Find ways to accommodate everyone. Mom Marnie Bimm creates a safe environment for her son Andrew, who has peanut and other allergies, by keeping the foods he’s allergic to out of the house and finding safe substitutions. “We make chocolate chip cookies from scratch with nut-free chocolate,” she says. And siblings can still enjoy their favorite foods that are off-limits at home. “My husband occasionally takes our older son out to eat Chinese food, since our son really enjoys it but we can’t bring it in the house.”
Connect with your food. Growing, cooking, or just shopping for food can help kids enjoy the things they’re able to eat. “We grow vegetables and fruit and keep dairy goats,” says Hope Hill, whose 9-year-old daughter, Anna Lane, is allergic to wheat, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts. “The kids really enjoy spending time in the garden and getting what’s fresh.”
Emphasize variety. Drew Breach is allergic to several vegetables, so his mom, Danielle, tries to prepare the ones he can eat in lots of different ways—like broccoli with cheese, or grilled broccoli, or broccoli that’s been marinated and sautéed. “When a child is limited to a few specific foods, it’s important to keep those foods interesting by switching up the way they’re prepared,” she says.