CAN YOU SPOT THE ODD ONE OUT – ONE OF THE ABOVE DOESN’T BELONG..
This year, I only made ONE shopping stop to get our egg, dairy, peanut and nut free Halloween snacks.
Rampant Covid-19 cases mushrooming up everywhere has made it risky to run around looking for allergen friendly snacks. I was therefore elated to find an extensive selection of halloween snacks and sweets in Don Don Donki during my weekly grocery run.
This elation fast became a developing migraine from squinting at ingredient listing printed in a font size that makes ants look like giants.
The Joys of finding a safe snack, and the mistakes all allergy parents
You know the feeling you get when you checking lottery tickets against the winning numbers? Finding allergen friendly snacks that fits our criteria of being egg, dairy and peanut free feels exactly like that. The body feels a rush of endorphins when an ingredient listing is clear of our little one’s allergens. My face lights up as I let out a ‘yes!’. Anyway, in my flurry of excitement, coupled with the godforsaken font size which should be illegal, I also picked up a snack that contained cheese and cream powder.
Read on to find out which ones I bought are safe for egg, dairy and peanut allergies, and also one boo boo I made which I thankfully manage to catch in time before giving to my son.
This happens to the best of us, even to the most conscientious allergy parents.
Include are also some pro tips that builds in a few layers of checks balances to ensure an enjoyable holiday party without heart stopping allergic reactions.
House Pointed Corn Roasted corn grits snack
They fit over tiny toddler fingers like the long fingernails of vampires and witches. Yummy and fun!
Pro tip 1: when your food allergic child is trying a snack for the very first time, start with a small piece and have a timer handy set to 5 minutes (or longer to be conservative). This is good practise as it teaches your toddler to wait a period of time after trying a new snack just to be sure there is no reactions.
There are multiple flavours for this brand of corn grits snacks. The one pictured here is SAFE and void of egg, dairy and peanuts. But, there is one with butter flavouring which I also bought by mistake. Corey told me it smelled different from the other packaging so I checked. Luckily ,he noticed this as to my horror there is one packaging with butter flavour.
Pro tip 2: keep training your toddlers to be aware by reading labels together. Slow down when eating (especially processed foods and snacks) Have your child describe tastes, textures and whether the food makes them feel funny. Obsviouly this practise only works on older kids. So for the highly allergic babies, its best to avoid processed foods altogether till an age where they can describe discomfort.
Meiji konjac Jelly
These are really fun and cute! Safe for dairy, egg and peanut allergic kids.
Meiji Fruit Gummies
Similar ingredients to the Meiji Konjac jellies, these are safe and free of dairy, egg and peanut. I love the grape and orange slice shape of these gummies!
Befco rice crackers – NOT DAIRY FREE
Rice crackers are common snacks parents choose for diary and egg allergic kids. Look at the picture on the right, they look so innocent. But ONE of them contains cheese or cream powder, which one can kill my son? Throwing a dart as your guess is as good as mine, the plastic wrapper for each individual cracker has no ingredients.
On hindsight here are the tips I picked up from this lesson. I am thankful I caught this one in time before even allowing him to try.
A few tips on label reading and being kind to myself…
1. Take photos of ingredients and zoom in to enlarge.
Font sizes smaller than 6 should be made illegal, period. #SFA are you reading this? We are killing our seniors and adults. Heck even youngsters with perfect vision would struggle to read the following label that’s printed so small I’m surprised there is a printer able to do it. I blew this up for everyone’s benefit, the actual label is the size of a credit card. Imagine all these ingrdients printed into that small a space, it’s incredulous.
2. Avoid processed foods that contain too many ingredients
Modern food manufacturing means today’s processed foods are filled with too many things. Consumers just aren’t able to make informed decisions and sometimes, we just accept their presence. For normal people it easy to overlook these details if they do not have food allergies. But for food allergic families we don’t have a choice as our child’s allergens could be hidden within which could potentially cause a life threatening reaction.
on hindsight, the label itself should have been a red flag that its just not worth the effort of even taking the photo to blow up and read. So not to self, if its too difficult to read, too many things within, just move on as there are always alternatives.
3. Never take labels for granted, even familiar products and keep checking
For those highly food allergic, practise of label reading has to be literally ingrained into our soul. Even as careful as I deem myself to be, mistake will always be a possibility.
Teach all your kids to have the same vigilance. Nag your closest family members to do the same. The fact that these allergens are so abound in all processed food products is not something we can control.
What we can control is to keep reminding each other to keep checking.
4. Be kind to yourself and keep working at building a balance and check habit
Mistakes happen to the best of us. The important point is we can’t wallow if our children’s safety is at stake. Yes I feel guilty EVERY time my son has a reaction, whether it was my fault or not. Maybe that’s a mother’s inbuilt instinct of wanting to protect their young. I always allow myself a time out when I’m in this mood. After that move on and keep practising label reading with EVERYONE who interacts with my allergic child.
Have a safe Halloweens and check back for how our party went!
Hope you have found some useful tips in choosing allergen friendly halloween’s treats.
You can check out last year’s allergen friendly halloween snacks list here.
I’ve stocked up enough SAFE treats to entertain my 2 boys plus their allowed 2 guests for this weekends mini scavenger hunt.
Check back to see how our Spooky Scavenger Hunt Sheet 👻🎃😉