How to Use Cooking to Help Manage Food Allergies

Recognizing March as National Nutrition Month, this guest post by Teen Advisory Group (TAG) member and cookbook author Catherine Walker encourages food allergy patients and families to get creative in the kitchen with wholesome, allergy-friendly meals. You can hear more from Catherine in this month’s FARE+Well newsletter.

Cooking is a great way to manage all types of food allergies. Cooking at home lets you prepare anything according to your food needs, so you can use ingredients that are familiar to you. Cooking at home helps keep you safe, and you can learn to be creative with ingredients to make beautiful meals. Eating out at restaurants can be hard, but you can make restaurant-quality meals using recipes from cookbooks, online resources, or family.

Nowadays so many people have food allergies that the demand for allergy-friendly recipes is high. There are many online resources and allergy friendly cookbooks that can be very useful. For recipes that have allergens in them, you can use substitutions to adapt a recipe to fit your needs. For example, substituting water or applesauce for eggs, dairy-free oil or coconut-based cheese for cheese, and coarse ground cornmeal for breadcrumbs. There are some recipes that don’t need substituting because the ingredients are all whole foods.

Whole foods are my favorite for cooking because they are allergy friendly most of the time and make the healthiest dishes. Whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables and local proteins are found in most grocery stores and can be made into delicious, allergy-friendly meals that are incredibly nutritious. In addition to shopping at local grocery stores, my favorite places to buy whole foods are specialty food stores and farmers markets. Depending on your allergies, recipes from certain cuisines are easier to adapt to be allergy-friendly. Cuisines based on whole foods are the best recipes to cook because you won’t have to substitute ingredients as often.

Like I mentioned above, cookbooks and online resources are the best places to find allergy-friendly recipes. I am a published author of an allergy friendly cookbook with recipes that are all free of milk, egg, peanut, and tree nuts. My book is called Cook It Up: Delicious Recipes for Healthy Cooking. My recipes from different cuisines all use whole ingredients. I have my own online recipe blog where I post recipes, too: I really want to provide allergy-friendly recipes that are simple and healthy for people to cook at home. Cooking is a big part of my life and I want to share it with other people with allergies.

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