Ok so here we go. I’m starting this to get some recipes and experiences out there for anyone else looking. Here’s a little bit of our backstory;
When my sweet girl Justice was just 4 months old we discovered she has an allergy. Not to anything ‘typical’ mind you, none of the major allergens. She’s allergic to Eggplant. It was one of her brother’s favorites when he was a baby so it was the 2nd food I tried her on. Oh Boy! Thankfully she was quite distracted and not really accustomed to eating “food” yet so she wasn’t really getting any in her mouth. After less than a minute of trying to feed her, I realized that the whole bottom half of her face (from nose down) was Bright Red! And then came the hives. I wiped her face off as soon as I noticed and removed the food from the area. The hives were continuing to erupt and a couple of them were not exactly small. I was on the phone speaking with a pediatric nurse who was going through a few things for me to check, like breathing and swallowing ability, both of which were seemingly not affected when I noticed her bottom lip was slightly swollen as well. Since her breathing and swallowing ability were not affected, and the general redness had started to subside, the nurse advised me to just continue close supervision for the next 4-5 hours for ANY changes but that we could stay home and save us all an ER visit if there were no changes. I immediately took to the internet to find the plant family that eggplant belonged to and what else was in it. I was surprised to find that eggplant is related to tomatoes (not a shock since the seeds are identical), potatoes (regular not sweet), bell peppers, chili peppers, and tobacco (yay!). What an odd grouping huh?! Needless to say, we’ve carefully avoided all of those foods since. Her doctor’s have agreed with our decision to also stay away from eggs (I have a slight allergy to a component of eggs). While my curious now-toddler managed to eliminate potatoes from the mix (finding and helping herself to a stash of tater tots and subsequently completely freaking out her father and I), we’re diligent about avoiding the rest of the group until allergy testing can be done.
This has brought our family into the midst of a new adventure. Justice is now 15 months and is clearly “done” with baby food (of which has always been organic). She has almost all of her teeth and desperately wants to use them on ‘real’ food. So many of the meals that I routinely make have tomatoes or are just not toddler-self-feeding friendly. Thus began my search for healthy, toddler/family friendly meals that are tomato free and at least mostly egg free. Because of our after school schedule (both my 8 year old son and I are in karate 4-5 nights a week) I am unable to prepare a full healthy meal in the evenings and so have taken to making dinner in the mornings/afternoons for reheating later. I am conscious of what our family eats and most specifically what my children eat. To date, my son Evan, has had maybe one soda in his life and it was a lemon/lime type that was caffeine free. He has maybe 6 pieces of candy a year and maybe as many cookies. He loves his vegetables and fresh fruit. He has great eating habits. He doesn’t get a lot of salt and actually looks at labels now to see what the sugar and protein contents are. Justice has’t had juice yet, likes some fruit, loves all the vegetables she’s had (especially sweet potatoes and spinach), had a tiny bit of cake for her 1st birthday photos, and downs at least a full cup (10oz) of milk a day. She’s a great water drinker too. None of her baby foods had preservatives or anything added (especially sugar).
So-what follows will be our trials with new recipes and my/our experiences with food and cooking. I was able to find some pretty great recipes online that are toddler/family friendly, relatively easy to make, and tomato free. I’m constantly on the search for new and more things to try.
Hopefully this can help or at least lend some support for anyone else going through similar issues.
Happy searching, cooking, and eating to all!