Being a parent of a child with food allergies is no simple task. From meal planning and prepping to overseeing every aspect of your child’s diet, you’re on high alert at all times to ensure that your youngster is safe and healthy.
Luckily, there are many amazing online communities that provide tips and support to help allergy moms and dads handle their daily duties as parents of food-allergic kids. Many of these communities exist on social media, where platforms like Facebook and Instagram provide a space for parents to share their best ideas, most difficult challenges, and other important information about parenting with food-allergic kids.
In honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week, American Medical ID has taken to social media to find the best tips, tricks and life hacks for parents of children with food allergies!
Check out these 9 food allergy hacks trending on social media and discover new ways to support your child’s allergy while still having fun!
#1 Get a travel lunch box and placemat.
Between band rehearsal, soccer practice and school activities, your child is always on the go. You never know what allergens could be lurking around the corner, so it’s always best to be prepared for anything. With a fun lunch box and travel placemat set, you can take the proper precautions every time your child enjoys a delicious snack! A fun set will feel more personal to your child and help them keep their food safe from contaminants while on the go.
#2 Color code your kitchen.
There’s always a new home organization trend that’s popular on social media, and right now allergy moms are loving this one! Color coding isn’t just for cute bakeware – it can help your food-allergic child, too. Use one set of colored dishes for [food-allergic child] and apply the same color coordination to their cutlery, cutting boards for their food, storage containers, and more. If you have a flock of little ones, have each child choose a different color to make food prep and mealtime fun for the whole family, while keeping your food-allergic child safe and part of the group.
#3 Empower kids to help out with stickers.
Using stickers is a great way to empower your child to keep themselves safe and manage their food allergies or medical dietary restrictions from a young age. Have them pick out stickers they love (maybe the stickers match their color-coded dishes!) and use those to mark foods that are safe to eat or specifically for them. Having a visual to associate with safe foods is a great way to acclimate younger kids to practicing safe habits while ensuring they are healthy and engaged.
#4 Combine fashion and function with a medical ID bracelet.
Let your child indulge in self-expression and stay safe! A medical ID provides important information about your child’s allergies to first responders and medical workers in the event of an emergency. But gone are the days of clunky dog tags: American Medical ID has an amazing selection of medical ID necklaces and bracelets that provide both fashion and function! Your child can choose from over 150 unique and personalized styles to find the one that is special to their interests and personality. Check out all of the silicone, metal and leather kids’ medical ID accessory options here.
#5 Stock up on non-food favors for birthday parties or school events.
We know your family calendar is full of classroom celebrations, birthday parties and other special events and occasions. Stay ahead of the game and avoid the last-minute scramble to find allergy-safe snacks for your child and other food-allergic children. Keep a stash of non-food favors that are fun for kids to enjoy as an exciting alternative to common snacks. When you have a stash of non-food favors, you can often provide enough for a group, eliminating the worry of your child coming in contact with unsafe foods. You might even start a new trend in your community!
#6 Involve your child in cooking and baking.
You’re doing everything you can to be proactive and help your child avoid potential dangers related to their food allergies. Why not get them involved, too? Have your child help with cooking and baking to learn the ropes of how to prepare safe, healthy, and delicious snacks and meals. They will be able to learn the difference between safe and unsafe ingredients and start to build a foundation for healthy, life-saving habits for the future. As your child becomes more familiar with using different safe ingredients, methods and substitution options specific to their food allergy, the more comfortable you both will be.
#7 Make a life-saving fashion statement.
It can be a bother to remind your child to carry their epinephrine at all times. But things happen, and we all know it’s better to be safe than sorry. So why not make this medical necessity a fun part of their outfit? From cute personalized pouches to cargo pants and necklaces, there are plenty of options for your child to have their epi-pen at the ready while staying true to their own style and personality.
#8 Create an allergy kit
Prepare an allergy kit so your child is always equipped and prepared. Your kit should include things like your child’s medications and instructions, emergency contact information, and an emergency response checklist. Make it easily accessible so that your child, their teacher, caregivers or family friends will effortlessly use it in the case of an emergency situation. When you pack your allergy kit, keep it in a brightly colored or easily recognizable bag so it never gets lost in the shuffle!
#9 Join an inclusive community
Sometimes the best way to stay grounded (and, let’s face it, sane) is to connect with a supportive community. Being a parent is equivalent to being a superhero, no matter what the situation. Being responsible for a child with food allergies and other medical conditions is a whole new ballgame for many parents and caretakers. It’s important to feel connected to other people who are facing the same challenges, obstacles and successes that you are – and sometimes this is the best place to find specific tips to keep your kids safe and healthy, too!
Are you a parent of a child with food allergies? We’d love to hear your story! Share your best tips and life hacks with us in the comments.