Why It’s Important for Kids With Food Allergies to Learn How to Cook

 

By: KFA Food Bloggers

Kids With Food Allergies thanks So Delicious® Dairy Free for sponsoring this blog post.

Learning to cook and bake is a basic life skill for kids, and even more important for kids with food allergies. It helps them learn about their food allergies and empowers them to make safe and allergy-friendly choices. 

Get kids involved from the start by choosing kid-friendly recipes together to make them feel included. While some recipes may already be allergen-free and safe for your child, others may not be.

Review the recipe together and use the opportunity to talk about:

  • Whether the recipe calls for ingredients that include food allergens
  • What substitutions are needed to make the recipe allergen-free and safe

If you need some guidance, be sure to check out our resources to learn how to make recipe substitutions for common allergens.


Learn more about So Delicious Dairy Free frozen desserts and toppings [ad]

Learning how to choose safe products is an important skill. Encourage kids to help make the grocery list and do the shopping. Engage and teach them about reading labels. As kids get older, talk with them about the hidden names for allergens in products as well.

When arriving home with groceries, it’s important to show kids how to store items in the kitchen safely, especially if other unsafe foods are in the kitchen. Designate shelves or cabinets for storing safe foods.

Before cooking or baking, review a few important safety tips to avoid cross-contact with allergens. Safety tips include:

  • Wash hands with soap and water before touching safe foods
  • Clean countertops before and after cooking
  • Use different utensils to prepare safe foods
  • Place utensils, plates and cutting boards directly into the sink or the dishwasher immediately after use

Depending on age, there are different tasks that kids may help with. Start with simple tasks and build on them over time to help kids become more confident in the kitchen. Adults should help with things that involve heat (e.g. stovetop, putting in/taking out of oven) or knives until kids are older.

Preschoolers can handle small tasks:

  • Measuring liquid and dry ingredients
  • Stirring batter in a bowl
  • Cutting soft fruits and vegetables (a plastic knife is a great kitchen tool at this age)
  • Using cookie cutters
  • Washing fruits and vegetables

When kids are a little older, reading the recipe is a great way to help increase their communication skills. Young cooks can help with peeling fruits and vegetables, using a can opener and a hand mixer. Tasks to include as well are mixing tougher dough by hand and learning to use a rolling pin.

Preteens may feel more comfortable preparing simple recipes and meals with little supervision. They’re able to put foods into the oven and remove them, work with timers and thermometers and use a food processor and blender. The introduction of adult knives and use of the stove will depend on your child’s skill level. Give close supervision at all times.

Teenagers may feel comfortable using all kitchen appliances with less supervision. They can work on more complicated dishes and experiment with making their own changes and additions to recipes. Encourage teens to figure things out for themselves, as long as an adult is available for help and guidance along the way.

Try not to stress about the mess in your kitchen. Get kids involved in the clean-up process too.

Starting with a simple recipe is a great way to introduce these tasks to kids. Even no-bake recipes like these Sunflower and Chocolate Cookie CocoWhip Shooters, can be fun to make and teach kids the basics. In this recipe, kids can help with the mixing, layering and scooping ~ as well as enjoying the tasty allergy-friendly treat after it is complete!

sunbutter-and-chocolate-cookie-shooters

Sunflower and Chocolate Cookie CocoWhip Shooters

Makes 12 shooters 
Recipe Created By: Teddy Bryant

Ingredients 

1 – 9 oz. container So Delicious® Dairy Free CocoWhip Original (or Lite) Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert Topping, thawed

1/4 cup sunflower seed butter

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup mini vegan chocolate chips

1 box soft chocolate brownie cookies - vegan, soy, nut and gluten-free

12 squares chocolate, for topping (optional)

Directions 

Mix the thawed dessert topping, sunflower seed butter and powdered sugar together. Add mini chocolate chips.

Place one soft baked cookie to the bottom of the shooter cup (or small clear cup).

Spoon a layer of the dessert topping mixture, then add another cookie.

Top with one more layer of the dessert topping mixture and then add a small chocolate square for decoration. Keep in fridge until serving. Enjoy!



In partnership with So Delicious® Dairy Free, Kids With Food Allergies has published a new recipe e-cookbook: Safe Eats® Desserts. It includes over 30 easy-to-make, allergy-friendly recipes created by our community members, including:

  • Sunflower and Chocolate Cookie CocoWhip Shooters
  • Cookie Dough Ice Cream Pie
  • No-Bake Pumpkin Spiced Caramel Tart
  • Chocolate Coco Whipped Freeze
  • Chocolate No Nut Butter Cupcakes
  • And many other recipes that will help to make life a little bit sweeter!

We want to thank our community members for sharing their allergy-friendly family favorite recipes in Safe Eats® Desserts. We hope Safe Eats® Desserts gives you the inspiration and guidance to introduce fun, allergy-friendly foods to your child. Available as a free PDF download or as a spiral-bound printed book in our online store.

ORDER YOUR COOKBOOK NOW



Time to put your aprons on, roll up your sleeves and get started!



*Updated 12/17

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Kids With Food Allergies
A Division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
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