My interest in blogging is primarily to help collect & share information about how to navigate through nutty situations (play dates, school, restaurants, grocery stores, recipes, holidays, bakeries…) with a child diagnosed with nut allergy. Some of my interest in blogging may also be to complain about how annoying or frustrating or frightening this allergy can be, but I’ll try to keep that to a minimum.
Here is my son, who currently age 2 1/2 and seems happily oblivious to the lack of nuts in his life.
Things get trickier the more time he spends in public settings. Up until age 2, his exposure to foods has been limited essentially to the ultra-safe haven of our home & the foods I pack out with us. But as play dates take place and preschool has begun, I see a taste of the coming challenges of protecting him from exposure amidst oh so many unknowns!
I recently started hosting play dates in my new neighborhood, and it’s already been a learning experience when it comes to food. For one thing, at this age, Zack won’t hesitate to grab food from others! Luckily as the co-organizer of the play group we made clear rules for the play dates- parents can bring food but everything should be nut free. Other parents, verbally, are extremely respectful of such a request & even offer to go out of their way to comply.
But so far, every single attending parent has brought off-limits foods to the play dates at least once. This was not out of malice of course, but assumptions that “nut allergy” meant almond butter was okay, or that “plain M&Ms” were safe as opposed to “peanut M&Ms” despite the warning on the package “may contain nuts”.
I am already thinking it will prove helpful to start being specific (and yet somehow not pushy?) when people ask about what is okay to bring/serve/etc. The problem is I don’t know what to suggest. I’ve had preschool parents ask what brands to buy that are OK for Zack. I have no idea! We tend to buy primarily actual foods, not package pre-prepared or processed foods, so I have no clue what brands to trust.
Even among the brands I do buy– I question what can be relied on. After a year of Quaker Rice Cakes being a trusted snack, their packaging label changed to include “may contain pieces of nuts”. When did that change even take place, I don’t know.
What brands do you trust? What types of foods? How do you communicate with other well-meaning but unknowing parents? H. E. L. P.