Discover 5 New Ways to Meal Plan for Food Allergies That Will Change Your Life
Any mom will tell you that getting healthy dinners on the table is a non-stop challenge. As a food allergy mama, you not only have this challenge, but you also have other major obstacles to deal with. For example:
Converting every good recipe you find into something that’s safe for your family is exhausting.
Even though you long to be able to forget about finding and cooking safe food for a little while (even a weekend would be nice), you have nobody to take over cooking for you. When you do get a break, all that free time is spent teaching your friends or family how to cook safely for your child and going over the ingredients of every dish.
The overwhelm with reading labels at the grocery store is real, and you would love to go back to the days when you could throw anything into the cart on a whim.
Do you wonder if this cooking situation is something that you have to accept as a food allergy mama? Are you destined to suffer in silence when it comes to easily and safely feeding your family every. single. day?
If you’ve wondered this, then why does the idea of using proven systems like meal planning to decrease the weight of finding & preparing safe food seem like it’s impossible?
Let me guess…..
You’ll do what it takes to keep your child safe, but you have no idea how to successfully systematize your cooking to make it easier.
You know what your family likes and you’re afraid that a meal plan will force you to cook food that will be wasted and the kids will be looking for snacks an hour after dinner.
You want to live a normal life despite food allergies, but you feel like anything to do with food is now complicated and difficult. You don’t have the time to get through the complications to create a system that decreases your cooking stress.
Busy moms like you don’t have a second to waste on things that don’t serve your family. You have so many other things to be doing, but finding and preparing safe food IS NOT AN OPTION, whether you like it or not. Which makes creating a meal plan so valuable for food allergy moms like you.
In my experience, there are 5 major myths to blame for food allergy meal plans that DON’T work (and I'm guilty of believing all of them at one point!). Learn what to do instead so you can successfully take the weight of cooking for your food allergy family off your shoulders.
You Don’t Need the Best Meal Planning Service for Special Diets When You Learn These 5 Tips
Tip #1 Don’t be afraid to move out of your food comfort zone.
I know this doesn’t sound easy at all because it's easy to fall into the trap of making only what you know your kids will like. I did it ALL the time. I mean, who wants to throw out the dinner you spent all that time and effort making with only grouchy kids that ask for snacks within the hour to show for it?
Trust me when I say that kids will be kids, and they’ll likely be picky no matter what we do. They’ll gobble something up one day but the next they won’t even TRY it.
This is just what kids do.
Have you heard of “The Feeding Relationship”? It basically says that YOU choose what to make and your little chooses WHETHER they will eat it, and how much they will eat. For more info, see this video created by the Dieticians of Canada. If we can get past the idea that our kids have to eat everything we make (and like it), our lives will be WAY less stressful.
Food allergies restrict our diets in so many ways, so keeping an open mind to new things (even if we’re not sure our kids will like it) allows us to focus on the huge variety of foods you CAN eat so you can create NEW family favourites. If you don't try something, how will you know? Not only that, but when you find those new foods your family loves, you'll have more choice and variety of flavours and recipe options. Who doesn't love a bit more variety?
PRO TIP: While creating your meal plan, try pre-made food allergy recipe book & meal-plan (LIKE THIS FREE ONE) that will not only give you new safe meal ideas, but it will also help you try new foods that are just waiting for your family to love.
Tip #2 Make finding safe food part of a whole system instead of planning week-to-week.
Many food allergy mamas look at their food requirements for the day or week separately from what they need on a WHOLE. They believe that thinking about “whats for dinner” today or this week is their main concern (I did this too!) when in reality, it’s only a small part of the plan. By looking at the “what’s for dinner” question as a component of a whole system, you’ll save time and effort for many food allergy struggles, from the daily worry of what to feed your kiddos to preparing for social events and even travel too.
PRO TIP: A food allergy meal plan that really works is made up of 4 key stages: plan, group, batch cook, and implement. Each stage is important and combines with the other stages to create an easier, less stressful cooking experience.
In short, a good food allergy meal plan is so much more than planning day by day OR week by week. It’s many moving parts put together in the right way so it’s efficient and time-saving.
When all these moving parts are combined and aligned properly, you’ll have more allergy-friendly meal ideas and feel less burnt out. You’ll even spend less time reading food labels. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Tip #3 Stop thinking that meal planning is a TON of effort and takes too much time.
True, creating a meal plan isn’t simple when you’re already bogged down with your every day responsibilities.
But that doesn’t mean that the process can’t be a whole lot simpler with a guided map that shows you exactly what to do when and how.
From showing you how to stock your pantry with the most affordable food allergy replacements to revealing what you can eat with hardly any label reading, a step-by-step map can take something that is complex and simplify it for busy food allergy mamas.
PRO TIP: Find a group of moms that want to meal plan together. It’s so much fun to do it as a group of friends instead of by yourself. If you’re struggling to find one, check out The Inspired Kitchen Membership where you’ll learn the exact steps to create meal plans that give you meal variety in less time and effort. Then a group of food allergy moms will help each other feel motivated to consistently create meal plans together!
Yes, pulling off a food allergy meal plan requires effort in the beginning… but as a food allergy mama, I know you’re willing to put in that effort for your kiddo. You just need to know that what you’re doing is efficient so you’re not spinning your wheels in the long run.
Tip #4: Stop getting product recommendations in the food allergy Facebook groups.
Product recommendations from other food allergy mamas in the same boat as you are awesome, and they can decrease stress, for sure. But you still have to string those products together to create a full meal every day, every week and every month, and that’s a big part of the stress. Not to mention the high cost of all those pre-made foods.
PRO TIP: Focus more on finding one or two safe products that will complement your full cooking plan instead of relying on food allergy replacements for most of your meals. This way you can focus less on constantly finding new, safe products.
CLICK HERE to discover how I create Simple Saver meals that are allergy-friendly and don’t depend on recommendations from your Facebook groups.
Tip #5 Stop thinking that you have to suffer through it because food allergy cooking is just harder.
I speak from experience when I say that food allergy cooking IS harder. But we don’t have to suffer in silence!
Many food allergy mamas feel guilty about getting help with creating meal plans because they feel like they "should" know how to do it on their own. They feel guilty spending money for help even though a good meal plan will actually SAVE them money, time AND stress in the long run.
A good plan will:
inspire you so you have more new food ideas
save you time so you can spend more time having fun with your family
save the stress of converting every single recipe you find into something safe for your family
save money because you don’t have to buy the expensive pre-made allergy convenience foods
make you feel less burnt out from cooking and baking all the time
So even though food allergy cooking IS more difficult; a good meal plan with a framework, proper techniques and solid strategies will save food allergy mamas more time, energy and stress, which means it’s all the more valuable! So take control of your cooking and make food enjoyable again, despite food allergies.
Allergy SAFE, Easy & Effortless Family Meals Are Simple With Meal Planning (even with special diets)!
Now that you know the 5 meal planning tips, I’ve created a detailed, free cheat sheet to help you with your food allergy menu planning so you can feel less burnt out and have more meal ideas.
My hope for you is to jump over the food allergy cooking ruts and avoid the stress that food allergy cooking can create for you and instead learn how to create a meal plan system that makes it feel like food allergies don’t exist in your home.
I’ve been a food allergy mama for over 12 years and I’ve been through the label-reading overwhelm, the cooking ruts and the 4 o’clock “what’s for dinner” struggles. You don’t need to follow the same path! Here’s the Meal Plan Template I use to meal plan and shop. It’s a food allergy mom life-saver!
Need allergy-friendly meal ideas?
If you prefer a grab-and-go meal plan & recipe book, try this one. There’s allergy-friendly recipe ideas that are suitable for your pickiest eater and even an easy shopping list. Just click on the image below to get it!
What about you? Which of these tips will you start using? Let me know in the comments!