Blog | Top tips for food allergies
With summer camp season just around the corner, some of you might be starting to think about planning your catering.
We asked our Additional Needs team to suggest some hints and tips for catering for food allergies or intolerances when planning camp or event menus.
The first thing to do when a child in your group has an allergy or food Intolerance is to speak with their parents/carers. Working together with the parents and carers when you are doing your menu saves time and ensures that the menu is suitable for all.
However, the following tips will also help you plan and prepare inclusive camp meals.
Our top tips
We have suggested certain brands because of their specific production methods but brands are available and may be more suitable. Always check the labels of any product before using because the manufacturing process or ingredients might have changed, since writing this article.
Make sure the chef knows who has which allergy so that changes can be made without drawing attention to the young person who has specific dietary requirements.
If possible, try to keep the menu for allergies and non-allergies the same.
If any child has a peanut allergy, have a no nut policy.
Beware of cross-contamination via hands, utensils, pots, preparation area and cooking surfaces. Tin foil is your friend; you can use it to cook separate foods on the same BBQ.
Sunflower spread is preferable to butter or margarine because it is dairy free.
Soya milk comes in chilled or UHT versions and rice milk comes in UHT form. These can be easier to keep at camp, as they do not require to be chilled.
Soya milk also comes in flavoured varieties and can be a good alternative for hot chocolate in the evening.
If camping in patrols, it’s a good idea to organise a “free from” patrol.
Dietary Specials, Genius and Warburton’s brands all produce Wheat & Gluten Free bread and rolls. Wrap the rolls in foil and place them in the embers of your fire for around 3-5 minutes to make them taste amazing.
Most processed foods contain allergens (usually mentioned in Bold Writing on the label). Cooking from scratch is best.
Try to use as many basic fresh ingredients as possible and if alternatives must be used for allergies, keep them as similar as possible to what other young people are having.
Wheat Free pasta is made from corn and rice and takes a little longer to cook than wheat pasta. Try a batch before camp. It needs plenty water but can get gloopy if cooked too long.
All large supermarkets, such as Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda and Morrison’s, have a ‘Free From’ range. These offer more options for menu substitutes, making it easier to give everyone the has the same menu.
Need more guidance?
We hope these tips help with some of the more common food allergies bur if you want specific support you can drop our team a line and we’d be happy to assist.