This is a guest post from Jenny Shannon. We love sharing other people’s stories because it’s a great way for us (by us, we mean parents of kids with allergies, asthma, and eczema) to grow as a community, for others to learn about what we experience, and for awareness to increase so our kids are met with more support. As always, please check with your doctor before implementing ideas you see on Scratch or Sniff as we are not doctors, just your friends on the internet. :)
School bells have echoed in our neighborhood for the last time this past week. The next few months will be filled with various forms of trying to keep kids both cool and occupied: the library, the town pool and the play date carousel where a bunch of kids slam your screen door a million times on their way in/out of the yard. Whatever activities you have planned for your kiddos this summer, you can bet it will be full of occasions where food is involved. Because, well, food and summer are delightful partners, aren’t they?
We have a steadfast rule at our house when hosting: we make what everyone can eat. Food is our love language. We want everyone joining us at our table to feel the kind of special that involves being INCLUDED. That means we make sure there is nothing on the table that might cause someone to feel left out. After hosting both kids and adults alike with food allergies for many years, it’s become a bit second nature to us. I can see how it can seem daunting to some, however, knowing the great many allergies out there and so I thought I’d share with you some things we try to keep in mind when we’re preparing summer time snacks for our kid’s friends who always happen to be hungry when they get to your house.
I love acronyms. They simplify things that are otherwise too lengthy or too complicated to remember. Thus, the D.A.N.G. rule was born. We know that the major allergens (particularly for kids) are DAiry, Nuts and Gluten and so those are the categories we try to stay away from. (Of course, we always ask about any other known allergies and avoid those triggers as well).
Veggie platters are my go-to’s for serving a crowd- especially one filled with little people who like to eat with their hands. Homemade dips like hummus or black bean dip are easy to prepare and fit the allergen-free qualifications. Fruit Skewers are also fun for kiddos, served with a D.A.N.G. good lemony dip. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, socca is the perfect treat for food allergy sufferers- it has the texture and chew of bread and can be used in any way a pita or flat bread might be used but it’s made with chickpea flour. A middle eastern salad is also a perfect accompaniment to a snack table for kiddos as it’s simple, not overly-dressed and chopped in bite sized pieces full of kid friendly veggies like cucumbers and tomatoes.
Hopefully, with the food out of the way you can concentrate on more important matters. Like how to keep your kid from singing, “Let it Go” in the car. All summer long.
Jenny Shannon is an educator, writer, home cook, wife to Mr. Incredible and Mama to Ellie, age three. She’s allergic to personal trainers and skinny jeans. She also has a blog of her own! Check her out at The Shannon Family Table.