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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Ari Update: Reintroducing Foods to My Daughter {+ Giveaway}


OK parents, hands up how many of you are always looking for snack ideas for your kids? No matter if it's for at home or you're packing them up to go to school/ daycare/ grandma's, sometime you just need something quick to grab (I know I did this morning with Liam- the kid doesn't stop eating!). If you've followed the blog for a while, you know that dietary restrictions and food sensitivities have had a big influence on what we eat, just like many other families. It can make things interesting for parents trying to navigate what their kids need to thrive and can limit food/ snack options, among other unique challenges that arise when your kids can't eat certain foods ('they have it, why can't I?'). Allergies/ sensitivities have become a major conversation as they seem to become more common, and it can be hard as a parent to know what to do- scary, even, if your child has a severe allergy- and sometimes it really comes down to trusting your gut instinct.

As of the beginning of September we started re- introducing foods back into Ari's diet after more than a year and a half of her going without things like dairy, peanuts, and almonds. Her stomach and digestion had been doing much better, so it came time to try some of the foods we'd been keeping out of her diet. Knock on wood, so far, so good. Going dairy and gluten free had the biggest impact on our family, so I tended not to talk about certain other foods, like nuts, that we also removed from her diet, but I know this is another common allergy/ sensitivity. I'm not going to pretend to understand all the finer details of allergies/ sensitivities, but when removing food from her diet I also learned how sensitive someone can become if they're never exposed to that allergen again; the body may develop a stronger reaction when it's not exposed to something for a long time, and peanuts/ almonds had me a little nervous when it came time to give them to her again. Luckily, we didn't have a problem, but it reminded me of the nerves that come with introducing foods to a baby for the first time- it's exciting, but you're also nervous to see if/ how they react. 

Now that she's eating almost everything again (she'll stay gluten free for the foreseeable future), it's been fun trying foods and snacks that she wasn't able to have before now. I know that foods like nuts, eggs, wheat, and milk can be biggies when it comes to allergies, but I've also learnt that completely avoiding them may not be the answer either, especially when it comes to introducing babies to foods that are common allergens (again, things like nuts, egg, wheat, milk, etc). This is a tough area for a parent to figure out, and I know our family sure has had some interesting experiences when it comes to food. But that doesn't mean you have to be scared to try foods with your kids/ babies. There are now studies showing that introducing rather than avoiding common allergens can help children grow up without allergies to foods like peanuts (I know this might sound counter- intuitive/ confusing). But by speaking with your paediatrician or family doctor/ naturopath, you might find out that you're able to give your child certain foods, even if you have concerns and/ or a family history of food allergies (please know I'm not trying to give medical advice, just a friendly suggestion as Mom who's gone through a lot with her own kid's health). And if you're a parent with a baby about to start solids or just looking for some tasty snacks for your kids, it's good to know what options are available. 


In the past I've shared about some of the snacks we've tried (convenience always seemed to be my biggest challenge when it came to gluten/ dairy free ideas), and we've recently been enjoying trying out Cheeky Monkey's Peanut Butter Puffs with the kids. These were actually the first peanut- containing food that we gave Ari since adjusting her diet, and they were a hit with both her and Liam. Sure, I was nervous, but I also knew we had to see how she'd do; she was never diagnosed with a severe allergy, just a strong sensitivity so I was cautiously optimistic that she'd be fine with them (and she was, yay!). 

I understand that peanuts pose an interesting challenge when it comes to packing lunches for school/ daycare, but I love having these as an option when we're at home or on a play date with friends, and even for taking to visit the grandparents. Both kids love them- who doesn't love puffy snacks?- and I like the attention to the quality of ingredients (they're 100% organic and non- GMO, and gluten free for starters). As we enter this new foodie phase in our house, I appreciate that fun snacks like this exist and that it's a convenient option I now have that isn't loaded with added sugars, weird ingredients, or preservatives. Somedays you just need something quick and easy, and these check all the boxes in my books. 

What I love about them:
- 100% organic & non- GMO ingredients
- gluten free
- no added sugars
- high protein
- baked, not fried
- no flavour extracts or trans fats
- no chemicals/ preservatives

If you want to find out more about introducing the 'Big Eight' foods known to cause allergies to your kids, check out this website for more helpful info. I know this can be a hot topic, so I'd love to hear how you handle(d) food allergies/ sensitivities with your kids. If you're curious about Cheeky Monkey & trying their snacks with your kids, visit their website to learn more.

...And speaking of trying out these tasty snacks with your kids- Scroll to the end of this post to enter to win a case of Cheeky Monkey Peanut Butter Puffs (12 bags) for your kids! Nom nom, happy snacking!









Visit the Cheeky Monkey website for more info & follow along on social media:

Facebook: Cheeky Monkey Peanut Butter Puffs
Instagram: @cheekymonkeypbpuffs
Twitter: @cheekymonkeypb

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Learn more at www.eattheeight.com