Food Allergy Life: How Your Family Can Help
For many living life with food allergies, navigating the family — holidays, milestone moments, vacation visits, Sunday dinner, overnights with the cousins — can be complicated. There's so much to know and the know-how isn't acquired in a heartbeat. Allergens can catch anyone off guard (food allergy parents, too!) despite best intentions and efforts.
Allergy Force guest author Katie Richards (Co-founder of the Food Allergy Mom blog ** and @thefoodallergymoms on IG) has two small children and has been a food allergy mom for four years. Her parents have been hugely supportive and actively seek out ways to keep both of Katie's kids safe.
Read and find out how Katie's mom, aka Grandma, has made her home a safe haven for her grandkids. With love.
I want to give a shout out to my parents because they’ve been BEYOND supportive of our family’s food allergy journey.
My parents are constantly asking me how they can support us and what they can do to make their house safe when we come for a visit.
My mom (a certifiable genius ❤️) got to work reorganizing her kitchen in order to make this happen.
Here are several things she did to make their home safer for our kids:
She stores allergens in containers out of reach in pantry (you can also put a lock on the pantry if this is a concern).
She scrubbed the inside of the pantry and cabinets to make sure no allergen residues were hiding out.
She bought new cookware and stores it in an allergy safe container (it’s important to remember to wash them with their own safe, designated dish sponge that's not used to clean anything else).
She created a “go” cabinet for our kids that contains only safe snacks. She even wrapped the cabinet handle with green felt so it’d be easy for the kids to see.
She regularly checks in with me to make sure the snacks she purchased are still safe before the kids visit.
She keeps a list of safe food brands our kids can eat and has posted it in the safe snack cabinet.
The fact that my mom & dad have been willing to walk with us on this journey has been nothing short of incredible. Honestly, it’s life giving.
This video gives you an actual peek at the cabinet my mom set up.
It’s the little things, you know, that remind you how much you’re loved, how much your kids are loved (though, in this case, what my mom did was actually a big deal for us!)
Please share this article with your families to give them ideas on how they can help you keep your loved ones safe. Even if the ask feels big, your relatives often just need some concrete suggestions on what to do to help to get started.
About the Author: Katie Richards lives in Colorado with her husband and two small children. They started their food allergy journey in 2018 when their daughter was diagnosed. Then in 2021 their youngest also developed a food allergy. When she met Lauren Miller, another food allergy mom, it was an answer to prayer and they became fast friends. Lauren had a brilliant idea to start a blog to support other food allergy families and invited Katie to join her. Together, they hope to encourage and uplift other parents walking this journey.
Images: Courtesy of Katie Richards
** Support Resource for You — By moms. For moms.
Katie and Lauren stepped into the world of food allergies when their kids were babies and suddenly everything they knew about anything to do with food was turned upside down. When they first got the food allergy diagnosis, they were at a loss on what to do, and the more they researched the more they felt like they were drowning in information. They both felt alone and unsure if they were doing anything right to keep their kids safe and avoid anaphylactic reactions.
Serendipity brought them together and they teamed up to serve as a resource for other moms on the same food allergy journey. They created their blog and Instagram page to organize what they've learned along the way and share with other families like theirs. Find support at www.foodallergymom.com from two moms who’ve been there.