When my son was first diagnosed with his peanut allergy several years ago, my mother asked me for the “grandmother’s list.”
“The what?”, I asked.
“The list of all the safe treats that I can give to my grandson; just give me the list so I don’t have to read labels”, she replied.
Boy, was I mad!
I was so grateful the communication exchange happened over email, so she didn’t see me stomping around like Mom-zilla with steam coming out of my ears. I was feeling frustrated that she didn’t want to read labels the few times a year we are together when I have to be a food detective and read multiple labels ON. A. DAILY. BASIS.
My first thoughts were, don’t you know:
- that food manufacturing practices change ALL the time making previously safe things unsafe, so we always need to be diligent with checking labels for changes.
- that I often have to call companies because they don’t all choose to list possible cross contamination risks.
- that if a magical list existed, allergy and non-allergy moms all over the world would be singing Kumbaya?
I simmered down and realized…she really doesn’t know these things. Most people don’t know these things. My husband and I know these things, because we were forced to become peanut allergy experts when our sweet baby boy was diagnosed with his allergy. Diagnosis day on, we have been governed by the peanut allergy during every meal we eat, each and every day.
I took a deep breath, picked up the phone and instead of feeling frustrated with her I shared information with her. I gave her information on the challenges of the allergy and why I can’t realistically offer her a list that could be relied on to be safe all the time. We came to a compromise that she would not bring food or candy as a gift…ever.
My mother is still a work in progress when it comes to learning about our son’s allergy, so imagine my delight when I discovered there is a list now!
An allergy parent team at snacksafely.com has created a website that offers (and continually updates) a SAFE SNACK GUIDE.
I am very happy about this list because my mom is not the only one that has asked me, “what can I bring that is safe?” I get a LOT of questions about what foods are safe for play dates, sporting events and birthday parties too. I think this serves as a great go-to list for friends and family that are trying to keep things safe when we are all together.
We will, as allergy parents, still check the labels and make phone calls regarding manufacturing procedures and changes. We can’t help it. It’s how our world works. We do it to check for safety, but we also do it to teach our son how to keep himself safe. And let me just tell you…we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE reading labels that are safe. So bring them on!
Snack Safely’s warning statement
“Even though a great deal of time is invested researching and keeping the Guide up to date, never rely upon it as a sole resource for protecting a child with food allergies. Always read the label before purchasing a product because manufacturers may change their ingredients and processes at any time. Your use of the Safe Snack Guide means that you have read and understand the disclaimers and warnings on the front page and agree to the Terms of Service. It is always up to the parent or guardian to consult with the manufacturer and make the final determination that a snack is safe for their child!”
Happy, Healthy Eating!