I have some catching up to do! Sorry for such a long period between posts. The summer has now ended (even though where I live it's just now starting to get gross hot) and I am back to school. I am a college student taking way over full-time amount of units and my schedule can become pretty hectic. Therefore, I decided to make an essential Allergy-Free Back-to-School guide! Now some of the advice I am putting on the list sounds straight forward and pointless, but some people are new to the game of allergy-free eating and this list is for them especially. You never know what you forget to think about!
The Essential Allergy-free Back-to-school guide:
1. Have a Personal Medical ID bracelet, pendent, card in your wallet, you name it.
As long as your have something to alert emergency personnel that you have severe allergies in case of anaphylaxis! I had a whole blog on the importance of Medical Identification bracelets, but I forgot to mention it can be a necklace or even a card or luggage style tag on your backpack. A medical card and luggage style tag are especially helpful with younger Allergy-free eaters. Little ones (and big ones) can forget things in an emergency situation, even more so when the emergency involves them! This leads me to my next point...
2. Notify teachers/professors of your allergies.
I am 22 years old and I still notify each new professor at the beginning of semester that I have severe food allergies and Asthma that can require use of an Epi-pen. I let them know that I can inject myself unless I pass out or am unconscious, and I give them a run down of how to use the Epi-pen just in case I ever couldn't do it as a precaution. Always inform them to call 911 after any administration of an Epi-pen because they may not understand that it isn't a permanent solution and the reaction can happen again after the medicine wears off. I tell at least two of my peers too. This is just in case someone is absent during a class day if you have to have help, and at least you now have 3 people who can help you in an emergency. Most teachers at the elementary school level have some sort of first aid response training, but it is still best to discuss your child's allergies and emergency treatment plan. You never know what snacks are offered to your child at school and it's best that teachers know to not allow your child consume something without checking for allergens first. This ties together with point 3....
3. Allergy-Free lunches and snacks are a must have.
Especially in elementary school and preschool, you want to make sure to play an active roll in your child's lunch. Cafeteria food isn't going to be guaranteed safe, nor are class snacks; therefore, make a lunch everyday for your child and send him/her to snack day with a nice allergy-free snack to share! If your child's allergies are so severe, like nut allergies, that they can be triggered by simple exposure, then politely ask the teacher to notify other parents (either by a note or letter) not to send their children to school with snacks to share that have nuts or any severe allergens specific to your child. It sounds like asking a lot, but your child's life is more important than allowing Nutter Butters in the classroom. For college, I have to pack an array of snacks in my lunch for the longer days of classes. It isn't worth stressing about finding anything to eat on campus when you can bring an arsenal of safe snacks! I constantly keep non-perishable snacks in my backpack or purse, just in case I forget my lunch or snacks for the day. I am comforted by the idea of the Tasty brand Organic fruit snacks hiding in my bag at all times.
4. Make Shopping Lists.
I say this because it simply makes life easier for the busy college student or the parent of a chid with allergies. This point ties into the packing lunches and snacks that are allergy-free point, but it also helps to make sure dinner isn't a mystery during the busy weekdays. Planning your weekly meals is still a learning experience for me and my husband, but many websites offer meal calendar ideas or even a set meal schedule to make your life easier. A great resource for meal ideas is a quick look-over at Pinterest boards. I know that there are so many quick and simple recipes that can be found, and you can create your own meal planner and shopping list according to the recipes you find! Making meals that can create leftovers is a great way for college students to have lunch for the next day. I also recommend Vega nutritional shakes which make both a great on-the-go and satisfying breakfast or lunch. Vega is vegan and gluten-free and you an add anything to them to boost flavor and make them heartier. My favorite is the Vega One nutritional shakes in chocolate, to which I add a banana, frozen strawberries, unsweetened almond or soy milk, and a tablespoon of almond butter (or sunflower butter for those with nut allergies). In addition, the digestive enzymes in Vega also keep my belly happy and regulated.
5. Lastly, embrace the fact that you have to be careful with what you eat.
Don't be shy about your allergies around friends and peers. No matter what age, by being open and knowing what you can and can't eat keeps you in control of your health. Also, you never know if someone else has allergies too! You can eat lunches together or bring snacks to share! Don't think that having food allergies limits you. You can be an advocate of learning more about food allergies and sensitivities through your own personal experience!
Good Luck with the Fall Semester and back to school chaos! Have fun and be Free of worry and free of stress by being in control of what you eat! Below is the website for VEGA.
More to come,