My child is beginning kindergarten in the fall. We are beginning the process of creating an allergy action plan with the school. As an attachment to the plan, I am creating a safe food list in an attempt to cut down on allergens brought into the classroom. The food list will only be suggested snacks. I wanted to be detailed and provide the exact name of the food and the brand. I have listed all the snacks that my child typically eats, but cannot find a list on-line. My child has muliple allergies that are very severe. She is a Class VI (>100) on peanuts, and also very high on dairy, tree nuts, egg whites and yolk. Does anyone know of a site that has a safe food list or have any suggestions for me?
On May 3, 2007
Hi! I think you may have trouble finding such a list because of the MFAs.
There is a difference in what I actually feed my kids and what I am comfortable with others consuming around them. Are you looking to define a list of "safe to be eaten in the same room with my allergic child who is bringing his own snacks in" snacks, or "safe for my allergic child to eat" snacks?
This is just me (and it might be you, too), but I personally would not allow my child with PA to eat ANY food others supply. He has been a victim to our trust in others in the past. There are too many risks--what if the formulation changes? Will parents/teachers really read the labels every time?
Plus, it simplifies safety greatly if our son only eats foods from home or handed directly from mom or dad's hand (if out in public)--no ifs, ands, or buts.
The website [url="http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org"]www.kidswithfoodallergies.org[/url] is good for finding foods for kids with MFAs, and so is [url="http://www.allergygrocer.com."]www.allergygrocer.com.[/url] But I am guessing you're looking for mass marketed, normal grocery store products. People at school will look at you like you have two heads if you suggest they buy specialty foods for class snacks.
Good luck! Wonka brands (except a couple of labeled items mentioned on their website) are safe for the peanut allergic.
Nate, 6 - Anaphylactic to Peanut and also has Celiac Disease (no wheat, rye, oats or barley); on a GFCF (and PF!), mostly organic diet.
Joe, 3 - Gluten and Casein (milk) intolerance (Enterolab testing), on the GFCF diet. Avoids peanuts just in case.
Drew - 11 months - Allergic to rice, GI reactions to corn, soy and all the gluten grains. Have to watch out for crumbs with this one, as the older boys' snacks are a hazard to him.
On May 3, 2007
I know I can't tell parents "what to send" but I was hoping that if a letter was sent home saying that an allergic child was in the class then at least some parents would keep that in mind when packing lunch/sending snacks, etc... I think that there is a possiblity that some would do that, but I realize that most people would not think about it and do not understand allergies enough to avoid them. I am definately only letting her eat foods that we send from home. She already is used to only eating foods we prepare or give her so it won't be a big change as far as that goes. It does keep it simple that way. I am planning on having a container in a safe place in the class with her treats or a bag in her back pack that she can pick from. I agree with you totally. I don't think it is safe because label reading is hard and the risk of cross contamination is very likely. What are your experiences as far as how parents react to this type of letter? Have you had positive experiences so far? I notice that your youngest child is allergic to rice. My 2 year old is also allergic to rice, soy, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, seafoods, sweet peas, etc... Are you having a hard time feeding him/her? I don't know what to do as far as weaning him. What are you using as a milk alternative? He is very reactive to residues and it is a challenge to control his allergies.
On May 3, 2007
> "What are your experiences as far as how parents react to this type of letter?"
In kindergarten? So far, so good. It is best if the letter comes from the school instead of you. Ours distributed our version of a "safe snacks" list during open house a few days before school started. We put a version number and a date on it at the bottom of the list, and we put a statement on it about contacting Mrs. XXXX if you would like to request additions to the list. (Mrs. XXXX knew to run any requests by us.) But no one has asked for a new list all year, so I think it was accepted.
Our school also voluntarily moved from using peanut butter to Sunbutter (which is subsidized by the FDA / government, so available to schools at the same cost as PB).
Some students still bring PB from home, but the fact that the school lunches are peanut free means that Nate can always sit with folks who are eating school lunch and be in a safe(r) zone. He had a lunch attendant sit by him for the first few weeks until everyone could see how it was going to work. The lunch aides still keep a very close eye out for him, which is great. Sometimes they move him or other kids around to keep him away from PB crackers from home, etc.
Some parents have started buying Sunbutter for their kids' lunches, which is great, too.
I was prepared for the worst, but so far everything has been great.
We did a ton of work leading up to the start of school, though. Most of it happened about a week before school started. I enlisted my DH's help in presenting about Nate's peanut allergy to the school staff. I thought if they could see his dad taking it very seriously, there would be less of a tendency (for those so inclined) to dismiss me as "another anxious mom." I know that's terrible, but I have family members who teach, and I know there are stereotypes out there about moms who worry too much. My DH did a great job - I really think it was good to have a dad show up and present to both the teachers and other parents. I did all the research and prep, and he would show up and do the talking. The school asked us to come talk during the first week of school, and he went alone armed with lots of info and Sunbutter Special K Bars I had made.
For teaching the kids about allergies, there are some good resources out there. Do you have a video of the PBS "Arthur" episode about Binky's allergy? The episode is entitled "Binky Goes Nuts" or something like that. PBS and FAAN have a prepared lesson plan teachers can use along with the video.
> "I notice that your youngest child is allergic to rice. My 2 year old is also allergic to rice, soy, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, seafoods, sweet peas, etc... Are you having a hard time feeding him/her? I don't know what to do as far as weaning him. What are you using as a milk alternative? He is very reactive to residues and it is a challenge to control his allergies."
Wow, another rice allergy. How did you discover your son's? It HAS been a challenge to find foods, and he's still nursing. We avoid the top 8 allergens on principle, but then add to that corn, rice, oats and barley. We eat a lot of root veggies, fruits and meats (but not meats injected with corn ingredients like modified food starch, dextrose, etc.).
There is a snack called Cheecha Krackles, available through [url="http://www.allergygrocer.com,"]www.allergygrocer.com,[/url] that is a good crunchy / quick dissolving potato snack made only from potato ingredients. Drew likes these.
We did a lot of eliminating to figure out the things that trigger his hives, eczema and/or GI issues. Most of them are grains.
With both FAs and Celiac in the family, it's hard to know whether he's having reactions or REACTIONS--in the end, it's all about avoidance.
What he does eat a lot of: root vegetables and beef pot roast. About once a week, I put a 3-lb. arm roast in the crock pot with some red-skinned potatoes (skins off though you can leave them on if he isn't as sensitive to the lectins in them), some carrots (baby washed), a bay leaf, some salt, and 1/4 cup of water. That's it. And I cook it for 5 hours on high.
Then we both eat from it for most of the week, along with some other meals we tolerate. I give him small amounts of fresh fruits, but I rotate heavily--if bananas one night, then not again for several days.
I still nurse, but I have found a formula for supplementing and weaning. We use Neocate at least once a day, and he really has done well on it. We tried three formulas that did not work (I suspected corn or soy as the culprit). Alimentum, Nutramigen, and ProSoBee all failed us (GI symptoms, rashes and explosive dipes).
Have you tried Neocate and/or Elecare?
Another option, if nutritional content is not as much of a concern, might be Vance's DariFree. You would have to check it for your particular allergy needs, but it is a potato-based product. It gets rave reviews for taste, but it is not nutritionally the same as milk or formula. Good luck! Put a shout out on the board here if you ever want to talk.
On May 4, 2007
You have a lot of good ideas and information...thanks for sharing. I am new to this board and am so glad I came across it. It is really helping me begin the process of preparing for her to go to school. I am trying to think positive, but do have so many fears about her leaving my care. I have had as much control over the allergy sitution as possible up until now, but school adds so much stress. I am trying to cover every thing just so that I can be as preventative as possible. I "think" the school will work with us. My husband is a school counsler in the system. I am a teacher (staying home right now) and I have several family members who also teach. But, I know that, even with my family, that there is a lack of understanding about allergies. I guess we will get a better feel for how it will go in our first meeting to plan for next year.
That is a good idea to put the date and version number on the snack list...ingredients change...we have experienced that before.
We highly suspected that our son would have allergies b/c of his sister's so I didn't give him any rice cereal until 6 months. The first time I gave him some rice cereal mixed with breastmilk, I woke up and he was choking on vomit. He vomited several times but at that time we didn't connect it. Then, when we gave it to him again we had to take him to the ER. He had severe vomiting and went limp on us. At first, his primary doctor didn't feel like it was the rice (even with the allergy history) b/c it would be so rare. But, when we took him to the allergist and a prick test was completed he was a +++ on rice. During those times, he actually didn't get hives on rice...just vomiting, etc... He kept breaking out when he was a baby to everything though...still today he gets hives even at home. I am very careful with the soy that his sis drinks but he has so many allergies that it is hard to get residues off every surface he touches. His allergies are actually even more severe than her's and that is unbelievable. I don't know what I will do when he starts school.
I worry about his fat intake. He eats meat pretty good and I am still nursing so that is a little fat. But, I am ready to wean. I just can't wean him to juice though. He takes a calcium supplement and eats lots fruits, vegetables, meats. We have to be very careful about breads and crackers due to the rice and soy. I had not heard of a potato milk. Maybe that would work for us. He can't have legumes either. Yesterday, I rechallenged him on navy beans and he had a pretty scary reaction.
I hadn't seen the arthur episode, but I will check into that. That would be good for her to see. She has the Alexander dvd and several allergy books. But, I really wasn't sure about sending them to school. I didn't know if that would be a good thing or if it could possibly make her a target for getting picked on. What are your opinions about that? I think they have really helped her personally though. She seemed to connect with the kids at the end of the video b/c she doesn't know anyone with allergies other than her brother.