Healthy Substitutes for Common Food Allergies | Photo Credits: The Foodie&
New Delhi: Food allergies are fairly common and while you must completely avoid any food that you are allergic too but having a food allergy should not stop you from having nutrient-dense food or food of your choice. You can always substitute a few food items and get the most of it by adding it to your regular diet.
Healthy substitutes, if known and planned can turn out to be your saviour in times of distress. So, you don’t have to really deprive yourself of a particular food- you just need to learn the art of swapping it right!
What is a food allergy?
Food allergy is an immune response to certain types of food indicating that there is something that is not suitable for our body or it cannot cope up with. Your body mistakenly treats food as a threat and starts an immune response. In such cases, antibodies are released in the body whenever any allergen (allergy-causing chemical) gets in it and as a sign, our body shows symptoms of mild to severe allergic reactions.
Here’s a list of healthy alternatives for some common food allergies so that your body gets all the nutrients it needs:
Milk can trigger allergy because of the presence of a sugar known as lactose. Those who have lactose intolerance can try almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, cashew milk, and oat milk. They are equally nutritious as dairy milk and can act as a healthy alternative and at times can offer you even better nutrients.
Wheat, being the staple grain may well be the most widely used grain as it’s found in chapatis, pooris, paranthas, baked items like bread, pasta, and cookies. Reading labels and having a keen eye is helpful to manage this allergy. It is not suitable not only for those with celiac disease (or gluten intolerance) but also for people with wheat allergies (they’re two different ailments). Replace traditional flour with oats, almond flour, tapioca, rice flour in your baked goods, or use a variety of flours in combination like gram flour, ragi flour, bajra flour, buckwheat flour, or amaranth flour alternatively.
The most familiar and commonly found allergy is of peanuts. Roasted beans, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, or almonds are a perfect substitute for the crunchy peanuts. Peanut butter has a healthy alternative as almond butter. Almond butter has more or less the same vital health benefits and it is rich in vitamins and minerals. Sunflower seed butter can also be a rewarding substitute.
Few people can be allergic to the proteins present in eggs and can have allergic responses such as hives, rashes, or respiratory problems minutes after eating egg or egg-based products. An alternative for eggs in case of baking could be mashed potatoes or apple puree/ applesauce. They give the same results and can be used as excellent binders while baking. While other egg substitutes in terms of protein can be whole could be soy products, meat, fish and dairy product, lentils, and legumes.
Soybeans are extremely protein-rich with high fibre and vitamin content. A soy allergy should not stop you from getting the desired nutrients, especially proteins. Lentils are full, of protein and rich in other nutrients. Chickpeas, kidney beans, red beans, and black beans can also be used as a replacement for soybeans.
To conclude, having a food allergy should not mean that your diet turns out to be devoid of essential nutrients required for the growth and functioning of the body. Every food allergy has an almost equal or healthier option and planning your diet with food allergies is not challenging at all if done the right way!
Nmami Agarwal is a guest contributor. Views expressed are personal.