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Sunday, February 7, 2016

10 Allergen-Free Snacks for Play Dates!

10 Food Allergen- Safe Snacks for Play Dates! 

Food in general has come a long way! It's wrapped up in tradition and secret recipes, memories and essentially feelings. People "feel" a certain way about food and their expectations of what's "normal" in regards to food. Foods value, beyond sustenance, has become so highly regarded in social opinions.

Food's become so famous that people can easily and honestly justify choosing food over safety as acceptable. The expensive packaging, unique flavors, high budgets, sexy commercials and long list of ingredients, bring people to desire brands, tastes, and want to make them a part of their memories. It makes them "feel" a certain way.  The same way people "care" about your wellbeing if you're famous. 

Food allergy families don't see the Fame in food. They make such strides to peel back the layers of labeling and marketing. They dive into being placed on eternal hold's with the manufacturing companies, just see if the food they're feeding their child is safe from cross contamination. Otherwise, they wouldn't have done their due diligence and an allergic reaction would be deemed Their fault. This very superficial, uncomfortable and isolating side of food comes from learning the diagnosis that your little one has food allergies. 

Upon the initial diagnosis, you also learn the food allergy(ies) can be fatal --and avoidance is the only treatment. This means you, the parents, are in charge of chronically controlling the presence of your child's food allergies in any and all environments your child is put in. You also need to evaluate who you really trust to do the same and take great care of your child (including loved ones), well beyond the basic concerns of a guardian's safety decisions. 

From that day on, your life is now changed. Your life goes from being just like everyone else in your minimally thought after food regimen, to becoming a part of a healthy, ingredient conscious lifestyle.

Your new "lifestyle" becomes more about food safety, transparency, and food quality. It's a perfect opportunity to utilize the resources at Hello Mamas to find people in the same situation and grow your support system http://hellomamas.com. You can no longer be fooled by the smoke screen of marketing, genius labeling, and the unbalanced thought process innately programmed in females to be calorie counters. 

We no longer look only at calories, we take a closer look to include all of the ingredients. We begin to realize that all our previous years we had no clue what we were really eating. We then realize the years we've been led by marketing, consumer reports, and commercials that have herded us around the food industry like a sheep following its flock -- never asking questions just doing the other sheep do, as we drink up our information through mass media Ads & commercials, counting on distracting us from the truths behind the food scene. 

An acquaintance of ours once told me that our daughters food allergy will probably save our lives someday. At the time, I thought it was a bizarre statement, but now I see the powerful knowledge we've learned and how, over the years, our whole household has grown to create and define boundaries, and grown empowered with knowledge and become strong in our convictions about health and wellness.

Food allergies are scary and extremely serious, but, for my family - eye opening and emancipated us from the previous analogy of the herd of sheep. What's scary is that when we stop and ask questions to food companies, we're met with ambiguity and resistance --or worse, a genuine lack of knowledge and unknown answers to our questions! 

I've learned from our non profit http://www.fa-resources.org that families unaffected by food allergies often times avoid kids with them because of questions, concerns or insecurity about their ability to offer safety. I would love to help remedy anymore future exclusion of these kids. I also have some advice. 

Today, 1 in 15 kids have a or multiple food allergies in America. That's roughly 2 in every single classroom,  making this a very common epidemic. If your child has a new friend and they have a food allergy, chances are their parents have already approached you with some safety advice. In general if you're hosting any food you should always ask "does anyone have a food allergy"? 

10 Food Allergy Safe Snacks for Play Dates 

1.) Celery Sticks  - organic sun butter, raisins/ craisins.
 
2.) Melon Balls -watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew scooped balls with tooth picks/ served in high protein rice cup

3.) Homemade (super easy and DELICIOUS) Ranch Dressing and Fresh Raw Veggies: Serve with baby carrots, sliced Tri-color bell pepper, sliced cucumber sticks, broccoli. Kids love veggies when they're drenched in ranch! 
Homemade Ranch Dressing: whisk together and chill for an hour: 1 C.of Vegenaise, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, 1/4 tsp. coarse black pepper, 2 tsp. of chopped parsley, 1 & 1/2 C. Of Hempmilk.
    4.) My signature Green Juice I have a signature recipe that I put in a large travel soup container. I portion and freeze full (sandwich size) plastic zip bags of pre washed, organic chopped Kale. I freeze our organic bananas once they get spotty (sugary). I portion them to the zip bag. I buy fresh, organic pineapples when they're fresh, in season, and on sale. I slice the fruit and cube it into medium/large sized cubes. It's important to buy fresh and never canned. Fresh pineapple has a natural bromine (an anti inflammatory). I fill up the zip bags with pineapple then freeze. When were ready for our gorgeous greens. It's done in less than 2 minutes! 

    I use my Nutribullet and add the frozen kale, bananas, and pineapple. Then I add plain coconut coconut water to the fill line. I add 1TBS of coral calcium.
    In about a minute let batch, everything is blended perfectly. I love how freezing kale makes it blend like a powder. Since the beginning of motherhood, I've always encouraged my girls into healthy habits. At home we have fancy plastic cups and umbrella straws aiding in encouraging them to drink new juice concoctions ( the presentation guarantees they'll drink the whole 8 oz cup! The Gorgeous Green Juice taste like a piña colada so it doesn't take any convincing to drink.  My girls love it! It also makes mommy, here, feel good about their veggie intake. IThis is a fun, colorful snack to share letting the kids feel fancy with their umbrellas.t's a great snack when you're planning to get physical because it's high in sugar. It's also easy to share for team sports. 

    Everybody thinks Gatorade is the go-to for electrolyte replenishing, but no! It's processed sugar and food dyes. Coconut water is a real, natural electrolyte replenisher loaded in potassium and natural, easily metabolized and needed sugar. 

    5.) Homemade chicken salad finger sandwiches. Udi's white bread. I marinate chicken breast with fresh tarragon and Himalayan sea salt and pepper overnight. Then bake 3 organic chicken breasts at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Once cooled, cube up the chicken, mince half of a cucumber, mix together with 2 TSP of Vegenaise(vegan egg-free mayonnaise." This is a delicious snack. I slice it into strips. The Udi's bread is firm so it all stays put together well, and is packed with a lunch of protein!

    6.) Boars Head Classic (non GMO) hummus with Mary's Gone Crackers, or fresh sliced veggies.

    7.) Chewy No-Bake Granola Bars
    3 cups, crispy rice cereal
    2-1/4 cups quick cups quick cooking oats
    1/2 cup organic sliced almonds (or organic shelled Hemp seeds for protein)
    1/2 cup organic fresh shredded coconut  
    2/3 cups cups organic, vegan chocolate chips.
    1/2 Agave Nectar or organic rice syrup 1/4 cups organic packed  brown sugar.
    1 cup of creamy almond, peanut, or sun butter.
    1-1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla  extract
    1/2 tsp salt.

    8.) "Cheese" Quesadilla's : Daiya cheese (coconut cheese) Gluten-free traditional tortilla wraps, or any kind of wraps etc. depending on the allergies you're accommodating, the options are endless. Even grain- free wraps are available. 

    9. ) Fresh, organic "milk" shakes. My family love strawberries (but you can use any frozen organic fruit). Using a nutribullet/ or vita-mix, add strawberries, chia seeds, 1 tBSl of raw organic honey, fill your choice of milk to the fill line (almond, rice, cashew, hemp) run machine until it's completely creamy. Pour in a travel canister and pack to-go cups. This is a great snack to share. 

    10.) Kale chips : fresh organic kale still attached to the stalk. Wash thoroughly and allow to completely dry. Rip of small pieces and add to a bowl. Add oil, or coconut oil, salt and pepper. Lay flat on on a large sided pan on 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the chips over once and cook an additional 10 minutes. They should be perfect at this time. The trick is to make sure the kale is perfectly dry before beginning the process. You can customize your tastes as much as desired here. Here's a great resource for making perfect kale chips http://ohsheglows.com/2014/03/12/6-tips-for-flawless-kale-chips-all-dressed-kale-chips-recipe/

    I always suggest water as the beverage of choice. Most people don't get enough water, but kids are more at risk of dehydration because of their constant physical activity. Teach your kids that water is the best beverage and that food is where the body gets its nutrition. 

    Remember to always ask if "anyone has a food allergy" and follow my 10 suggestions to get confidence with including kids with food allergies in play date snack time. Clean and sanitize your workspace from any previous remainders of handling foods your children's friends. 

    From one food allergy parent to you, I thank you for your interest in effort in including these kids and taking responsibility for your part in their lives. Xoxox