Meal Planning is Not for Chumps

by Roo on March 7, 2012

in allergy lifestyle, bittylutions

I have previously stated that I would rather have my yearly gyn checkup than work on a meal plan.  Despite the multitude of lovely tutorials, plans, and shopping lists on Pinterest and blogs alike, I detest it.  Hate it.  Loathe it.

Mostly because my girls have always had wiggity-wiggity-wack allergies that have made meal planning difficult.  I’d find myself, at night, being a short order cook because one can have dairy, but the other can’t.  Cater to the toddler, cater to the preschooler, cater to the current pregnancy cravings, cater to the husband who is shedding pregnancy weight.  You read that right.  Apparently when your wife is pounding all the food she can find, it can be difficult to not join her in her endeavors.

And then we were thrown for a loop a couple of weeks ago.  Both girls had allergy testing again, and I had whispered little prayers that they had at least outgrown the peanut allergy.  Peanut butter, darling, I want you in my life.

Instead, we added more allergies to the list.  What the what!?

There are some differentiations between who’s allergic to what, but as a whole, we need to eliminate dairy, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, and mustard.  A little overwhelming.

When both girls were born, I had to alter my diet while nursing them.  They weren’t reacting well when I ate dairy, etc.  Drastically changing your diet when you’ve got a newborn and little sleep is a hard pill to swallow, so in an act of solidarity and also in an effort to preserve sanity when the new babers arrives in a month, I am going on the same diet that they are.

Plus, I’m pretty sure it’s mean to eat fluffy buttermilk pancakes in front of children who can’t have any.  :)

Shoot.  I need to meal plan, bittylutions-style.  Forget 30 day rotating calendars, I just need a solid week of meals that I can use over and over again while we figure out what our family can eat.  I am totally okay with feeding my family the same thing for lunch every day.  We’ll get fancy with the recipes someday, but as of right now, I just want to be able to serve a square meal without losing my mind.

So, I scoured the internet, emailed food manufacturers for details (“Could you please send me a list of your products that do not contain the following allergens?”), and considered general toddler + preschooler picky-ness.  (Baby Shark treats my amazing lentil soup with disdain, and Rembot has an issue with fresh fruits and their textures.)

I’m starting off with breakfast, and am hoping that I’ll have a lunch meal plan by the end of the week.  Dinner?  Errr..  I’ll tackle that next week.

Here is my very extensive breakfast meal plan.

 

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Don’t be overwhelmed.  I know it’s a lot to take in.  :)

Smoothies + cereal, seven days a week.  Smoothies are a beautiful way to ensure that my girls get some of the nutrients they’d be lacking otherwise with a restrictive diet.

I start with a base of frozen fruit + coconut milk or frozen fruit + juice.  If I’m doing mixed berries, I’ll add a half cup of frozen spinach (the dark berries mask the green).  We’ll also add a tablespoon of chia seeds or hemp protein.  Top that off with a little honey or agave nectar, and boom.  Breakfast.

Everything sits in the freezer, and I’ve got a basket in the pantry for the dry goods.  I can walk into my kitchen and, even with my antiquated blender, have smoothies made in three minutes or less.  Honest.  I timed myself.

(Note: Kristen from Rage Against the Minivan has one of her children on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet, and wrote a great post about hiding healthy stuff in smoothies, if you’re looking for some ideas.)

And then a bowl of cereal topped with rice milk.  After some research and emailing, I found a couple of brands of allergy-free cereal that the girls love.  Seriously, so easy.  I can have a nutritious breakfast on the table in less than the time it takes to do the Peanut Butter Jelly Time dance.

Where they at, where they at…

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

dumb mom March 7, 2012 at 9:00 am

We drink smoothies at the casa every day of life. They are easy. And my Dudes don’t like eating “raw” fruit. And I like things that taste sweet. And they are fast. And everyone wins. Especially me.

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Roo March 7, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I need to get a better blender! Have I told you that I have to stir the concoction WHILE the blender is going and I accidentally chopped up a wooden spoon doing that? :)

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Jennifer March 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Splinters = extra fiber. :)

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Ha! :)

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Stace @ SavingStace.com March 7, 2012 at 9:09 am

Oooh…we love smoothies at our house too and I LOVE that you can hide almost anything in there. :) Sometimes, if we’re looking for something a little more filling, we will put some cereal right on top of the smoothie and let the kiddos eat it with a spoon. Then it feels like a “meal”.

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Roo March 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Ooh, that’s a fun idea, Stace! :)

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Lindsey Mattei March 7, 2012 at 9:32 am

I forever have told you, that I LOATHE the kitchen with a non-picky, it can be green and texture-y, non-allergic (for the most part), little girl. It is just a natural hate. :) But you, you are my hero, for just being able to not cry on the kitchen floor every day. I love you and your ability to do things my brain could not even handle thinking about, let alone doing.

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Roo March 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm

If I cry on the kitchen floor, can you talk me down? Cause that may happen eventually.

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Chrissy January 15, 2013 at 2:47 pm

My kids have enough food issues for ten kids and trust me…Mama crying on the kitchen floor has occurred. It can be so overwhelming, especially when it changes on you. I feel ya! We are four years into this now and it is sort of okay now….but it is a drag at times. Thank goodness we get healthier kids out of feeding them differently or I would probably have a very fancy mental breakdown.

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Kelly {the Centsible Life} March 7, 2012 at 9:42 am

LOVE this-so glad you found some breakfast meals that work. You know my meal plan is basically like the same meals over and over and over again right? It makes it so much easier, and I now have a full year of meals planned. BOOM.

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Roo March 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I aspire to be you one day, Kelly!

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Jessi March 7, 2012 at 9:54 am

Hiding spinach in a smoothie = GENIUS! I’m going to try this with my husband tonight. Please don’t tell him. I honestly believe he’d move out if he knew I had such a thing plotted. I’m loving the meal plan so far. We don’t have food allergies to work around in our house, just picky eaters who make nearly no time to sit down and I find myself with the same overwhelming feeling about providing a square meal on the go. Thanks for Kristen’s link, too! I’m looking forward to checking out her creations.

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Roo March 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Kristen talks about hiding anything green in a sports cup with a lid and a straw! Might work for your husband! :) I know if you have a super diesel blender, you won’t be able to see any green at all. :)

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Eileen March 7, 2012 at 10:01 am

Hello,

I’ve been reading your blog for awhile, but I’ve never commented. Thank you for this post. My two year old daughter has food allergies, too. She is definitely allergic to eggs and dairy (major hives). She tested positive for oranges, sesame, almonds, and peanuts (everything I asked them to test her for). I want to differentiate here, because (I believe) there is a 50% false positive rate for allergy testing. I’m not sure I heard the doctor right over the screams of my daughter after the scratch test. Since then, we have given my daughter oranges, sesame, and almonds (she has been totally fine). Really, I didn’t have the guts to try it, but my mother felt the need to make sure, and gave her stuff when I wasn’t around :o/

Anyway, my point is NOT that you should go against what your doctors are advising, but just know that there are false positives to allergy tests. Also, I don’t know if your daughters are allergic to sunflower seeds, but there is sunflower seed butter. You might want to also check out Asian food stores. They have a lot of noodles and stuff made from rice. Even dessert-y stuff made from sticky rice. For our family, the go-to dinner is sauteed chicken thighs with ginger, some kind of vegetable, and white rice. Quinoa has protein, but my daughter hates it. She will brush it off her tongue with her hand. I also use ‘The Food Allergy Mama’s baking book’ by Kelly Rudnicki. I’m not a good baker at all, but it’s pretty easy to follow. She has recipes for pancakes and waffles, too, but I haven’t tried them yet. I made my daughter’s birthday cake from this book, though.

OK, sorry for going on and on… best of luck to you!

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Roo March 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Hi Eileen!

Thanks so much for commenting!

I’ve read about false positives before, and I would love for that to be the case for my girls. Their reactions are so varied that it’s hard to pinpoint what causes what.

For example, peanuts will send Rembot into severe respiratory distress… same for Baby Shark and dairy. But wheat and soy? We suspect that those two are causing asthma and eczema.

A couple months ago we gave Rembot mustard, and she kept complaining that her tongue hurt and her mouth felt funny. Didn’t put two and two together, but now we realize that it was because she had a mild reaction.

So.. sigh, it’s a process, isn’t it? We’re getting bloodwork done soon, and are eliminating all of the allergens from their diets for now to see if all of the asthma and eczema clear up for good.

We’ve started making brown rice pasta. The girls love it! Thanks so much for that book recommendation! I will check it out!

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Kat March 7, 2012 at 10:06 am

I’m applauding you right now–standing up at my desk and doing that slow roll applause (yes, all alone, but still….). It’s really tough, what you’re dealing with. I’ve been there, AM there, and it’s a daily thing trying not to let yourself get caught in the feelings of inadequacy. And people won’t get it, although few will say anything TO you. We have gluten-free, soy-free, and lactose-free…and a vegetarian husband who wants me to give up my chicken (but there are days it’s the only protein I get!) You’ll find all sorts of helps out there…there are literally tons of books for feeding kids with special diets. The challenge will be when they hit school, but by then you’ll have a plan-of-attack in place. :)

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Roo March 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Oh my gosh, I love a slow cap!!! :)

Rembot’s in preschool, so I’m tackling the “what to pack in a lunchbox” dilemma now, but I’m confident that we’ll master it! :)

You’re right about people not getting it. I hate to seem like a hovering parent, and I realize that it takes some getting used to… Years ago I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about giving a Reese’s peanut butter cup to a child. Now I never give a child food unless the parent has specifically cleared it.

Some days I want to put my kids in t-shirts that say “Please don’t feed me!” :)

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Chelsea March 7, 2012 at 10:17 am

If your girls can get past the green color, a really good smoothie is: mango, peaches, spinach, water. I found it on pinterest, and my 6 and 3 year old LOVE them. They ask me to make one everyday.

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Roo March 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Oooh, sounds great! I’ll have to try to track that down on Pinterest. :)

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Chelsea March 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm

ok, so there are bananas too, but I don’t always put those in. http://lindawagner.net/blog/2011/03/green-smoothie-for-weight-loss/ is the site that pinterest took me to for the recipe.

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Thank you!!

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Katie March 7, 2012 at 10:46 am

I feel your pain, sistah. Really, really, really. Years and years of testing, doctors, elimination diets, water and (no bread!) whatever, trying to improve the health and sleeping habits of daughter and me. Ex. Haus. Ting. And I didn’t have a new baby on the way!! SO, I know you’ve tried practically everything, and I’m here to give you one more tool you can roll your eyes at. G’head. I’ll wait. Done? Good. I will email you with this fabulous tool that you can print out, wad up and throw away.

For what it’s worth, we’re both pretty damn good now. We eat stuff I’m sure we shouldn’t, but we mostly eat pretty well. Nobody in our house is dying of food allergies, obesity or anorexia, which I count as a win. Not Charlie Sheen-style, but a win nonetheless.

Good luck to you. If you were closer, I’d make you a cubic asston of smoothies and have them frozen for you. That’s what i do, then the kids (11 and 14) can nuke them to desired consistency. That will be very helpful when people pop in and say, “What can I do to help?”.

Kisses to you and yours, Boo!

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Roo March 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Got your email!! Thank you SO much. I’ll be checking it out soon!

xo

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Malaika March 7, 2012 at 11:03 am

I HATE meal planning too, and we don’t even have dietary restrictions to deal with! More power to ya, girl! Although, I have to say, those smoothies sound yummy!

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Roo March 7, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Thanks, Malaika! And totally try it! :)

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Paulina J! March 7, 2012 at 11:09 am

I loathe meal planning with the passion of 1,000 burning suns. Especially because my husband is on a completely different wavelenght than me when it comes to food. He would rather go pay $7 for a salad than have one at home. Oh well.

In regards to allergies, I wanted to re-share this link: http://www.allergykids.com

They have recipes, ideas, research, news, stories etc.

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Roo March 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I will bookmark this link and remember you every time I hit it up! Thanks, girl! :)

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Heather Groves March 7, 2012 at 11:13 am

You are my hero momma. I would not be able to deal with it all never mind being pregos in the process.

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Roo March 7, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Thanks, Heather! xo

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Natasha March 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm

The Magic Bullet is on sale at target right now…just sayin ;)

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Roo March 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Haha, I don’t need an excuse to make a trip to Target, but this is a good one. Thanks, Natasha!

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Natasha March 7, 2012 at 12:39 pm

And as an above poster said-check our Asian food stores! Rice milks & noodles, spring roll wrappers…you’d be amazed :) there’s a huge one we go to cuz my hubs is Vietnamese and an AHMAZING chef, and there’s so much stuff that’s not dairy/wheat etc. good luck :)

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Thank you! I currently get baby bok choy at the local Asian food store. I should start checking out the other aisles. :)

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Jennifer March 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Food allergies scare the bejeezus out of me. I have a friend whose sons had allergies like these. They eventually grew out of them so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Thanks, Jennifer! We’re told that barely any adults have milk and egg allergies, so we are totally hopeful. :)

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Nicole March 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Can you share which cereals you found that are allergy free?

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Well, I don’t want to make the claim allergy-free, BUT Nature’s Path’s version of Cheerios is safe for them (and tasty, so they say)!

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Pamela March 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Ohhhh we’re the same as you, ‘cept instead of an extra child, it’s the man who is allergic also.

Although different to you, I thrive on a culinary challenge so my life has been crazy exciting since we found out that everyone except me is allergic to everything. (heh)

Can you guys eat oats? You can buy ‘certified gluten-free’ oats if you need to. Use it to make porridge or homemade granola and also oat milk. Also I have a recipe for delish oat cookies that are wheat, egg and dairy free (and you’d think taste-free, but no!). Also I have pancake and crepe recipes!

It really doesn’t suck so much when you stock your house full of things everyone CAN eat…it doesn’t so much feel like you’re missing out.

xx

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:18 pm

I would love to see the oat cookie recipe if you feel so inclined to pass it along, Pamela. :)

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jennifer March 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm

I can’t beleive I’ve never tried smothies with my 4yr old boy. He is so picky! grilled cheese and chicken nuggets is all he will eat and not homemade nuggets. they have to be the store bought processed ones! But he likes the smoothies and McD’s so we will so be making them at home!

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Roo March 10, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Yes, try it! Good luck! :)

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Tamara June 14, 2012 at 5:52 am

Just stumbled across your blog. Had myself some good laughs, and I’m relieved to know that someone else also has a basement full o’ crap. Maybe I could make me some bittylutions about that. ;)

I feel your pain with the meal planning. On an elimination diet for my son with Asperger’s. Oy. Takes all the fun out of food. BUT…I wanted to share a couple of blogs that have been helpful for me, in case you’re interested (though you may have run across them already). thespunkycoconut.com and lexieskitchen.com. And lately I’ve been loving this recipe (http://mariahealth.blogspot.com/2012/02/quesadillas.html)for wraps…fantastic for all sorts of things. If I use water & beat it a bit longer than called for, it makes AWESOME pizza crust. Just add some bottled spaghetti & hamburger…don’t need the cheese. Mmmm. Good luck!

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Roo June 14, 2012 at 8:41 am

Haha, I definitely need to make some basement bittylutions.

Thanks for those resources! I’ll definitely check them out! :)

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