Safe Food

There is no cure for food allergy. Strict avoidance of the allergy-causing food is the only way to prevent a reaction. Managing your child's food in and out of the home is your foundation. Build it with bricks! It is critical to become knowledgeable about the allergen and the many places it can be found. Educate your child and her caregivers on safe and not safe foods.

1. Ingredients to Avoid

Peanut Free Diet
Avoid foods with these ingredients:

  • Beer nuts
  • Cold pressed peanut oil
  • Ground nuts
  • Mixed nuts
  • Nu-nuts flavored nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanut flour
  • Peanut oil
  • Baked goods (pastries, cookies, etc.)
  • Candy
  • Nothin' Nutty, Assorted Candies with a "good" rating
  • Chili
  • Chocolate (candies and candy bars)
  • Egg rolls
  • Flavored nuts
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Marzipan
  • Nougat
  • Soups
  • These foods may indicate the presence of peanut protein: African, Chinese, Thai, and Indonesian dishes (avoid these restaurants)

    Note: Studies show that most allergic individuals can safely eat peanut oil (not cold pressed peanut oil). Due to cross reactivity, it is best to avoid all tree nuts in addition to all peanut protein products. Source: The Food Allergy Network,

Tree Nut Free Diet
Avoid foods with these ingredients:

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Chestnuts
  • Filbert/hazelnuts
  • Gianduja (a creamy mixture of chocolate and chopped toasted nuts found in premium or imported chocolate)
  • Hickory nuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Marzipan/almond paste
  • Nougat
  • Nu-nuts® artificial nuts
  • Nut butters (almond, cashew)
  • Nut oil
  • Nut paste (almond paste)
  • Pecans (Mashuga nuts)
  • Pine nuts (pinyon nuts)
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts

    Note: Artificial nuts can be peanuts that have been de-flavored and re-flavored, like pecan or walnut. Filberts are also hazelnuts. Avoid natural extracts such as pure almond extract and use imitation or artificial flavored extracts instead. Tree nuts have been used in many foods including barbeque sauces, cereals, crackers, and ice cream. Source: The Food Allergy Network,

Wheat Free Diet
Avoid foods with these ingredients:

  • Bran
  • Bread crumbs
  • Bulgur
  • Cereal extract
  • Couscous
  • Cracker meal
  • Durum, durum flour
  • Enriched flour
  • Farina
  • Gluten
  • Graham flour
  • High gluten flour
  • High protein flour
  • Seitan
  • Semolina
  • Soft wheat flour
  • Spelt
  • Vital gluten
  • Wheat (bran, germ, gluten, malt, starch)
  • Whole wheat berries
  • Whole wheat flour

These foods may contain wheat products:

  • Gelatinized starch
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Modified food starch
  • Modified starch
  • Natural flavoring
  • Soy sauce
  • Starch
  • Vegetable gum
  • Vegetable starch

Foods that do not contain wheat products:

  • Fresh canned and frozen fruits and vegetables without sauces, batters, or thickeners
  • Fresh meats, poultry, fish and eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Grains and flours (rye, rice, oats, barley, buckwheat, soy, corn potato, amaranth)
  • Legumes
  • Gelatin, pudding, unflavored potato and corn chips, popcorn, ice cream and rice cakes

Flour exchange: 1 cup wheat
= 1 cup oat flour
     = 1 1/4 cup rye flour
     = 5/8 cup potato starch flour
     = 7/8 cup rice flour
     = 1/2 cup barley flour
     = 3/4 cup corn meal coarse

Thickening exchange: 1tbsp wheat flour
     = 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
     = 1/2 tbsp potato starch flour
     = 2 tsp quick tapioca

Crush corn cereal (Corn Flakes®) to make “bread crumbs”

Source: The Food Allergy Network,

Egg Free Diet
Avoid foods with these ingredients:

  • Albumin
  • Egg (white, yolk, dried, powdered, solids)
  • Egg substitutes
  • Eggnog
  • Globulin
  • Livetin
  • Lysozyme (used in Europe)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Meringue
  • Ovalbumin
  • Ovomucin
  • Ovomucoid
  • Ovovitelin
  • Simplesse®

Note: A shiny glaze or yellow baked goods usually indicate the presence of eggs

Foods that DO NOT contain egg products:

  • Fruits and vegetables (without sauces, dressings, batters)
  • Crackers, potato chips, cereal, pretzels
  • Grains, beans, peas, nuts, breads, rolls, English muffins
  • Dairy products-milk, yogurt, cheese

To use egg substitutes for cooking, you can substitute one of the following per egg in the recipe:
     = 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp liquid, 1 tbsp vinegar
     = 1 tsp yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
     = 1 tbsp of apricot puree
     = 1 1/2 tbsp water, 1 1/2 tbsp oil, 1 tsp baking powder
     = 1 packet plain gelatin, 2 tbsp warm water. Do not mix until ready to use.

Source: The Food Allergy Network,

2. Food Precautions1

Always check labels carefully every time.

“Peanuts” are also know as “Groundnuts” in many countries (i.e. Asia and UK). They are also sometimes know as “Beer Nuts” or “Monkey Nuts.”

One in four with a peanut allergy will also have an allergy to another type of nut. Avoid all nuts.

Nuts or peanuts picked out of or off food can leave dangerous trace amounts for the person with allergies.

1 “Peanut Allergy,” Allergy Unit, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Australia, Velencia Soutter, Anne Swain, Robert Loblay, 2002

3. Grocery Shopping Tips

The most important tip for grocery shopping is to read ingredient listings carefully. This process takes time, plan to leave your children at home so you can concentrate on reading the ingredient information.

  • Learn the scientific and techanical names for foods. For example, rennet casein and sodium caseinates are milk by-products (see ingredients on food labels).
  • Read the labels on all foods. Do not assume a product will always be safe; ingredients change without warning. Read all labels each time you shop.
  • Most labels contain allergen information about the facility. Read carefully, “Manufactured in a facility that uses peanuts.”
  • Avoid buying a food unless you know the definition of each label ingredient.
  • Ask your child's doctor which cooking oils are safe to use. Most oils are considered safe for people with food allergies because the protein is removed during the manufacturing process. However, cold presses or expeller pressed oil is the exception and should be avoided.


  • “Non-dairy” products, such as Cool Whip® or Carnation Non-Dairy Creamer® contain casein.
  • Natural or artifical flavors: these are often catch-all phrases for trace amounts of a variety of ingredients. If you cannot avoid products with natural or artifical flavors, call the manufacturer and ask about these ingredients.
  • Processed foods. The more processed the food, the more likely it may contain a hidden ingredient that can cause a reaction. Buy foods that are close to their natural state.


  • Bulk food bins
  • Deli meats
  • Foods without ingredient listings or imported foods with foreign language ingredient listings. Do not buy or eat any food if the ingredients are not listed on a package, or if you cannot be absolutely sure you know what an ingredient word means. Keep in mind that foreign manufacturers may not use the same standards as local manufacturers.

*portions of this are excerpt from “Getting Started with Food Allergies”: A guide for Parents, by S. Allan Bock, M.D. and Anne Munoz-Furlong (FAAN)

4. Eating Out Tips

Having a child with food allergies does not mean you can never eat out again. However, it will require some planning.

  • Avoid risky restaurants.
  • If you are ordering from a menu, choose simply prepared foods such as baked poratoes, steamed vegetables or broiled meat.
  • Avoid sauces and toppings; talk to the chef, if necessary.
  • If in doubt, bring your child's food with you, so she can safely enjoy the social aspects of eating out.
  • If you're planning to eat at a friend's house, offer to bring your child's food, and let the person know what foods must be avoided.


  • Peanuts or peanut butter are sometimes used in spaghetti sauce, gravy and pie crusts; butter is often used to add flavor to steamed vegetables or broiled meats. Ask questions about how the food is prepared.
  • Food fried at a restaurant may present a high risk. For example, if the oil used to fry fish is reused to fry other food, the protein from the fish will contaminate the oil and all other foods fried with this oil.
  • Muffins and many desserts often contain nuts or other ingredients you may not suspect; be careful when eating them or avoid them to be safe.

  • 5. 5-Star Recipes

    Allergen-free, Gluten-free Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Grilled Chicken, and Pesto

    This recipe reprinted courtesy of LIME
    by Cybele Pascal

    Summer is the season for tomatoes and basil! But with pesto usually off-limits for people with food allergies—it traditionally contains tree nuts and dairy—I set about creating an allergen-free version of the original. The sweet and tangy roasted cherry tomatoes are the perfect compliment to the earthy flavor of the basil and the smokiness of the grilled chicken. Upon tasting this recipe, my 4 1/2 year-old son, Lennon (who has food allergies) even asked, "Can I have this pasta for lunch every day?" There is no greater compliment.

    1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
    1 clove garlic
    1 cup tightly packed fresh basil
    3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1/4 tsp. kosher salt
    1/4 cup gluten-free bread-crumbs (I like Orgran, made from rice)

    Roasted Tomatoes:
    1 lb. cherry tomatoes
    2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
    kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

    1 lb. chicken breast (if you're short on time, buy it pre-grilled)
    extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
    kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
    1 lb. rice or corn-quinoa penne or spirals or shells
    6-8 large basil leaves to garnish

    Roast the pumpkin seeds by heating a heavy skillet over high heat, adding seeds and shaking pan until they turn a lovely golden color.They will puff and make a popping sound as you do this. Remove from pan and let cool to room temperature. Put pumpkin seeds in food processor and grind into fine meal. Add garlic and puree. Add basil, and blend until finely chopped. Pour in extra virgin olive oil, a little at a time, until pesto is nice and smooth. Add salt and gluten-free bread crumbs. Combine thoroughly and set aside. (This can be made in advance. Makes 1 heaping cup.)

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking tray with aluminum foil, scatter tomatoes on it, drizzle with 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss till all the tomatoes are coated. Roast until tomatoes collapse in on themselves, about 30 minutes (it will be less if the tomatoes are the really tiny).

    Put water on to boil, and cook pasta according to instructions on packet.
    Pound the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap with a meat mallet till it is 1/2 inch thick. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill over high heat, about 3 minutes per side. Dice into 1 inch pieces.

    Remove from tomatoes from oven and let sit. (This step can be done in advance, but make sure tomatoes are at least room temperature before serving.)

    Drain pasta and toss with olive oil to coat in a large pasta bowl. Add the pesto and chicken. Toss. Add the roasted tomatoes and gently toss one more time. Scatter 6-8 basil leaves over top. Serves 8.

    Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

    From Terri Mauro,
    Your Guide to Parenting Special Needs FREE Newsletter. Sign Up Now!
    by Jill Robbins

    [From The Gak’s Snacks Allergy Cookbook: Baked Treats for All Occasions by Jill Robbins. For baked goods, and information about Gak’s Snacks, please visit]

    Like all the recipes in The Gak's Snacks Allergy Cookbook, these cookies have no peanuts, no tree nuts, no eggs, no wheat*, and no dairy.

    Makes a dozen large cookies

    Dry Ingredients:
    1-1/4 c oat flakes (old fashioned)
    1 c oat flour
    1/2 c sugar
    1/3 c brown sugar (tightly packed)
    1 Tbsp tapioca starch
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp cream of tartar
    1/2 tsp salt

    Wet Ingredients:
    1/2 c canola (or safflower) oil
    2 Tbsp apple sauce
    2 Tbsp water
    1 Tbsp maple syrup (preferably grade B)
    1 Tbsp molasses
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    Additional Ingredients:
    1/2 c raisins (small size)


    1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Oil large cookie sheet.
    2. Mix dry ingredients with fork. Add raisins, mix, and set aside.
    3. Put wet ingredients into a bowl. Beat with a fork until smooth.
    4. Pour wet into dry, and fold two or three times. Gradually add raisins while continuing to fold until just mixed.
    5. These can be baked right away or chilled first. (Chilled will produce a slightly softer cookie.)
    6. Use a large spoon to scoop portions onto cookie sheet, leaving the shape as a round, high mound. Bake 15-16 minutes (add a minute if refrigerated first) or until edges of cookies are starting to lightly brown. Place cookie sheet on cooling rack for 5 minutes. Then transfer cookies to cookie rack to cool the rest of the way.

    * For those who cannot have traces of wheat, please note that this recipe does use oats, which can contain traces of wheat.

    Chocolate Mousse Pie

    21 Chocolate O's cookies (from Glutano)
    1/2 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature

    12 oz. semisweet chocolate finely chopped
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    pinch of salt
    3 3/4 cups chilled whipping cream
    1/4 sugar


    For Crust: Preheat over to 350? Butter 9 inch diameter springform pan. Finely grind cookies in processor. Add butter and process until the mixture is evenly moistened. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of pan to form thin crust. Bake 5 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely.

    For Mousse: Combine chocolate, vanilla and salt in processor. Bring 1 cup cream to boil in heavy small saucepan. Gradually pour hot cream through feed tube and process until chocolate is melted and smooth. Transfer mixture to large bowl, stir occasionally, cool to room temp.

    Beat 2 cups cream and sugar in large bowl to still peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture. Pour mousse into prepared crust. Chill until set, about 6 hours. Can be prepared one day ahead.

    Use the remaining cream for decorating.

    Carrot Ginger Soup

    2 lbs carrots
    2 granny smith (green) apples
    2 onions
    1 horn of ginger
    5 cups chicken broth
    1 stick butter
    salt and pepper


    Cut carrots, apples, onions and ginger to one inch pieces. Melt butter in saucepan, and sautee onions until translucent (about ten minutes). Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender. Salt and pepper. Let cool. Puree (food processor)