Tag Archives: food allergies

Food allergies

I was thrilled to see these shirts for kids with allergies. It’s a brilliant concept and of course a mother came up with it. Brava!


Having my mother-in-law care for my son for the first 5 years of his life was such a gift, especially when we learned he had a dairy, egg, and nut aversion. I imagine how challenging and scarier this would have been if I didn’t have my mother-in-law attending allergist appointments, grocery shopping with me, and preparing avoidance diet meals for my son while he was in her care.

When I think about the times my son traveled with my mother-in-law and was with relatives who knew he had food allergies, but didn’t really understand what that meant – this shirt would have been super handy.

As soon as either of us said he had allergies, friends and relatives would ask about nuts and gluten. Yes, a lot of people are allergic to these items – but gluten wasn’t on my son’s list. People just weren’t clear in what he was avoiding – and this shirt would have been crystal clear and helped them pause before offering him any food or treats.

If you have a multigenerational event coming up and you have a little one (I’m thinking under age 7) with allergies, I think a shirt like this would give a parent (or grandparent) a bit of calm as the little one wonders about during the multigenerational festivities.

If you have allergies or a child with allergies – how do you educate friends and relatives about this?


French Kids Eat Everything

Have you heard about this book, French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters by Karen Le Billon? (Yes, mega long title.)

My mother-in-law and I had a field day about this topic and the author.

So…you have to be French in order for your kids not to be picky eaters?

We think not!

I’ve been parenting since 1999. My mother-in-law has been at it since 1973…and probably a bit earlier since she’s the oldest of 4 other siblings.

Even though we are both fascinated with the French language, French culture, and French cuisine – we do not think  the French parenting style is the only way to cure picky eating.

Here’s why…

We do not make food a big deal in our multigenerational nest. Even with my youngest following an avoidance diet due to his allergies – we don’t make eating dramatic, drawn out, or adversarial – between the grownups and the kids.

The two kids are involved in grocery  shopping, couponing, cookbook browsing, and cooking the meals. They see food as a way to be together with the family, nourish their bodies, travel to different countries (right at our dinner table) and try something different.

We have not had any issues about eating fruits and vegetables because our approach to food – overall – is about healthy eating.

I think back to last night’s dinner…the kids were arguing over who got to eat the last Brussels sprout. On a different night – the broccoli (or “trees” as my youngest calls it) was devoured so quickly, my mother-in-law realized she should have cooked more.

When my kids were able to move to solids, when they were babies, hubby made their baby food and it was vegetable based. There were no issues there – except the clean up of smooshed squash or smeared sweet potatoes (to name a few veggies).

When my oldest was about four-years-old, our family was invited to a dinner party. My friend called ahead and asked what she could prepare that was “kid friendly”. I promptly informed her we did not make separate meals for our daughter.

At the time we would take a portion of certain foods out of the batch so it wasn’t too spicy for her – but it was still the same meal.

My friend was surprised and shocked. She said she had been cooking specialized meals for her four kids, her husband, and herself for over 15 years.

I’m sorry, but I think that’s nuts, and I don’t have the time or patience to do that.

I think Karen Le Billon, the author, offers some good tips about helping kids develop a positive relationship with food – but she’s not saying anything earth shattering or new.

In all honestly, I think she learned more about her role in being in the parenting driver’s seat – in working with and raising her own children – than about picky eating and the French.

Parents should be the guides for their children, model healthy eating habits, and discuss ways to try out new things. I’m not sure why Karen Le Billon seemed so fascinated by this. It’s what parents, French or otherwise, do.

For our multigenerational nest, we have the following food expectations:

  • Select healthy snacks. (The fruit bowl, on our counter, is always full.)
  • Be gracious to the person who prepared the meal.
  • The food that is prepared is all that is available to eat.
  • Make sure the food items are “Kingston friendly”. (That’s for my son with the food allergies.)
  • Try a little of everything.

 How do you handle picky eating? As Karen Le Billon asserts, do you think the French are the go-to culture to cure picky eating?


The apple of grandma’s eye

Unfortunately we do not have an apple tree in our yard, but a few of our neighbors do. Score!

A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law and my there-year-old went on an apple picking adventure. (I know, too adorable.) I’m sure it was my son’s idea to take his mini-shopping cart along. Either way, it was fun to receive a few snapshots of their apple picking adventure on my phone. (The mobile phone paparazzi strikes again!)

Many of the desserts we make aren’t always dairy, egg, or nut free. We often modify recipes due to my son’s food allergies. Part of the reason my mother-in-law decided to make the apple tart was to bake something “allergy free”, and what else were we going to do with all those tasty apples?

In addition to baking, they worked on photography and apple counting skills. My son took that picture of his grandma cutting up the apples. Yes, they are a great team.

The apple tart was delicious and only lasted one night. More please!

(And of course, we used some of those apples to make an apple cake.)

Baker Baker

“Baker, baker, can you make a tasty apple treat?”

“Yes, I’ll make an apple crisp just for you to eat.”

“Baker, baker, roll the dough and place the apples in.”

“Then I’ll add some tasty nuts and bake it in a tin.”

“Baker, baker, when you finish this fine apple treat. It will be for me alone, just for me to eat!”

-poem source