Food allergies are hard. I don’t think anyone will disagree with that. But sometimes an overlooked part of it is how expensive they can be. Of course we would spend our last dime on our food allergic child but there is a way to live on a tight budget with a food allergic child.
I’m a planner by nature so planning ahead came pretty easy to me but not all of the food allergy moms I know have this luxury. When Tyler was diagnosed at 13 months old with milk, egg, and peanut allergies, I had no idea what to cook for the poor child! (Note: He outgrew the milk and egg allergy at the age of 3.)
After the initial shock wore off, , my planning nature kicked in and I was able to come up with a 4 week menu rotation that was safe for him. We repeated the menu over and over again because I had so few options. On the occasion we deviated from it I would give Tyler something else safe like Tyson chicken nuggets.
By menu planning and repeating the same things over, I was always buying pretty much the same groceries and using them up. This saved us a great deal of money.
Meal Planning Made Easy
Does meal planning come easy to you? If not, it doesn’t need to be difficult. I promise you can do it!
If you are dealing with several food allergies, it’s practically a necessity.
1. Determine how many weeks you want in your meal plan. This may be pre-determined for you like it was for me due to many dietary limitations. Or, you may just pick however many weeks you want your family to rotate.
2. Actually put a list of the meals in front of your, as well as a blank calendar. I suggest using a blank calendar (no dates) and just start entering the meals on it. To make it easier, you can make each night have a theme. For example, Monday might be Mexican night, Tuesday might be Italian night, etc.
3. Enter your meals into a rotating calendar program (optional). You don’t have to do this step, but it will make your life easy if you can. I highly recommend Google Calendar. There are several other types of programs online you can use, too. Then you can just print out each week and your menu is created for you!
Meal planning, and just planning in general goes a long way when it comes to being successful with food allergies. The days of “flying by the seat of your pants” are over.
Do you plan ahead? Do you use meal planning as a strategy for coping with food allergies?