final topic: dinner! While breakfast and lunch may tend to be rushed or eaten out of the house, a lot of families still prefer to have dinner together at home. On top of this, the restrictions and rules that come with food allergies can make dining out very difficult. Here are some dinner ideas that might help you add variety to the evening meal. As always, check with your little one’s health care team to make sure they are appropriate.
Neocate-Only Dinner Ideas
For children whose diets are strictly limited to amino acid-based formula, the same formula breakfast, lunch and dinner can be difficult for some children, especially older children. As we’ve mentioned in the previous two posts in this series, Nutricia offers multiple flavors in both Neocate Junior and Neocate’s E028 Splash. Many children have an easier time with restrictive diets when they have some input. Keeping a few flavors on hand can help kids to stay satisfied with an elemental diet. Try letting them chose their dinner flavor. Just like with breakfast and lunch, experiment with mixing different flavors of Neocate Junior and Splash with Neocate Nutra to come up with different flavors and textures. One of the easiest ways to offer variety is to use a blender. Mix one part Neocate formula with one part ice, blend well, pour into a fancy container or dish, add a straw or spoon, and enjoy! Neocate Junior Vanilla lends itself especially well to this shake format, and can be mixed with the other flavors or even with a fruit juice your child tolerates.
Top Eight Allergen-Free Dinner Ideas
If your child is on an elimination diet for eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) or is avoiding all of the eight major allergens, you can offer some different food options along with one of the Neocate formulas. For younger toddlers, you can mix unflavored Neocate Junior with pureed foods that they tolerate. Vegetables and citrus flavors blend especially well with unflavored Neocate. If you’re putting together a full meal for the family, it may not be as difficult as you think to avoid the top 8 allergens and come up with something everyone can enjoy. You can easily build off of our ideas for allergen free lunches. Remember, while most processed foods have ingredients derived from the top 8 allergens, dining on whole foods makes the top 8 much easier to avoid. You may even be able to find family-sized convenience foods in natural or organic food stores that are free of the top 8, such as soups or frozen items.
Less Restrictive Dinner Ideas
For children who avoid dairy and only one or two other allergens, we have some great dinner suggestions in our online Neocate Food Allergy Cookbook, a compilation of recipes submitted by families. Mallory posted her top five dinner ideas from the cookbook, many of which use wheat, in a previous blog. One great thing about a lot of these recipes is that many can be made in advance and frozen or refrigerated for later use. If you decide to dine out, it’s a good idea to do some planning ahead with these tips we shared in a previous blog post.
As always, we recommend that you check any recipes on our websites or from other food allergy resources to be sure that the ingredients are safe for your child and ensure that the health care team is on board.
Do you have any allergy-friendly dinner ideas that have helped you that you’d like to share with other Neocate families?