As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, people are anxiously preparing for any outcomes. For many, this means a panic-filled shopping spree for stocking up on all the essentials. However, for food allergy families, the process is a little different. Families with food allergies need to take brand and availability into account with every shopping trip. And with so many shelves being emptied so quickly, the fear of being left without allergy-friendly food is quickly growing.
Back to Basics
While being stuck at home for hours on end is in no way a treat, it is an opportunity. Without work, commuting, and any other daily distractions, we’re suddenly blessed with more time than usual. This extra time makes going back to basics a little easier. Cooking from scratch can be hard, time-consuming, and messy, but it can also be a fun activity to do with the kids and learn some new favorites. Stock up on the basics: fruit, veggies, meat, etc., and let your creativity take over.
Remember: Frozen vegetables have the same nutritional value as regular vegetables, and they last longer!
Try to stock up on foods that provide quick and easy protein fixes. Nut or seed butter tends to have much protein, loads of healthy fat, easily accessible, and long shelf life. Additionally, nut and seed butter make for great snack time treats for the kids and work really well in desserts. (Try homemade, allergy-friendly Reese’s cups!)
Oats are a great, versatile, and delicious allergy-friendly food. They can be made sweet for breakfast, savory for lunch, into a treat for snack time, or any number of other versions per your liking. Additionally, oats tend to have a pretty long shelf life, meaning you can buy a fairly large amount to last you all through quarantine and not have to worry about them going bad.
Canned foods are a perfect option when looking for something that will last a while. Plus, you won't even stick to the boring beans with so many different types of food out there. Try corn, green beans, fruit, mushrooms, or maybe tuna. Remember to check the labels for allergen information, but several options are fairly simple and allergy-friendly.
Snacks are Important Too
When there’s no school, work, playdates, or even outdoor time, the days can begin to feel excruciatingly long. Given this, snack time can be a really great way to break the day up. Having several fun and allergy-friendly snacks on hand can help keep your kids happy.
Try beef jerky for a long-lasting and popular allergy-friendly option. Popcorn and chocolate are both familiar comfort foods that are also allergy-friendly. And cut up fruit and vegetables are a delicious, allergy-friendly, and healthy snack time option.
Not to state the obvious, but if you can, try and stock up on any allergy-friendly foods you find while at the supermarket. You may be surprised to find a couple of loaves of gluten-free bread or some egg-free cookies hiding between the aisles. Keep in mind that most supermarkets are still open like usual, so if you hold out, you may find your favorite brands pop back up after some restocking.
In the internet age, we have been gifted the wonderful gift of online shopping. This means that you can get all your food shopping done without having to risk going to the supermarket, and two, that you may be able to find allergy-friendly food online. Sites like Amazon and eBay have several third-party sellers that may be able to sell you those sesame-free breadcrumbs you’ve been searching for.
Don’t forget your tea, coffee, milk, sweetener, or cream. These familiar drinks can provide a little comfort during a long day – even when they’re not from Starbucks. While many allergy-free kinds of milk tend to last longer than dairy milk, they still don’t have the same shelf life as powdered milk.
Remember to take all the necessary precautions while shopping. Gloves are a good option for some but always remember to wash and sanitize your hands before touching anything. Avoid touching your face! The face is one of the main ways the virus enters the body, and by touching it, you are making it easier for yourself to get sick. Additionally, remember to keep a safe distance from others while shopping and avoid overly crowded areas. Your safety and the safety of your family is your priority, so make sure always to be vigilant and mindful about your actions during this trying time.