Tips for Cooking with Severe Allergies
Planning a meal around your or your child’s allergies does not have to difficult or stressful- all it takes is some simple food swaps. While any food can induce an allergic reaction, says Matthew Greenhawt, MD, Allergist at the University of Michigan Allergy Clinic, there are 8 foods that account for 90 percent of food allergies: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy. These allergies can be so severe that just coming into slight contact with them can cause anaphylaxis.
Here are some simple food swaps for allergy free cooking:
Milk: Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDE, a dietitian in the Los Angeles area, says to substitute equal amounts of water or juice for milk in most baked goods. Another option is rice or almond milk, if there are no allergies to almonds.
Eggs: If the recipe calls for up to three eggs, substitute 1 tablespoon baking powder plus 1 tablespoon of any liquid or water, plus 1 tablespoon of vinegar for each egg. Another option is mashed banana or applesauce. “Mashed banana or applesauce works if it’s a sweet baked product,” Sheth says. Since eggs help baked goods rise, you may need to add ¼ to ¾ teaspoon baking powder or baking soda.
Wheat or Flour: For 1 cup of wheat flour, you can substitute: ⅞ cup rice flour, 1 cup corn flour, or ⅝ cup potato starch.
Nuts: Sheth says that most of the time, nuts in recipes are an option, so simply eliminate them. Sheth also says, “Unless there’s a seed allergy, seeds can give you crunch and some nutty flavor.”