Catering Tips for Allergy-Sensitive Kids

By Cherise Pendergrast

Most parents who have children with food allergies will supply their own food, but this is not always the case. Activity providers who can supply allergy-friendly foods are an attractive option for parents. Children with allergies also like doing cooking activities and being able to eat what they make.


You need to know....

  • Always read labels on commercially prepared food. There can be traces of allergens in products you would not expect it to be in, (wheat in soy sauce, for example).
  • If in doubt, avoid serving it to children with allergies. Children with serious, life-threatening allergies (anaphylaxis) should only eat the food their caregiver provides.
  • Clearly label and identify allergy-friendly foods. Use a specific coloured container, lid or sticker to identify it and keep separate from other food.
  • Thoroughly clean all food preparation and serving surfaces before and after every use to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Use separate cooking equipment for cooking/preparing allergy-friendly foods.
  • Eating should take place in only one area.
  • Encourage hand washing before and after eating and cooking.
    Traces of allergens can be transferred to equipment, or from one child to another.

Dairy-free/Gluten-free recipes to try:

Dairy Free - Sorbet Popsicles.**

Makes 6 popsicles (depending on size of mold).
Made with coconut milk and any suitable seasonal fruit that mixes with coconut flavouring. Some ideas include blueberries, mango, kiwifruit, strawberries, pineapple, banana. If substituting fruits, test your ingredients at home first. Please note, apple and citrus fruits will not work well.

1 can full-fat coconut milk (375-400g)
3 cups fresh/frozen chosen fruit
2 tablespoons of maple syrup

Add coconut milk, fruit and maple syrup to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Pour this mixture into a popsicle mold. Leave space at the top (1-2cm) of the mold to allow the popsicles to expand in the freezer. Insert popsicle sticks into the mold, or follow instructions for your mold. Freeze for 6-8 hours. Keep frozen for use throughout the week.

Gluten Free - Chokkie-Peanut Butter Truffles

Makes 24 bite-sized truffles.
2 cups GF oats (Check packet they are gluten-free)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup peanut butter (almond butter or sunflower seed butter can also be used, but are more expensive).
4 tbsp coconut oil

In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, coconut oil, brown sugar and maple syrup. Stir mixture until smooth. Add in the oats and mix until fully incorporated. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips. Shape into bite-size balls then place on wax paper. Chill until ready to eat. Will keep in an airtight container in the fridge.

Easy Banana Pikelets

(GF and can be DF- makes 12 small pikelets).
1 cup gluten-free plain flour
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
¼ cup caster sugar
1 medium banana, mashed.
1 egg, lightly beaten (if there is egg-allergy, do not include, just use an extra mashed banana).
1/2cup (125ml) of milk- if dairy-free, any dairy-free milk can be used.

Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add sugar, mix and make a well in the centre. Slowly add egg and enough milk to make a thick batter. Beat well until smooth. Stir through mashed banana.
Heat a non-stick pan over a medium heat, melt ½ teaspoon butter (or coconut oil if dairy-free) and drop heaped tablespoonfuls of mixture into the pan. When bubbles appear on the surface, turn the pikelets and allow to turn golden brown on the second side. Transfer pikelets onto a plate and cover with a cloth while you finish cooking the remainder.
Serve plain, with butter, jam, honey or maple syrup.
These can be frozen and thawed, then warmed as needed.

Tags: Before and After School, Health and Safety, Holiday Programmes

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