Food Allergy Awareness Week // Think Before You Eat


I’m an adult with food allergies.  This is what I’ve known my whole life.  So while the way I eat and manage food for my family may look very different to a lot of people, it’s what I’ve learned over the years that I need to do to keep myself healthy.  When I was a kid in school I was the only one who had allergies.  That was back in the day when parents could bring in any food, teachers could give out candy, and schools could serve anything.  I had a lot of reactions during those years.  I have learned the hard way how to be cautious.  As a Registered Dietitian I always enjoyed helping patients with food allergies learn the best way to have a healthy, safe, and well-rounded diet.  So many kids have food allergies these days that it’s become important for everyone to be aware of them.

It’s Food Allergy Awareness Week, so it’s the perfect time to talk about food allergies.  And where better than a mom’s blog.


Graph Source: FARE

Food Allergy Research and Education is a fantastic place to find out information about food allergies.  This has been one of my very favorite resources for many years.  The resources they offer are fantastic!  Here you can find tools to help when going to school, eating out, how to educate family members and those around you about new allergies.

Here are a few thoughts from someone with food allergies:

—  I’m not missing out on anything.  Peanut butter may be your favorite thing in the world but I’m not sad I can’t eat it.

—  Waving your candy bar with nuts in it in front of someone’s face who is allergic to it and saying “Does this bother you?  How about this?”  is not helpful nor supportive.

—  I always feel really badly about inconveniencing people who have to work around my allergies.  Having people around me who are supportive and want to have the foods I can have makes me feel much better.

—  I know that it takes a lot of effort to work around my allergies, and I really appreciate it when people do.

—  Don’t be offended if I don’t eat your food.  It’s not personal — I’m just really picky and very careful about what I eat.

—  The things I do to shop for food, eat at restaurants or peoples’ houses may seem thorough, but it’s what works for me.

Now that I have children of my own, my food allergies are taking on a whole new dynamic as I have to learn how to handle new situations.  Things are always changing and with food allergies it’s always important to stay alert and pay attention.

Do you or your children have food allergies? How do you handle it? What are some of your tips?  I would love to hear!  


  1. My middle son has sensitivities to some chemicals in food, particularly those in the red dye family. Class parties have been a nightmare from the get-go because we have yet to have a teacher who refuses to allow allergens in the classroom. We were lucky because consuming red dye just kept my son from sleeping and sometimes affected behavior. I felt bad for the kids the kids who were severely allergic to nuts and had to figure out if the food brought to class would kill ’em.

    My biggest tip for parents of kids with food allergies is to send snacks to class with them that the teacher or school nurse can store and bring out at party time. That was the best way to ensure he at least had something to eat.

    • That is a great tip! Sounds like a challenging year without support from his teacher. My son has problems with red dye, too. That is new to me, so maybe you could teach me more about it.

  2. These are great tips! My mom has to eat a gluten free diet and she as well is very cautious at restaurants and only shops at certain grocery stores. I love that your job is a dietician! Such a great fit!

  3. Hi. I’m the mother of a preteen with severe (ana) food allergies. We will be moving to Knoxville this summer… Still looking for a house and middle school. What is the atmosphere there for kids with food allergies? Awareness? Doctors? School policies? Resources? Grocery stores with allwrgy free offerings?
    I know we’ll discover many wonderful resources as well as roadblocks… and anticipate the need to educate and advocate. But I alao know I never want to have to administer that epi-pen, make that call to 911, or hold a listless little body in my arms while we wait for medical help. As a mom my number one priority is to keep my child safe. A close second is to keep my child included. Any feedback from you or your readers is GREATLY appreciated.
    Thank you for raising awareness!
    – Darcy

    • Hi Darcy! Welcome to Knoxville! I think you and your family will love it and will find that there are many wonderful things here. The allergy atmosphere here is pretty good. The Allergy Asthma and Sinus Center is great and they do a lot for the community regarding allergies. I have a fantastic allergist who I have been seeing since I was 2! In a couple of weeks we are going to see the minor league baseball team play because it’s peanut free night. Things like that are great and very encouraging for those of us with allergies. There are many grocery stores here that offer allergy free foods — I think you will be pleased with what you are able to find. I love your statement that you want to keep your child safe and also included. I would love to talk with you in more detail about this. Please feel free to email me at [email protected] if you want to talk more! Good luck with your move.

      • Thanks Lauren.. very much! I did just reach out to FACET (Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee) too. Thanks for the tip re: AA&SC! We’re looking at middles schools and houses still. If you don’t mind I WILL take you up on you offer to email, once we figure out where middle school and house. Again thanks for raising awareness. 🙂
        – Darcy

        • Oh good! So glad! Yes, please do email me! I’d love to hear from you. Good luck on the house hunt. You can’t go wrong with schools around here 🙂 I see Dr. Springer at the Allergy Asthma and Sinus Center. He’s in Farragut and is just fantastic. In fact, now I take my son to him, too. I will look forward to hearing from you. Take care!

  4. I’m so thankful we have food intolerances/sensitivities and not true allergies in my family so we don’t have to worry about life threatening complications. However, we still must eliminate these foods from our diet. I’ve recently discovered I have an intolerance to corn. My 4 yr old has a sensitivity to any artificial food dyes, although red is the worst (cause behavioral problems). My 1.5 yr old has an issue with cow dairy. We do great when we eat out at the same places and at home. However, I’m really struggling with how to deal with the movies, other kid’s birthday party, situations where innocent lollipops are handed out (swim lesson, dr office, etc). Any tips? Is it ok to bring our own treats/snacks?


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