Allergy free shopping tips
If you have been diagnosed with food allergies, you will need to learn once again how to go grocery shopping. Much as we would like it to be, all food is not inherently allergen-free. It is easy to fall back into buying old favourites without determining if they are still safe to eat. Where to start with allergy-free shopping, though?
First and foremost, remember that whole foods are generally straightforward with regards to allergens. Unless you are allergic to apples, there is no reason to avoid apples. If you are not allergic to bell peppers, you don’t need to avoid bell peppers. Single-ingredient foods will be your best friend while you sort out your new dietary needs. Shop the perimeter of the store to find the foods you can eat safely.
However, it isn’t always that simple for certain foods. No more food from the bulk bins. It’s too easy for the scoops to end up in the wrong bin, which cross-contaminates all foods in the new bins. This is especially a concern for grains, dried fruits, and nuts. Buy it factory sealed or not at all.
Also, for certain types of allergens (gluten and/or dairy, for example), you will not be able to buy meats from the deli area. Most stores will not have a dedicated slicer for gluten-free deli meat, so cross-contamination is rampant. Again, buy factory-sealed packages only.
If you are buying pre-packaged foods, you will always read labels carefully before buying [ how to read labels ]. The eight major allergens are required to be marked on the label. [How to identify your allergen: gluten, dairy, soy.] If you aren’t certain, you can always call the manufacturer about their processing information. You will quickly learn if shared lines or shared facility are acceptable for your needs.
That brings me to the next tip: shop carefully. Grocery store chains vary from region to region, so please check with your local markets to see what specialty products they offer. You can always submit a request form to the store’s manager if you require a particular item or brand. There is also the option of ordering things online (from Amazon , for example) should you require a particular food that cannot be sourced locally.
You will never be without food options, so choose wisely and eat well!