Plant-based allergy alternatives. Here are some ideas for simple substitutes for food allergens for plant-based babes who need them.
Food allergies can be scary for parents and caregivers.
It can also make meal planning challenging, especially for those on plant-based diets where nuts, wheat, and soy foods serve as major sources of protein and other nutrients.
The need for kid-friendly allergy-free foods can also be amplified if your babe is in a childcare or school setting that requires them.
Thankfully, there are many delicious, nutritious products on the market these days providing allergy-free alternatives for kids!
This post covers some of our go-to swaps for common food allergens on a plant-based diet.
6 Plant-Based Allergy Alternatives
Whatever reason you need some plant-based allergy swaps, here are some of our favorites.
1. Instead of peanut butter, try sunflower butter or pumpkin seed butter.
These seed alternatives can be used the same way, like for toast, a (non)PB&J sandwich, as a dip for apple or banana slices, or to make protein snack balls.
2. Instead of soy milk, try fortified pea or oat milk.
We recommend fortified plant milk for our younger babes, which can be used for cooking, baking, smoothies, and drinking on their own.
If your babe needs to avoid soy, but can have nuts, there are also nut-based milk options that can be safely consumed, such as almond, cashew, and macadamia.
However, these typically do not provide the calories, fat, and protein that children need and should not be relied upon as the primary milk. We recommend soy or pea milk for that purpose.
3. Instead of wheat pasta, try a legume-based pasta.
We love the invention of legume pasta, even if not for allergy purposes.
Most supermarkets carry some version of wheat-free pastas, made from legumes like red lentils, edamame, black beans, or chickpeas.
Not only are these rich in plant protein, but they’re generally cooked and used the same way as wheat pasta.
4. Instead of soy or seitan (vital wheat gluten) based meat alternatives, try bean-based alternatives.
Beans and lentils are great allergen swaps to use in veggie burgers, plant-based meatballs, or even a hearty meatless loaf.
These legumes are perfect pantry staples, whether you choose to soak and prepare them from dried form or stock your shelves with canned versions.
5. Instead of cashew cream sauce, try a coconut cream sauce.
Having a few delicious cream sauce recipes on hand is a necessity, especially with kids who love to dip!
While cashew cream sauces are the most traditional plant-based swap for alfredo or other dairy-based creams – including vegan ice cream – canned coconut milk also works well.
6. Instead of cream cheese, cashew or almond cheese, try a creamy white bean spread.
White beans offer a neutral flavor that can used to make a bagel schmear, sandwich spread, hummus, or dip for veggies or pitas.
Should my baby avoid allergens?
Note that if your babe doesn’t have a medical need to avoid some of the most common plant-based allergens – such as wheat, soy, and nuts – they shouldn’t be totally excluded from their diet.
Why? These foods are super versatile and nutritious components of a diet!
They’re great sources of protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
While there are many causes in developing a food allergy, early exposure to common allergens is ideal to reduce the risk.
For more information on introducing common food allergens to babies, read our comprehensive post on the topic.
If your babe needs some plant-based allergy alternatives, don’t sweat it. Today, there are a growing number of substitutes for food allergens that are appropriate for plant-based kids and can be used in similar ways.
Chime In: Does your kiddo need allergy swaps? What are some ways that you can incorporate these substitutes into his or her diet?
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