Nut-Free Living in a Nutshell

If you have a child with a nut allergy, or you have one yourself, you worry about everything from school lunches to family gatherings—“nut” anymore! While nut allergies can be dangerous, they’re also common, affecting an estimated 3 million people, including more than 400,000 school-aged children, in the U.S. Today, there is greater awareness and recognition of nut allergies—along with more resources and solutions for those suffering from the condition.

Whether you’re allergic, sensitive to or just don’t like nuts, they can be avoided with these basic strategies:

1. Scrutinize labels: Review ingredient lists with an eagle eye. Look for any variety of nuts and/or nut oils, as well as warnings that food products were manufactured in a facility that processes nuts. If your child has a nut allergy, teach him or her how to read labels carefully. Also be aware that manufacturers can change ingredients or production processes at any time. Even if you have used a product for years, scan packaging for information.

2. Wipe it Clean: For those with severe nut allergies, a reaction can occur simply coming into contact with items or surfaces that have been contaminated by nuts. When caring for a child with a nut allergy, be vigilant when he or she plays with other children, ensuring that dishes and utensils aren’t shared. Wipe down toys and tools, and be sure your child washes his or her hands frequently, especially before eating.

3. Fake it: You can still enjoy the flavor and texture of nuts, without actually eating them! The key is to creatively mimic their taste and consistency. For example, old-fashioned oats can make a mock pecan pie seem like the real deal. For a nutty flavor, toast chickpeas and sprinkle with sea salt. For similar nutritional benefits, snack on seeds, or use them in baked goods and other recipes.

4. Bring your own: Headed to the spa? Many massage oils and beauty products contain nut oil. To stay safe and still enjoy a little pampering, bring your own oils, or call ahead to let the spa know you have a nut allergy. While equipment is generally sterilized and should be free from oil residue, mention your allergy to the staff beforehand, so you can truly sit back and relax.

5. Fly without fear: Before you board a plane, let the airline know you have a nut allergy. They will remove all nuts from the aircraft and make an announcement before take-off, so that any nuts carried on by passengers will be removed as well.

Whether it’s a plane ride or birthday party, always give a timely heads-up so the host can prepare accordingly – and don’t forget to show your gratitude. Nut-free living in a nutshell: Be gracious, be mindful and be prepared.

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By: +Elizabeth Lotts writer for
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