How Many People Can One Person Feed?

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By: Frieda Schweky

Making food for friends or family members with food allergies can feel terribly daunting, but over time it is something that can be accomplished. But what happens when Passover comes along with all the seasonal, temporary, and unfamiliar products? And what do you do if you invited someone over who has allergies and you want to make sure everyone is safe and comfortable? This is precisely why Paulette Cohen, aka ‘The Nut Job Mom,” has shared the following information with us, in hopesof helping overwhelmed parents conquer this daunting, yet possible, task. Although the thought of Passover used to make Paulette nervous, she has learned how to take control of her child’s allergies, and hopefully her tips will help you to achieve peace of mind as well.

Prepping your food-allergic children for Passover:Get your children used to different kinds of Passover-friendly foods. You can do this by trying new things a month before the holiday. Paulette likes to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into her children’s diets before the holiday so it’s something they are used to, and don’t see the extra fruits and veggies as just another change. It actually helps kids to realize there are many natural food options they can have.

A few ideas on whatto feed your allergic child between holiday meals:Yogurt or cottage cheese with berries is a great, healthy breakfast option for a child with food aversions. Paulette also likes to make banana pancakes, using just one overripe mashed banana and two eggs whisked together. Just add chocolate chips when you’re ready to flip the pancake! They’re so delicious and much better than processed, boxed options - and there’s no Passover after-taste!

You can also make cookies and cakes allergy-friendly.
To substitute eggs in baked goods, Paulette likes to whisk together 2 tablespoons of water, 1 teaspoon of oil, and 2 teaspoons of baking powder. This replaces one egg.

Every year there are more and more options and recipe hacks online that are easily accessible. You can also check out Paulette’s Instagram @thenutjobmom for more substitutes and information.

Purchasing products and reading labels:Food manufacturers are only required by law to print a warning on the product’s label if an item contains one of the top eight allergens. Manufacturers are not however, required by law to print a warning on the label if the product is manufactured on equipment or in the same facility as allergens. Many of the parents Paulette helps are not aware of the laws, and assume if a product is not labeled “may contain an allergen,”then they have the green light to serve it to their allergic child. This confusion causes a guessing game that too often ends up in a trip to the emergency room. Please err on the side of caution, better safe than sorry.

It is important to note that things change from year to year. If something was safe last Passover, that might not be the case this year. It’s important to call manufacturers and pressure them to disclose allergen information for the safety of your child. The best and safest option is to make things yourself from scratch to prevent any allergic reactions.

Eating at other people’s homes:Paulette emphasizes that eating out during Passover does not have to be stressful. Whether your child has been recently diagnosed with food allergies, or you’ve been dealing with it for a while, if your child is old enough to run around with other children, there needs to be advanced clear communication with the host. It’s more meaningful to call rather than text, so you can get your message across in a sincere and non-defensive way. Whether the hosts are family or friends, you need to communicate exactly what your child is allergic to, and what is ok for them to have and what is not.

Don’t be afraid to ask politely the hosts not to serve something that your child is allergic to. Passover is such a beautiful holiday because it brings families and friends together. But that also means tons of kids running around, and you don’t want to have your child on a leash. You want themto feel free to play and have fun, and be a kid. Making sure that things they are allergic to will not be served takes the stress out of worrying if someone is going to give them something they must avoid, or will touch them with allergy-laden hands. For airborne allergies, this is a non-negotiable.

You also don’t want your hostess to be overwhelmed, so it’s important for you to offer to make some dishes, and definitely bring an allergy friendly dessert your child can have. Let you hostess know if there are specific brands you trust for your child, and also offer some allergy friendly recipes that you use for your family.

If you wish to host a family with an allergic child:Disposable tins are a great option if you’ve cooked with allergens on the equipment you would normally use to prepare food for the meal that the allergic child is coming to. Don’t get overwhelmed or nervous about hosting a family with food allergies. Make sure to call the mom of the child with allergies and ask any questions you may have, and go over the menu with her so that you are organized and both of you are calm. Ask if certain ingredients are okay, and even send pictures of anything you might be adding to dishes, and ask if it is safe.

Please don’t think it is okay to serve things the child is allergic to and assume if they don’t eat it or touch it they will be fine. That’s a huge misconception concerning allergies. Sometimes just being exposed to an allergen can give a child (or an adult) a serious reaction, requiring hospitalization. Overall, you are doing a huge mitzvah taking extra precautions for these children, so enjoy the process and don’t stress! Once you do it, you’ll see it’s actually not as hard as it seems!

Allergy-Friendly Kosher for Passover Ice Cream Recipes

Bananas are the most important thing you are going to need for these ice cream recipes. Yes, you heard right. The base of this allergy-friendly goodness is frozen bananas. There are different flavors you can make, and each one is healthy and delicious! Enjoy!

Vanilla Ice Cream

Three cut up, frozen, bananas, a pinch of salt, and one vanilla bean or ¼ tsp. of pure vanilla extract. Blend until you get the consistency of soft serve, and freeze.

Mint Chocolate Chip

Two cut up, frozen bananas, a pinch of salt, 1/8 tsp of pure peppermint extract. Blend until you get the consistency of soft serve. Stir in California gourmet chocolate chips. Freeze and enjoy!

Ice Cream

Two cut up, frozen bananas, ½ cup of frozen strawberries, ¼ tsp. of pure vanilla extract. Blend until you get the consistency of soft serve. Freeze and enjoy!

Chocolate Ice Cream

Three cut up frozen bananas, ¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and 3 tbsp. of cocoa powder. Blend untilyou get the consistency of soft serve. Freeze and enjoy!