Food Allergy Advise Needed

Updated on July 10, 2008
C.K. asks from Cadillac, MI
13 answers

My 4 yr old, we have learned is allergic to corn and all corn by-products (corn syrup). I have a list of do's & dont's from the allergist but there is only so many ways to feed a toddler rice and potatoes. There is fresh fruit and whole grains but...how do you make eating intersting to a child who would live off of chocolate is allowed...and it's not.

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So What Happened?

Oh my gosh! Thank ALL of you so much for your time and advise! I now have lots of resources that I may have not found otherwise.

Luckily, my child does love vegies and fruit so we are ok there. I have started cooking from scratch again so will get better with time on that one. I plan to keep doing what I'm doing so my second will hopefully fall right into loving the same foods as the rest of us. And as many of you mentioned, it's just getting into the habit of doing and to keep doing (reading labels/research/farmers markets)in the best interest of my family.

We do have a Meijer's and one health food store in town. I had thought of the health food store but had not been in just yet. Our Meijer's has just started promoting their organic section, so will be checking that out as well.

Thanks again everyone!!! I have a renewed inspiration to be more creative.

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C._.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hello C.,

from now on, always read the labels. even for food that you usually buy because they do change ingredients. also, get well versed on all the types of corn derivatives around. they get kind of fancy w/ naming things just to make it sound better. some maltodextrin is made from corn.

even whole wheat bread may have high fructose corn syrup. same goes for ice creams, and drinks, cookies, crackers, etc.

look for mediterranean recipes, thai recipes, caribbean recipes. plantain bananas are good. can even buy plantain chips. Good luck and keep reading the labels!
~Carmen~

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M.M.

answers from Detroit on

we dont eat corn syrup because its bad for you - we have no issues finding foods - only foods that are bad for you contain corn syrup.

you will be surprised when you start to read labels - many many foods dont have corn syrup but you will have to think healthy - check out the healthier sections of meier or kroger - check out plummarket or whole foods - you really will be surprised!

1 mom found this helpful
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C.R.

answers from Kalamazoo on

There really are lots of choices out there, it is just overwhelming. I don't know anything about the corn by-products, but as far as corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup, I don't bring it into the house by choice. What kinds of foods are you most concerned about? Snacks? Sweets? Meal foods? Here are some things that are in my house regularly that I think fit your criteria:

-Organic or "Real" Foods: lots of supermarkets, including meijer, have a decent selection. I use their ketsup all the time, they have things like animal crackers, graham crackers, goldfish, waffles. You can find lots of flavors of jams and jellies, peanut or almond butter. There are lots of organic or all natural cereals out there too, but those will be tougher for you because of the corn products. Chocolate free of corn syrup does exist, it's just a little pricey. There are organic brownie mixes (or it's easy to do from scratch with a can of cocoa powder. I've seen organic chocolate chips, meaning it is still possible to make homemade chocolate chip cookies!

-fruits, veggies and dairy: my 3.5 yr old DS goes in fruit phases. Sometimes he carries a dish of green grapes with him everywhere, other times it's a plate of apple slices. He also loves strawberries, kiwi, starfruit, pineapple, watermelon, banana and cantalope. Mott makes a No Sugar Added apple sauce that is free of corn syrups and fake sugars. Currently, my DS won't touch veggies, but think about a dish of red pepper slices, baby carrots, pieces of celery, cherry or grape tomatoes or cucumber. I'd be lost without cheese sticks, cottage cheese and a weekly staple at my house: Dannon All Natural Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt. My kid eats this stuff every day and loves to dip his graham crackers in it.

-Home Made: As tough as it is with a preschooler and a baby, you know what's in it when you make it. French toast or pancakes with real maple syrup (not the brown, butter- flavored high fructose corn syrup junk). There are pre-made crusts out there that are all natural (or box mix) so you can make your own pizza. Home made mac & cheese isn't much more effort than making spaghetti (lots of sauce options for pasta). Popcorn sprinkled with parmesan cheese is a favorite snack. Unfortunately, both brands of flour tortillas I use have corn starch in them (chi-chi's brand and Tortilla factory), but you may be able to find some without it in the organic dept. If you can, you're open to tacos, and quesidillas and one of our almost daily meals here is a grilled cheese made by putting cheddar cheese in a tortilla with a couple pieces of honey roasted deli turkey rolled up and toasted on my george foreman grill. (I buy hormel all natural deli meat-it has no nitrate/nitrites and is available in presliced/prepackaged part of the meat cooler near the cheese-they also do ham and roast beef). I make a super yummy cream cheese frosting for cakes (butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar). I've done it strawberry by adding pureed frozed strawberries, or chocolate by adding cocoa powder.

Sorry this is so long, but I hope that it gives you some ideas or at least gets your imagination moving to think up things that will work for your family. I'll bet the hardest part will just be changing your habits here at the start. Once you find alternatives for things you are used to having it will be easy and all of you will be healthier.

Good luck!

C., Battle Creek

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L.B.

answers from Detroit on

Whole Foods, Trader Joes and other health food stores carry a variety of products that are made from rice and potatos, such as breads, pancake, cookie and cake mix, snack fods, cereal. Even Kroger and other Meijers are beginning to sell these items. If you are not near any of these stores, i know you can purchase items on line and have them delivered as well. www.mothernature.com has good information on a corn free diet as well as www.feingold.com I know how tough it can be to have food allergies, our daughter struggles with a dairy and egg. Good Luck

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T.V.

answers from Saginaw on

C.,

The vegetarian diet that the Seventh Day Advent People use is a good diet. I actually felt better while I was on it but I've slipped!

Hope you find information helpful.

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C.J.

answers from Lansing on

C.,

I saw that you are in Cadillac. I don't know if you have any great health food stores, but checking them out can be a good place to start.

Also, you need to bone up on everything corn is in. The scary thing is food companies don't need to include ingredients if they are part of the process of creating food, only if they are included in the final product. Case in point, to keep low-fat yogurt from separating, companies use corn starch as a thickener, but this is not always included on the list of ingredients. Regular yogurt does not need this thickening agent because the fat molecules have not been removed so you can be mostly sure it is corn free (unless sugary flavoring has been added).

Don't forget that many chemicals are made from corn and may trigger a reaction in people who are allergic to corn. Here is a great website to check out: http://www.cornallergens.com/

My son has seven food intolerances, one of which is corn, so I know the struggles you are going through. Keep up your search, ask questions of food companies (I've been know to call a company right in the middle of the supermarket to find out about a product), read labels religiously (product ingredients can change without notice), and check out Alton Brown's books "I'm just here for the food" and "I'm just here for more food" from the library. He also has a show on the food network called "Good Eats" (also on DVD) which talks about the science of food; how ingredients work together, why they work, and ways to be creative with your cooking.

It will take time for your family to adjust, but you will all be healthier for the change. Good luck!

p.s. You can still use chocolate in your cooking. Check out the chocolate chips by 'Enjoy Life'. They are free of corn.

Also, if you are looking for a corn-free marshmallow receipe, let me know. I finally found one in an old Joy of Cooking cookbook (substituting agave syrup for corn syrup) and my son LOVES being able to roast marshmallows with the other kids. =)

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M.V.

answers from Detroit on

Our family tries to stay away from corn products as much as possible and my mother will NOT eat anything with corn because she says it makes her sick. In the gluten-free section of Meijers, I found (pricey) chocolate chips that she can eat and they even have brown rice tortillas. It took us a while to find all of the things for her to eat, and since we have switched willingly, you wouldn't BELIEVE the things that are now being made with pure cane juice instead of corn syrup. It takes a little bit of time to get used to reading the labels, but go from brand to brand. THEY ARE ALL DIFFERENT!! Pre-made Jello is made with corn syrup, but the Hunt's brand is not! Good luck at your new "view" of things!! :)

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K.T.

answers from Detroit on

Look at this as an opportunity to get both girls on the track to good nutrition. Kids will eventually eat whatever you give them if they are hungry enough. If she doesn't have access to anything bad, she'll eventually have to try what you offer.
There are tons of online recipes for making food fun. Google "kids recipes" or something to get some ideas.

(having said all this, I have a veggi-phobe who would live on Mac&Cheese, chocolate and crackers if I let him. I do make sure we have WHOLE GRAIN crackers only and recently he's gotten hooked on rice cakes with or without peanut butter.)

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B.S.

answers from Grand Rapids on

There are so many books out on different food allergies. My daughter is allergic to wheat and so we have learned how to work around that with the help of many books and the local health food store (harvest health foods)

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N.D.

answers from Detroit on

Hi,
As a mother of a VERY picky 3 year old i found using food coloring and cookie cuters to make fun shapes helps alot. Especaily if you mix and match shapes and colors. He also has food allegeries (soy) so i understand the frustration of trying to get kids to eat what they should, and keep them away from all the things they cant have that other kids can. I wish you good luck!!!

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A.V.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi C.,

I use a lot of Shaklee supplements with my kids (2 and 4 yrs. old). That is the best way to ensure they are getting the requirments met for vitamins and minerals. If you would like more info. you can visit my website at www.shaklee.net/avwellness. I am a certified nutrition consultant, so if you would like further help please contact me.

Thanks,
A. Villarreal

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L.P.

answers from Detroit on

C.:
Go on line and check out recipes and desserts with these types of ingredients. Fruit can be good if you try things like ice cream, try puddings with fruit, applesauce is sweet. Does he like cheesy potatoes - my kids love them..hash browns and what about carrots. does he like them? I have a great pototatoe and carrot recipe with lots of butter and onion to give flavor. kids love them. My sister in law shops at whole foods. Maybe you can find some unique ideas there. Good luck, if you want the recipe email me at [email protected]____.com.

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A.H.

answers from Detroit on

I liked the last response from the mom using the cookie cutters, but I try not to use the food coloring too much due to the added dyes.

Have you researched online or checked out alternative health food stores/ links ? I am not sure what is in Carob Chocolate, but you could research as this is a great substitute for the real thing and it is actually better for you.

You can also purchase ground powders (like rice and garbonzo, plus many others.) and other ingredients that may be more friendly on your child's system. An added benefit is you are giving your little one food that is not carrying extra chemicals from from the processed foods (extra hormones, calories and fat from all the packaged foods.).

You can also go to a nutritionist for advice.

Good Luck!

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