Friday, 27 January 2017

Have you seen our Valentines Day Giveaway?

We are sharing the love with a beautiful gift pack of Kiss Freely cosmetics
Simply like and comment on our FB giveaway post to enter before Saturday 4th Feb
Valentines Kiss Freely gift pack includes Sugar Plum lipstick, Candy Pink Lip gloss, Best Ever Body Butter, Sugar Scrub plus Barely there lipstick.!!
Feel free to share the love 

Visit us on Facebook now to find out more 

Kiss Freely, where a desire for food allergy friendly bath and body products has led to the creation of a line of personal care products geared towards those with food allergies and their loved ones.  
Kiss Freely products are free of the 8 major food allergens and then some! Kiss Freely also avoids the use of other potential allergens and is free from sesame, shea butter, peas,coconut, avocado and sunflower seed. Gluten Free and Vegan! 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Back to school with food allergies

Sending your child off to school with serious food allergies can be daunting and stressful. Having a good risk minimisation plan in place and building communication with your child’s school can make a big difference.

Make sure inclusion is a part of the plan. A good health care plan will consider the emotional side of food allergies such as anxiety as well as preventing discrimination and exclusion from learning.

 3 keywords to think about:


 Back to school quick tips
  • Meet with the teacher and principal and school nurse if you have one.
  • Consider inclusion and how that will be ensured … communicate, include, assure
  • How will your child’s condition be communicated to ALL teachers?
  • Revise your plan at least every 12 months or anytime there needs to be a change
  • Communication – keep in touch with your child’s teacher and keep positive open communication. This is everyone’s job
  • Talk about the particulars of your child. For instance, discuss any anxieties your child has, asthma, previous reactions, personal nature, friendships etc. Every child is different and unique.
  • Ask for a communication letter to parents, to inform them and build a team of support. See a template letter here
  • Follow up!  Keep touching base to ensure the plan is being followed. Making a plan is the first step, ensuring it’s being followed is just as essential. Is your child being included? Is the school communicating to you? How is your child handling the plan, talk with your child as needed. 

Anaphylaxis risk management plan

What can you include?

Here is a starting point checklist of things you may want to include/consider:

1. List all allergies and other health conditions
What are the serious allergies? What other health conditions does your child have? For instance asthma, and any other health conditions.

2. Description of previous anaphylactic episodes
What were the symptoms? It can helpful to discuss with your child’s teachers to let them know how quickly these reactions can occur and to hear the details.

3. Where are your child’s EpiPens to be stored?
Everyone needs to know and agree. Never ever in a locked cupboard!  Emergency medicines must be easily accessible, and never more than a few minutes from reach.  It may be stored in first aid room, on the student, or in the classroom or a combination of these.  If being stored in the first aid room/area, is it organised, away from sunlight and heat, and labelled, not in a mess or hard to find in an emergency?

4. Cross-contamination from another child’s food
Regular discussions with the students about the importance of washing hands, eating their own food and not sharing food supervision of eating so that food is not shared and (child name)  does not come into contact with allergens. Washing tables if lunch is eaten in the class-room can be essential, and hand washing routines for the class may be essential too.

5. Allergens in party or special occasion food
  • No food from an outside source to be given to (name child) including treats for other children, or food prepared by other parents. Some state guidelines do outline how important this can be.
  • Parents to be liased with about food related activities ahead of time, and not to be socially excluded from a learning activity. Supply a treat box with safe cupcakes/treats for celebrations
  • Advocate for food free classroom celebrations which many schools are now moving towards.

6. Food-related activities in class
    • ALL food activities in class will be communicated to parents, whether eating or handling - with sufficient time to either give permission or to arrange a substitute food.
    • No food is to be handled or eaten by (child name) without express permission from parents.
    • Food rewards should be discouraged
    • Science with food should be discussed with parents first

7. Music classes
Music teacher to be aware there should be no sharing of wind instruments e.g.recorders. Speak with child’s parents if necessary to provide child’s own instrument.

8. Art classes
Check art materials. Recycled food materials should not be used. Ensure containers used by (name child) do not contain allergens, e.g. ensure masks, paints, glue, play dough, and ALL materials do not contain allergens for the child.

9. Picking up rubbish, or cleaning classroom.
As this is a possibility of touching allergens from rubbish in the playground, (name child) will NOT be asked to do rubbish duty or pick up waste.

10. Canteen: possibility of sale of a food containing allergen.
Encourage parents to visit and communicate to canteen and staff. Display photos of allergic children and their allergies in canteen, visible to all canteen workers. Staff, including volunteer staff to be educated in safe food handling procedures and risk of cross contamination of foods, and reading ingredient labels.

11. Excursions
Each excursion needs it’s own risk management plan, as well as communication with parents to identify any potential risks. Excursions, sports carnivals, swimming programs or sports days require careful planning and consultation with child’s family.

12. Part-time educators and casual relief teachers.
How is this communicated?  What is in the CRT folder? Who is in charge of communicating to relief teachers?

9. Incursion presenters
To be made aware so they can manage potential anaphylactic risks and respond to anaphylaxis appropriately if it should occur. Parents should be notified about incursions ahead of time.

10. Pet visitors or school farmyard.
Think about asthma here too. Be aware that some animal feed contains food allergens e.g. nuts in birdseed and cowfeed. Does student need to wear gloves, or at least wash hands after touching animals.

12. School Camps
Camps require their own thorough planning, and separate detailed risk management plan that requires thought, consultation and communication. Some key points can be included here.

Every child is different, and their individual needs will be different and unique. The above list is intended as a guide and is in no way an exhaustive list. Please consult with your allergist and local education department for further guidance.

Building confidence with your child, school and teacher can be rewarding. Schools are for everyone, and every student needs to feel safe and valued.

Disclaimer, these are only suggestions, I am not a qualified medical expert, and this article does not constitute as medical or legal advice in any way, rather only suggestions as an allergy mum with experience in education sector.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Allergy Friendly gift ideas

Do you love someone with food allergies?

Check out our fantastic Christmas and holiday ideas

We know the Holidays can be stressful, that is why we are also offering Free gift wrapping PLUS Express Shipping!  

Christmas Cuties - for boys and girls
Have you seen our gorgeous range of Allergy awareness t-shirts? 

Designed to help your little ones have a magical and safe Christmas. Let our little Rudolph remind Auntie or Grandma that her nutty fruit cake isn't safe to share.
The bright traditional colors are sure to grab everyone's attention, and alert them of your child's food allergy. Even Santa will think twice about offering a candy cane without checking first.
Beautiful soft quality cotton, and cute design your child will love to wear. Help your child become allergy aware in a postive, fun way - and raise awareness in your community. Check out the range

Kiss Freely Allergy Friendly - Beauty & Body products

Free from top 8 allergens and then some! Vegan, cruelty free and gluten free! Beautiful, soft hydrating and all natural ingredients. 

Gorgeous Body Butter, Sugar scrub and luxury lipsticks & gloss range designed by and for the food allergy & coeliac communities. Children's Face paints, shimmering range of eye-shadows and more!  Finally a range that is safe and allergen free. Kiss Freely range is an amazing quality and affordable range.  

Perfect gifts for under the Christmas Tree!  If you do all the gift shopping at your place, don't forget something for you too! 

Allergy Friendly Cosmetics

Holidays can be stressful when you live with food allergies or coeliac diease

If you are travelling these holidays, don't forget to pack one of our guide books in your suitcase ! These guide books are brimming with tips, strategies and postive ways to navigate life with food allergies or coeliac disease.

Great resources for empowering and educating about allergies, anaphylaxis as well as coeliac disease. Tips for communicating food allergies with loved ones, and staying connected.  Great books for food allergy families 

Travelling with Food Allergies?

Are you travelling with allergies? We have a fantastic range of bags to store your essential medicines. Insulated, bright colours or Easy carry bags for your lifestyle! 

Always carry your emergency medications wherever you go. !

See our Medical bag range now! 

FREE Gift wrapping store wide - Simply select GOLD or SILVER at checkout.
All items will be express shipped with no extra charge - note delivery times vary 

Have fun and stay safe these holidays! 

Friday, 21 October 2016

Boo! Stay safe this Halloween with allergy kids

Do you go trick or treating with your allergic or coeliac child? Have you heard of the Switch Witch?

Halloween has become a popular child friendly night for some communities, a chance to dress up and catch up for some fun with people in your neighbourhood.

But how can you include your allergic child while focusing on safety?

Last year our family discovered the "Switch Witch". We love Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny.... so why had we not heard about the Switch Witch? 

Switch Witch is a wonderfully good witch that visits your home on Halloween night and trades some of your treats for a toy. She flies from house to house on her black broom with her cat, to collect unwanted lollies/candy from children and generously leaves a wonderful toy in exchange, as a surprise for children when they wake!  It was a big hit at our house! A wonderful way to foster inclusion for your allergy and coeliac kids too! 

At our house we imagined all about the life of the Switch Witch, what she was like, and why she was a good witch. We managed to "switch" most of the collection from Halloween for some fun toys and safe welcome treats. I think the Switch Witch can be what you want her to be, but she is definitely inclusive and fun! 

And I must admit we had avoided trick or treating in past years, deciding to stay clear of it, not only because of food allergy safety but also worries of being excluded. Especially as Halloween can seem like such a food focused event and not exactly allergy friendly. But as it turned out Halloween night did for us,become an opportunity for education and awareness too as we would ask about allergens at every doorstep. And we found a way to be safely part of the fun and excitement!  

Trick or treating quick tips:

Focus on fun, rather than food - Dressing up, imagination & social fun is the best part!  

No label no eat. Every door we knocked on we asked about if there were labels!

Don't accept baked goods. Not everyone knows about allergy safety in the kitchen if they don't live with food allergies

Don't take lollies without wrappers and ingredients written on them.

Ask friends and neighbours to consider offering non-food treats like stickers, glow in the dark toys etc. 

Make a plan before you leave the house. Chat with your child about staying safe but ALSO make a plan for having fun.

Don't eat the lollies or treats until you get home. Take safe treats/lollies for energy. 

Always carry your emergency medications. Don't risk it always carry your Epipens! 

Have you heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project?

A fantastic allergy awareness campaign which has been promoted by FARE is the #Tealpumpkinproject , starting in 2014 it has had fantastic success. This allergy awareness project was initially created by an allergy mum who wanted her allergic children to be included in the special celebrations of Halloween. The campaign promotes the fantastic idea of non-food treats like stickers, and small fun toys and focus on fun rather than just the sweets and food.  Hopefully the Teal Pumpkin Project can become more international to globally promote food allergy awareness and inclusion everywhere.

Happy Halloween! Be spooky, and stay safe! 

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Interview with Kiss Freely creator, Jennifer Kurko

Kiss Freely is an exciting cosmetics range, designed for and by a family with food allergies.  Free from the top 8 food allergens, but also free from some other common allergens (sesame, shea butter, coconut, avocado, and mango). Kiss Freely is now launching in Australia.

How did you come up with the idea for Kiss Freely? Was there a catalyst or inspiration?

I kissed my daughter on the cheek one night after her bath and she broke out in hives.  At the time I had no idea what caused the hives.  It was a really devastating moment to realize that I could not kiss her without thinking about it first.  Once I realized the hives were from my lip balm, I also realized we had a ton of cosmetics and bath and body products that were not safe for her.  I looked for products that were safe but they were very hard to find.  The labels were impossible to read without consulting Google constantly! It was so frustrating that it made creating my own products seem like the easier choice!
Kiss Freely is such a fabulous name for your allergy friendly product range, how did this come about? 

The name Kiss Freely came from my daughter. I was wearing our homemade lip balm and I went to kiss her.  She got very excited and said "we can kiss freely!"  We used that phrase in our house for a while before we started the company and it just seemed like a natural choice. 

What are some of the issues you came across personally, as a food allergy mum, with the regular mainstream ranges of cosmetic and beauty products on the market?

I really couldn't find a line that was free from my daughters' allergens.  I would find one product would work but not another.  I also prefer natural ingredients.  Almond oil and coconut are pretty popular ingredients in natural cosmetics so a lot of options were ruled out. 

How have you found the response from the food allergy community, to your first launch in the U.S.?
It has really been amazing.  The community is so supportive and has spread the word more then I could have imagined or hoped for.  The food allergy community is my community so to be embraced by them is humbling and helps keep me motivated to make Kiss Freely available to more people.  I am so excited to be able to have our products sold through you and to introduce Kiss Freely to Australia.

What were the aims of the creation of Kiss Freely? I know for me, as a food allergy mum, I think saving time is a really great benefit, and as sometimes reading cosmetics labels can be so boggling.

All of the above!  I still go to multiple food stores to get safe food for my children.  I wanted Kiss Freely to make life just a little easier for food allergy families. We also donate a portion of our profits to organizations that promote food allergy awareness and research.

Are your products also vegan and cruelty free? What about gluten?

Our products are vegan, cruelty free and gluten free.  We are big fans of FREE!

Jennifer, I know many families are very grateful for the creation of Kiss Freely, and what I find so amazing is that Kiss Freely is a completely unique product range like no other: dedicated to food allergy and coeliac communties! 

You and your family are an inspiration, but who inspires you?

This is a great question. This may be cliché but my daughters inspire me.  They are the reason for this endeavor.  The way the deal with and manage their allergies inspires me. They have an amazing ability to advocate for themselves and others even at such a young age.  They are so much more aware of others and have become incredibly empathetic. They handle a lot of tough situations with so much grace.

Thanks Jennifer!

Learn more about Jennifer and Kiss Freely

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Jam Surprise Cakes

These Jam Surprise cakes with jammy fruit inside are easy, quick and fun to make … and devour!  Perfect for when friends are around for afternoon tea! This easy recipe is definitely one you can also make with children. Most of the ingredients are adjustable depending on your allergies. Great breakfast muffin/cake when you are on the go, for children’s lunchboxes or easy snack.

Jam surprise cakes

1 1/4 cup Self Raising Flour
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 x eggs (certified free range organic)
3 x tbsp dairy free margarine melted
2/3 cup soy yogurt (vanilla) 
1/3 cup of berry fruit – raspberries or strawberries work well. (I used strawberries & raspberries)
Zest from 1 x medium organic orange  (or lemon)
Juice from 1  x medium organic orange (or lemon)
1 x tbsp favourite safe berry jam - I used strawberry jam, but any red jam that’s safe for you.
2 x tbsp Golden syrup

You also need:
Muffin tin (12)

Here I used cara cara oranges as they are were in season. But you can use any orange, or substitute with lemon which is also works really well.

First combine 1/3 cup of finely diced fruit (I use raspberries and strawberries) with your red berry jam and set aside.

Combine dry ingredients. 
Melt your margarine and golden syrup together. 
Now, combine all ingredients together except fruit-jam mix.

Mix gently, but well. So you are folding in rather than beating, you want it to be just combined rather than super smooth mixture. These cakes, are more like a muffin so the mix will not be as wet or runny, as a traditional cake mix. 

Spoon your mixture into muffin tins. Around 3/4 to the top is ideal. Drop the jelly-jammy fruit mix carefully into each muffin tin equally.
Press the mix in slightly with your spoon.

Sprinkle sugar on top if desired, before baking
Bake in preheated oven of 190c for around 20-25 minutes or until firm to touch

Dust with icing sugar for wow effect.

Ideal for after school when friends are over, they are packed with energy to keep them going. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

When Sidney Came to Tea

Have you ever described your allergic child as a fussy eater?  Do you find it challenging to ensure your child eats well?  What does it all mean for children with a special need such as food allergies, coeliac disease, diabetes or other health conditions?

On our first visit to the children’s dietitian at our local hospital, I was taken back when the dietitian began to glare at me as I tried to communicate my child’s health issues.  “Shh ...Don’t say it!”, she would interject.

We were there for tips and ideas for eating well, as well for weight gain. I kept inadvertently, as if it was some sort of subconscious tick, repeating “…Yes, he’s a “fussy eater”…. right in front of my little man! Despite the dietitians' observation that indeed little ears were listening!

Yikes! I reflected. Yes! I had been blurting out “fussy eater” quite a lot. This really began when I would try to explain to others why my allergic child would refuse food, make faces, or take ages to eat his snack or meal.  As if I had to justify the behaviour, as if it was not normal. I felt I needed to communicate to others, to reach out and help them relate by attaching this label.

Even though I knew there was much more to it, I didn’t really think every occasion allowed for a full explanation, a very long story about our history with food, anxieties, ED trips and the like. But the shortcut - affixing a label - was often done and said in front of my little boy. It seemed easier to nod, “Yes, he’s just a picky eater…”. Finally, I could reconsider this, and felt reassured by our lovely dietitian.  But I also realised this label might stick if I didn’t make a change!

Allergies, asthma, diabetes, coeliac disease and a myriad or combination of health issues can easily tip your child in to becoming a reluctant eater, or worse lacking nourishment or even underweight. We were there to see our dietitian for multiple reasons, and number one was trying to gain weight, and get back on the graph. As parents know, children in particular need that little bit of extra weight, in case of illness when weight can drop dramatically.

So why is it that kids with food allergies and other health issues can struggle with eating? And how can we help our children eat well and live well? Maybe the first step is awareness and understanding.

Food fears can loom large
Anxiety around food is a normal but significant issue for kids with life threatening food allergies. We can help our children overcome these worries, which can be overbearing. The fact is living with food allergies is a lot of worry for little shoulders.  

These food fears and the fussy eating age of 3-5 years (for all children) - neatly or not so neatly - coincided for us.  Suddenly, a child that would stuff a whole avocado in his gob, now would push his plate away. We would often sit for over an hour trying to get our child to eat a meal. This is what an anaphylactic reaction can do to a three year old.  Favourite foods, or rather the only foods eaten go down to 3 then 2 ! What then?
Perhaps one of the main issues for children at risk of anaphylaxis, is that they don’t understand the why and how of these sudden emergency events like a serious food allergic reaction.  

Monkey see monkey do
Parent anxiety and role-modelling is big, as our dietitian helpfully pointed out. But of course as all food allergy parents know, when their children are little in particular, they do need to be vigilant. And here’s the hard part. Holding yourself back when the lady at the shop with such a sweet smile, offers an allergen laden chocolate bar to  your child, and you rush over and push it out of the way like some kind of commando in slow mode… “Noooo! “you hear yourself!  As you reach out to prevent the event! As if you were trying to stop a truck heading towards your child.

Maybe it’s an overreaction? YES it was…  Then the tears come. Wrong again mum! Striking the balance between vigilance and being over the top can easily become blurred, especially in the early days or months of a food allergy diagnosis.

While you do need to be on alert, where you can be more relaxed, take the opportunity.  Breathe, and take time to educate yourself, your family and your child.

I think it’s also worth the time to think about spending time on yourself as a parent. For instance, try to come to terms with your own anxieties as a food allergy parent or parent of a child with a health issue. Sorting out rational and irrational fears can really help. Ensure you can have some "me time", talk to friends and loved ones, and do seek professional counselling or advice if you feel the need. I found food allergy counsellor Sloane Millers’, Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies to be a fabulous, intelligent resource and go to on this important topic.

After a reaction food fears can reappear
This is normal and I think anyone, especially children, need time. Time to de-stress, work it out and relax.  Recover, talk things through, feel nurtured, feel safe. Play! Back on the trusted, safe and known foods is totally fine in my book and should be encouraged. Take it slow.

School inclusion
This is an issue most allergy parents will be dealing with from day one. Whether it’s preschool, leisure groups or school, there are often food related activities. Often you will need to be your child’s advocate. Unfortunately not every teacher or school will “get it”.  Keep in discussion with the school. When food based activities are planned, you need to be informed in advance. If all the kids are participating in a food based activity then so should your child (even if that means a safe alternative). Watching other children eat and have fun, and sitting in the corner being left out is not acceptable. Kids look up to their teachers and when they are excluded by someone who cares and teaches their group, it’s inevitably hurtful and naturally doesn’t help their social emotional relationship with food.  Keep the lines of communication open with your child’s teacher and school to ensure your child is safe and included in learning activities.

Helpful ideas
All in all, as a food allergy parent, I have made countless mistakes, but also we have had some wonderful triumphs along the way to eating well. Here are some of them:

  • Spend time reading and checking packet ingredient labels together, even before your child can read. Tell them if it’s safe, it’s great reassurance.  
  • Touch, feel and be involved with (safe) food. This is something for all kids.
  • Go to the market. I am thinking fresh food market here – but any market is great. See if you can encourage your child to pick out a safe food. Of course the safer areas of a market you know would be great. Smell an orange or try a different vegetable. We tried and loved purple carrots!
  •  Cooking in the kitchen. Get creative. Let you child be in charge when they want to take the lead, great for fostering independence. It can be simple - help butter toast, make a special juice, make pizzas or cupcakes with a friend - whatever you can do that works. Food connection and learning food safety are both great skills for your little person.
  • Acknowledge. Adults are also discerning, picky eaters who have foods they love and foods they won’t eat. What are yours? It’s perfectly ok, and great to have favourite foods that you look forward to.  Accept that just like adults, there will be many foods your child will not want to eat, so long as there are many that they will eat or at least try.
  •  Vegetable Gardening.  Again, a little can be a lot. Grow a few herbs, carrots or snow peas even in pots, and allow your child to help plant, smell, pick and eat from the herbs or veges you can grow. Encourage positive connections between nature and food, food is natural, eating is natural.· 
  • Talk about where food is from. According to surveys many children don’t know where many of their foods come from, one survey found one in ten children believed sausage rolls are made by rolling them in flour down hills! Start conversations. Milk is from a cow, and then we make yogurt for instance. How do carrots grow? Where do apples grow?  Be open to exposing your child to learning opportunities around safe foods. If your child has an interest in a food, follow their lead and extend the learning experience.
  • Try a new food or dish every week. This is how you find the next food you love! Well this might be a little ambitious for some children, but keep the idea flowing that trying new foods is positive, and it’s something that you can keep working on.
  • Allergy education at school. See if your school will be involved in a food allergy education program. Donate some inclusive children's allergy books to your child’s school or kindergarten. Educating your child’s peers can really help them to feel safe, supported and included.·  
  • Keep eating times as relaxed as possible. This is difficult when you have had a busy day, but keep in mind this can make a big difference. Reluctant eaters are often slow eaters who dawdle over their plates. Trying to hurry children to eat can cause them to become stressed, and put them off their food. Be patient, and let kids eat in their own time. Again this is tricky to get the balance right, especially if you’ve ever sat with your child for over an hour at mealtimes.
  • Be social! Even for allergic children this is so vital. This is one way in which you can take the emphasis off your child. Children with health issues such as food allergies, diabetes or other conditions often have all the attention on them. Socialise whenever you can even if you are taking your own food, whether it’s a picnic at the park, play-date or dinner with friends, allow your child to learn to eat in a social relaxing atmosphere. This can take time for some children, but persist when you can. 
  • Talk about food in positive ways. Don’t overdo it of course, but role model about your enthusiasm for food, talk about your favourites. While we try to teach our children the dangers of food, we must also emphasise how food is fun and awesome!
  • Make it fun, or change the setting. Be creative! Eat a picnic in the lounge room, eat outside on the grass if it’s sunny, at the park, or with good friends. We have had many picnics inside, with cuddly friends (soft toys) joining in!
  • Be aware of stressful situations. We attended a party once and there was an unusual amount of allergens on the party table. We brought our own food, but my son became very stressed that something might happen. We talked it through and sat separately, but it’s good to be aware in these cases, and get through them together. We focused on the fun in this instance rather than the food.
  • Imagination and food. Stories and shows that include scenes about food, can provide opportunities to discuss or create appetite in positive ways. If Jake from Adventure Time is enjoying pickles or pie, then maybe you can do the same? Is your child crafting a farm on Minecraft? There are foods in the game they might want to try in real life. Think about advertising, how many times have you seen a commercial that made you think that burger looked great? Or looked at Instagram pictures of food and suddenly felt hungry? Mind and body are connected, this is especially true with food.  Opportunities can be anywhere. And imaginative stories can be one avenue for positivity.
  • Appetizers. Children are just like adults. Sometimes it can be a case of just getting the eating process started, for instance, pickles, finger food, fruit or a small very light healthy snack before dinner might be what works. Sometimes the more you eat, the more you can eat!
  • Food that looks good, tastes good. Sometimes a new plate, or cute side garnish might just help. Again make it fun. No one needs be a chef or artiste, but a little excitement can go a long way. This is especially true when you have a very limited diet due to food allergies.
  • Don’t overload the plate and overwhelm. It’s the best thing ever when you hear… “Heh! I ate it all!”, with such glorious satisfaction… or even, yes… asking for seconds! These are great self accomplishments worth celebrating. And it’s part of setting achievable goals too! We all suffer from too much pressure at times, and children are no exception.
  • Try to be mindful of other health issues, that might interfere with eating - such as teething, a sore throat, a blocked nose, or an upset tummy. We have had a lot of sore throats that were related to environmental allergies - the sore throats were fairly frequent for some time. So, in this case we would compromise with softer foods, and didn’t force chewy meat, or other foods that were painful at the time.  
  • Keep offering new foods even if your children rejects them at first. This is really true for younger children in particular but also as children get older their tastes might change.  Experts generally think that kids need to see and taste new foods several times before they become 'familiar' and are accepted. Don’t give up too soon!
  • Eat out if you can. Find a safe restaurant that your allergic child/ren loves. Allow them the experience to gorge safely and feel normal, and relaxed when eating out. This is really a big one in my book.
  • Tackle bullying. Be aware of any bullying in the preschool or school yard. This can adversely affect appetite too, as food allergy teasing/ or bullying can cause a sharp rise in your child’s anxieties and become very stressful all round.
  • Talk. Be aware of your child’s anxieties, and keep discussing and educating. They don’t know and fully understand how to stay allergy safe yet. For instance, our child would be scared to ask or even accept a glass of water at a friends’ house. We would let our son know it’s safe, and why, and talk things through.
  • Take the emphasis off your child.  As above, make it social. Eat as a family. Eat at the same time as your child. Children with health issues like allergies or diabetes feel the pressure on them. Try to divert attention away from them when you can, and let them be. 

Sidney comes to Tea
When we were really struggling with encouraging our child to eat, we discovered Sidney. He was a friend from kinder who came home, a very special possum called Sidney. They did everything together, ride bikes, go for walks, cuddle and more! And he came to tea! And sometimes even breakfast. We would make a plate of toast for Sidney too, “Come on Sidney!  you need to eat!”

A special soft toy, friend or puppet can, help some children as they do in therapy – express themselves when they are stressed, help open communication and create a voice for an anxious child.

Sidney the possum often would suddenly appear at (difficult) dinner times. He would patiently sit, and not so patiently - wait for the corn kernels to be eaten so he could enjoy the cob, which he liked best.  “Wait!!!”, my son would tell Sidney with giggles, eager to allow Sidney to join in, as he gobbled his corn with excitement”

Sidney also often enjoyed coming to “a picnic”, afternoon tea snack. In fact he was a bit of a greedy guts at times who couldn’t wait to tuck into his food. We often had to tell him to “Wait!”. Everything was better when Sidney came to tea. My partner became an overnight puppeter sensation in our house. And it worked !   

I am sharing my tips as an allergy mum, I am not offering expert or medical advice, but I do highly recommend visiting an experienced children’s dietitian, or specialist qualified counsellor if you feel the need. It can be a tough road to help your child become healthy and confident, but hang in there. If you have any tips, or strategies that have helped encourage your child and you would like to share, please contact us.