Planning your meals around food allergies is quite a task. There is no cookie cutter method. Some families are able to completely eliminate the offending foods without adversely affecting their budget. Others cannot. Often times the sheer number of offending foods is so great that there is seemingly no easy way to vary what you or your kiddos can have.
When we first began our food allergy journey, the only safe protein sources available to Maya were bison and fish. There was no way our family could afford to eat only bison or fish as our protein source every single day on our tiny budget. So I bought a big box of Tilapia, learned how to work with spices, and tried to give Maya the best variety I could. Some weeks it was salmon, cod, or ground bison. She had her special meal and we had our much cheaper meal. Later on Maya was allowed to eat turkey. I would buy a whole turkey, roast it, and divide it into just about a month’s worth of meals for her.
When we only had four things to avoid, meal planning was easier. All we had to avoid was chicken, dairy, eggs, and peas. When we had chicken, Maya would have her special alternate meal.
This is what a weeks worth of meals looked like for our family at that time:
- Spaghetti, without cheese
- Chili, without cheese
- Meatloaf, no milk or eggs
- B-B-Q Chicken
- Garlic Chicken, oven roasted
- Pork Chops
- Pork Roast
Check that out, seven meals, and no dairy or egg. That’s just the beginning! Now say one of your kiddos can’t have chicken. What do you do? Maybe they can’t have chicken, but they can have fish or pork. Substitute one of those for their piece of chicken and there you go, problem solved. So when you have Garlic Chicken, they have a Garlic Fish Fillet that was cooked similarly to the chicken but all by itself in a different pan.
Breakfasts and lunches are generally pretty simple and tend to stay the same. Oatmeal is one of our constants for breakfast while sandwiches and dinner leftovers rule lunch time. Sometimes I find the energy to be a little more creative for those two meals, but looking back at past menu plans, oatmeal reigns as the most frequent breakfast. We mix in lots of different things and prepare it different ways to spice things up a bit.
You can check out my Recipe Page if you need a little help figuring out what to cook! I only use easy to find ingredients to make things easier for all of us 🙂
Menu planning around food allergies can be as easy or complicated as you choose to make it. I choose simple.
What about you? Do you have any awesome menu planning tips you’d like to share?
Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely rest of your day!