Summer Food Choices

By Heather Legg

Summer has officially kicked off for me. I love having my kids home and not having the rush that constituently is with us during the school year. But just like any other parent, we wonder about food – what can we make for lunch that is economical, exciting and tastes good. Even more so for kids with food allergies. Even if we pack lunch all through the school year, our choices open because we can serve hot food or cold food and not worry about packing. We’ve got pool snacks to think about and friend’s houses to think about, too.

Here are some ideas and options for anyone this summer, especially those with food allergies:

• lots of fruits and veggies. you can find local or organically grown produce much easier in the summer months. Fruits and veggies make great snacks, at home or on the go and go great with sandwiches as opposed to chemically processed chips and other sides made alongside allergens.
• popsicles – make your own if you need to (It’s healthier for everyone anyway). There are some brands (phillyswirl) that are made in allergy safe factories. They will cool your kids down and kids love popsicles, especially in the summer. For a fun treat, serve with a glass of cold sparkling water or lemonade. Kids can dunk their popsicle and the cold water helps with the melt factor and when it does melt, you get a great flavored drink.
• Speaking of flavored drinks, instead of artificially flavored, colored and sweetened drinks (which cause a lot of allergies and negative reactions) make your own flavored water. We all know about lemons in water, but try other fruits as well, oranges and limes are great, and you can also chop or “muddle” berries for a different flavor in your water. We love chopped cucumber and fresh mint or basil in water for a refreshing alternative drink. Sounds weird, but so yummy.
• Summer affords a little extra time so you can maybe find some time to bake desserts instead of buying and worrying about contaminants and additives. Try substituting different flours and fats to meet your allergy needs; I usually use whole wheat flour to add some nutrition. You can substitute add ins, too, for instance, instead of nuts use dried cherries.

It’s also a time where people tend to bring their own food so it’s a little easier. At the pool or beach, swim meets or baseball games, people are bringing their own food, whether for health reasons or economical ones, so those that really need to, don’t stand out as much. Be creative, let your kids try new things (as long as their safe) and enjoy your summer!

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