Vegan and Allergy Friendly Foods
Following on from my live Insta chat with the gorgeous Nicola (that's me :D - Ed.), I wanted to put together a list of foods that I have found that are free from major allergens (I'll highlight any 'common’ ones there are). I'm also going to share a couple of recipes that I have baked for non-vegan, non-gluten-free and non-allergy humans which seem to have gone down well! If anyone ever has any questions please feel free to drop me a message and ask. Luna's intolerance/allergies are milk, eggs, soya and wheat. Both her dad and I are veggies and had made the decision to raise her the same way. I'm totally open though to let her try anything she wants when she's old enough to make that decision.
Surprisingly hard to find as most gluten free bread has egg in it. So we use BFree. Their brown loaf, while a slightly eye watering £3 for a small loaf; tastes pretty good toasted and fills small tummies. They also do wraps, pitta breads and pizza bases which get the thumbs up from me too. Tescos bagels are also free from major allergens. In their freezer section they have garlic bread baguette and dough balls that are scrummy.
So with no soya for Luna, we tend to use almond milk. Oat milk is also a good shout. Personally I prefer a sweeter one as I only use it on my cereal! The Oatly fresh custard is immense. It is so tasty, you would struggle to tell the difference. Big Tesco branches stock it.
Bribery is a fairly solid parenting tactic, but becomes harder when the snacks aren’t readily available and are so expensive. However Moo do a range of chocolate that is tasty, packaged and designed for kids and most importantly for us, contains no soya. Almost all dairy free chocolate does. If soya isn't an issue, you have lots of options. Moo is double the price of regular chocolate, but for a treat it's great. It's also a great distraction when everyone else is eating cake when we are out and Luna doesn't get why she can't have some.
Sainsbury's own, (not Tesco’s - they have pesky egg in them) jam tarts are vegan and gluten free. They do however contain almonds, so nut allergies beware. Tesco little flapjack slices are free from, but I don't buy them too often as the amount of plastic makes me sad! Deliciously Ella has just bought out a range of bars that are really good and have fruit hidden in them too.
Protein, calcium.. (insert any other food group people worry Luna is deficient in)
Hummus is the answer to all my food prayers! It is high in calcium thanks to the tahini, which FYI mixed with lemon juice makes a lovely salad dressing. Chickpeas for protein and oil for healthier fats. It is easy to take out with us, almost anything can be dipped in it, and generally speaking, it is stocked in most shops. Luna also takes a multivitamin from Holland & Barrett's that's designed for kids. She thinks she has a sweet every morning! Luna isn't a great eater and as such she has a specialist formula from the hospital that has all of her requirements taken care of, but I try and get all the necessary nutrients in her diet as much as possible.
Places to Eat
Eating out can be tricky. Finding a lovely coffee shop (I'm looking at you Applaud in Ipswich) who let you take your own food in is great. Getting to know the staff as well makes life so much easier as they can recommend Luna-friendly options too! Chain restaurants wise, Zizzi is pretty great. Large selection, separate kids menu, with allergy alterations clearly listed, vegan, gluten free, veggie menus all readily available. They even do free from ice cream and Luna's face when it came to the table with everyone else's pudding was a picture!
I tend to shop at both Sainsbury's and Tesco as they each do different ‘free from’ ranges. Between stocking up on Luna food, I go to Aldi for our veg and cupboard staples. Ethical Superstore are also a great website for stocking up on essentials and you can search by dietary requirement. I try and get Luna as involved in food shopping as I can, because I want her to have a positive relationship with food and not see it as restrictive. So we bake together and have started cooking meals together too to encourage this and try to persuade her to actual try my cooking!
Now Luna is nearly 3, there are more and more friends parties to go to. I give her as much from the table as I can, fruit and veg sticks mainly and I make sure I have my own selection of food I can add to her plate. Her birthday will be much the same. It will all be veggie, but I will have 'regular’ pizza for the other kids as Luna's food tastes so different to what they are used to. The cake however will be all allergy free! This is Luna on her second birthday with her cake. The full recipe can be found here.
Hopefully I have covered the main food replacements I get asked about regularly from friends and family, as well as online! If you are looking for any specific ideas, or know of any amazing products, please hit me up! Frankie x