I know, the thought of feeding your food allergy kids fast without stress or sacrificing variety sounds WAAAAY easier said than done. But there are 3 things I’ll talk about in this post that will make it possible. Not only possible, but doable; even for overwhelmed food allergy moms who need a break.
Don’t miss the totally free: Feed Your Food Allergy Kids Fast Starter Kit download.
Feed Your Food Allergy Kids Fast Without Stress Or Sacrificing Variety
I’ve been where you might be today. It was a few years ago when I was fumbling with dinner times and mostly getting through by constantly searching for products that were safe (except I was never quite sure how safe they were). It was a constant struggle to make dinner and when we found something new, we would have it over and over because I was afraid of trying new things. I was feeding my food allergy family, but I know I was losing my sanity in the meantime.
It was actually draining me to my very core.
I was constantly feeling a weight on my shoulders and constantly thinking EVERYDAY about what to feed my family. I was burnt out and frustrated. I knew my family deserved more than what I was making, but I JUST COULDN’T GET MYSELF to do anything different. I was in a DEEP rut. I dreaded thinking about dinner times, yet THEY NEVER STOPPED COMING! Day in and day out my family needed to eat, and even though I got meals on the table, I wasn’t proud of them. I didn’t enjoy what we were eating and I HAD NO DESIRE TO COOK. I began to despise the kitchen and spending time there.
Then, something happened that really broke the camel’s (or my) back. My daughter’s Allergist/Immunologist asked us to remove gluten from her diet in hopes that we can start introducing certain nuts into her diet. WOW. I was elated because the thought of her beating her nut allergy made me excited and hopeful. But it didn’t help with my food rut. I was now faced with starting again, to find new safe food and this time removing even MORE foods from our diet. It meant figuring out this new normal all over again.
Needless to say, the weight of feeding my family became even heavier. I knew something had to change and I couldn’t provide my family with what they needed without making some drastic changes.
Armed with the hope that we might beat food allergies, I began to do 2 things. It was the combination of these two things that changed my life forever. Read on to learn what they are!
Food Allergy Meal Planning For Beginners & How To Cook With Whole Foods
I knew I needed a break from cooking and thinking about food and I started to figure out how to plan intentionally so I could give myself a break consistently. I learned about intentionally rotating meals so I didn’t have to constantly search for new products or recipes and could still have loads of variety. I learned the best way to plan so I didn’t have to go back to the grocery store more than once a week. And I learned how to become more efficient when I was cooking, so I wasn’t in the kitchen ALL THE TIME.
2. Cooking With Whole Foods.
The next thing I began to do was cook with whole foods. When my daughter was diagnosed with gluten intolerance in addition to peanut and tree nut allergies, I started to see that either peanuts, tree nuts or gluten were in EVERYTHING. (It reminded me of when my oldest still had her milk and egg allergies). I was frustrated and dismayed. I felt like there were so few products she could eat.
Which is when I realized that maybe I should just get rid of pre-packaged food altogether. I mean, less processed is better for you and I don’t have to spend hours reading labels on a carrot! Once I figured this out, I was unstoppable!
It’s not so easy to just start cooking interesting and delicious foods from whole foods, but there are simple cooking techniques and basics that will allow you to make many, many different dishes from these basic foods, if you know them.
I started to teach myself what I needed to know so I could create meals from scratch. I started revamping old recipes that we couldn’t eat before. I also started working with clients through my business, Friendly Pantry Consulting and many of my clients needed to remove allergens like milk and eggs so I started to experiment with creating recipes for them too. I even wrote an allergy-friendly cookbook for the top 8 allergens plus gluten (called The Weeknight Allergy Buster). I had found my groove!
IT’S ALL ABOUT BEING PURPOSEFUL
I used to think that meal planning wouldn’t work for me. It took a lot of time and wasn’t worth the effort. But that all changed when I learned that as long as you’re purposeful in your planning, it doesn’t have to take forever.
Being purposeful means not just quickly jotting down what you’ll be making that week, but instead planning so you have less work another day. Another example is purposefully tasting your food so you learn how to replicate flavours so you can replace allergens in your food easily. Not only that, but it’s learning to plan so you don’t have to be a short order cook because different family members have different allergies.
DON’T WORRY, IT’S MUCH SIMPLER THAN YOU THINK
When I started I had no idea that I would write an allergy-friendly recipe book. I mean, I had no idea how to create a recipe! But what I found was that when I learned a few KEY allergy kitchen skills, I was able to do it.
This was so completely and utterly freeing!
After I started with making pre-made recipes allergy-friendly, I could move to the next step of creating whole recipes easily. I’m not saying that you need to write a recipe book, or even make your own recipes at all, but I am saying that if you learn these key allergy kitchen skills, you’ll be able to feel that comfort in knowing that you can make almost any recipe you like to fit your family’s allergens.
The same things go for meal planning.
I used to think that meal planning would take hours just to plan my meals and that doesn’t even count the actual cooking. Nobody wants to do something that will take them hours, right? But when I started to purposefully plan, I started to find ways of meal planning that would not only dramatically decrease my time in the kitchen, but that I could use over and over again so I wasn’t re-planning every single week.
ACTIONS LEAD TO MOTIVATION
I used to feel like I needed some sort of super-power motivation to do any kind of meal planning or cooking done, but then I realized that motivation comes from my actions and not just from thin air.
For example, back when I was feeling stuck just after my daughter was diagnosed with the gluten intolerance, I realized that I was finding my “safe spot” in the 5 recipes I knew my kids would eat, and I got stuck there. I kept making the same thing over and over because I felt security in those 5 meals. But in doing that, I got myself deeper and deeper into a rut of being bored not only with the food, but with actually cooking the food.
My weight kept getting heavier not only because I was the sole cook for our family, but because I didn’t like what I was making. There was no creativity or enjoyment in eating what I was making or in the process of making of it. Because of that, I was becoming less and less motivated. Sound familiar?
Things didn’t change until I learned the right allergy kitchen skills.
First, I learned how to become inspired by food, but also how to become motivated. There are many ways to get motivated and I’ll talk about a few of them in a minute, but a big part of motivation came from my feelings of being inspired and creative in the kitchen.
In my life this plays out like this:
During the school year when my family is on a rigid schedule, I like to meal plan. It works great because I need to keep things efficient and get food on the table easily so my kids are fuelled for their activities. But just about the time when I’m feeling tired of planning and need a break, summer comes and that’s when I like to slip into creative mode where I experiment with food and what I’m cooking. It gives me a break from the schedules and I can feel renewed and rejuvenated. It gives me a break from doing the same thing.
Then when fall comes, I’m ready and able to start meal planning again. That’s the power that comes from being able to cook whole foods. Others might get motivated in other ways, and we’ll talk about that, but this is something that works for me, and has been a game-changer in my motivation levels.
How Do I Start?
You may think, "Great. I want that", but then forget you ever read this and move on with your day.
But I challenge you to more. Here's what you need to do:
There’s detailed information about how to start using and developing these allergy kitchen skills so you don’t have to feel so stuck anymore. There’s even a worksheet that will help you become motivated. You’ll also find a template and cheatsheet that will get you started on the right path with both meal planning and cooking with whole foods. You don’t have to struggle one more day! You can get it here:
You don’t have to feel stuck when it comes to feeding your family! Get The Feed Your Food Allergy Kids Fast Without Stress Starter Kit so you can get out of the dinnertime rut.
What about you? Let me know in the comments what you struggle with most when it comes to feeding your food allergy little.