The last few weeks have been stressful. Our third child, the two year old, has been having digestive problems, and we’re in the middle of looking for answers. She is going to see a specialist this week, but in the meantime, our doctor had some lab tests done and recommended that we cut dairy out of her diet.
Is he serious? Cut dairy out of our toddler’s diet? I think our two year old is like a lot of American two year olds. A lover of cheese. And yogurt. Milk. Macaroni. Pizza. It’s all fabulous comfort food that toddlers love, right? Yeah. So, my head has been spinning for the last couple of weeks, trying to figure out how to cook dairy-free meals that the whole family will enjoy. Because frankly, if the two year old can’t have it, ain’t nobody having it. Know what I mean?
A sudden diet change can be overwhelming, whether it’s based on a health issue or made by choice. I’m finally wrapping my head around our dairy-free lifestyle and feeling less like I’m going off the deep end. If you find yourself in a similar situation, there are some things that I’ve found that can make the transition a bit easier.
- Take advice as suggestions. We have several people in our lives that have been through a similar situation and from whom we asked for help. But there is A LOT of information to try to take in and process. Try to limit the surge of information to a little at a time. Otherwise, you can get overwhelmed very quickly. And a lot of people who haven’t been in a similar situation will try to give you advice. I suggest you take the professional advice first and leave the rest.
- Recreate family favorite meals. Changing or swapping out ingredients in family favorite meals will make the transition easier. Can’t swap out cheese? buy a dairy free kind, soy, or omit it all together. Make a list of the meals everyone will eat, rotate them and try a few new ones. Your family probably won’t get sick of them in heavy rotation if it’s only for a short period of time.
- Get inspiration online. Use websites like pinterest.com, allrecipes.com, or niche blogs to search for new recipes that meet the criteria. Save them to your ‘favorites’ so that you are not searching all the time. Start with highly favored recipes or those that are familiar to your family’s eating habits.
- Make a list of the ingredients your family can’t eat. This way, you won’t waste your money and you won’t stand at the grocery wondering if your family can actually eat certain foods. Carry the list with you inside your wallet or as a note on your phone.
While making dietary changes might be difficult at first; it will get easier. Pretty soon it becomes part of your shopping and cooking routine and nobody will notice. Have fun in the kitchen, experiment, and get inspired. Think of it as a cooking challenge! Of course; if you need help swapping out ingredients in the MOMables lunch plans, you can always email one of their chefs. They will help!
How have you adjusted to dietary changes due to food allergies?