When I have conversations with people that deal with our family's food allergy restrictions, people ask in hushed or shocked tone "WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU EAT?" And I totally get/understand that reaction. That was my reaction when I found out we would have to avoid so many food! See our list of foods we avoid here. I remember feeling really sad, scared and overwhelmed. My strategy was to clear our pantry of foods they couldn't eat to put the foods they could eat. My second priority was to get down a few meals that I knew they COULD eat. I developed a master list and rotated the foods. Since they were so allergic to so many foods we also did a rotation diet. (simply put you only eat a type of food once every four days. i.e. you eat beef on Mondays then not again until Friday) I am glad to say we no longer rotate most foods and life is soooo much easier.
To help out people who are overwhelmed, I wanted to share my meal planning and strategies to help feed your family. Please keep in mind you are in a marathon. It is NOT a sprint. You will learn and grow as an allergen free cook. It will get easier.
1.) Develop a master list of about 7-10 breakfast ideas, 5-7 lunch ideas, 10-20 dinner ideas.
2.) Plan out your meals and then shop for them. I use a calendar method. I will be posting some examples. Watch for updates.
3.) It is nice to make a certain day of the week a set meal. For example: Fridays are pizza night, Tuesdays are crock pot night... etc.
4.) Have one or two set "fast" meals. Ours is tacos. This is great for those unplanned nights or if something doesn't go according to plans.
5.) Use your freezer. For gluten free this is a must. I double almost every recipe and freeze at least half to pull out later. Especially for breakfast, breads, and soups. Stock up on glassware (like Pyrex). Or save glass jars your food comes in. I don't recommend plastics.
While this takes a bit of up front work it, in the long run it saves time, money and frustration. I will be posting:
What are your ideas for keeping your family fed? How do you plan?