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Ask The Allergy Chef: Tips or Advice for a Child with Food Allergies Starting Sports?

Ask The Allergy Chef: My Son with Food Allergies is New to Sports. Any Tips?

    Hi. My son will be playing youth sports for the first time when school starts back up this year. I feel like we have a good handle on his food allergies, but what special precautions should we take for sports? Any tips/advice you have are appreciated.

    Hello, and congratulations on becoming a sports mom! There are a lot of small things you’ll want to do to make the sports experience a smooth one for your son. As a fellow sports mom, I can share with you things that worked for us, and things to keep in mind as you start this journey.

    It Takes a Village

    Be sure your child’s coach is aware of their needs and action plan. Additionally, make friends with a few other parents who you can call on if needed.

    You’ll want to have at least one other person on the team keep safe packaged snacks for your child in their car in case you can’t make it for some reason.

    Your son should also keep safe snacks with him at all times.

    Designated Sports Bag(s)

    When my kids were younger and in a range of sports, I had bags of different colours, always loaded and ready to go. Bags included water bottles (in case we forgot the big one), packaged snacks, and their gear. With those bags, everything was smooth sailing for us.

    I opted to store the bags near the washer/dryer so that when outfits were washed, they went right into the bag. Your son’s bag should be labeled with his name, and safe packaged snacks should always be topped off. Aim for snacks that are OK in a range of weather conditions.

    If any snacks have chocolate, or pose a risk of leaking, store them in a baggie inside the sports bag.

    Have a Plan for Epi-Pens

    Your plan for pen management will vary based on your child’s age. Be sure you have a plan, and a backup pen. Also, don’t forget that epi-pens are temperature sensitive. Invest in the right kind of carrying case for your child’s pen(s).

    Depending on how old your son is, you may need to request that the coach be trained on how to use one. It’s always good to have an adult on hand that will know what to do in an emergency.

    Nerd Out Over Sports Nutrition

    I used to read a lot about sports nutrition to make sure my kids were getting what they needed, and I encourage you to do the same. For example, not every kid needs Gatorade. Make sure you know what your child’s needs are, then adapt where necessary.

    Think about hydrating foods, protein, quality fat, and simple carbs as you put together snacks and post-game meals. You’ll need to plan for foods that meet his needs both nutritionally, and based on his restrictions.

    If protein is a concern, check out Zego Foods Pure Protein Powder made from sacha inchi seeds. You could make a boosted drink with that if needed.

    Contact Allergy Concern

    If your son is managing contact allergies, gloves may be a critical piece of gear. In sports such as basketball, where kids are constantly touching the same ball, this can be an area of concern if food is eaten by players, during the game (or half time).

    It’s not always possible for players to wash up after eating, so make sure you have several sets of gloves that can be worn if necessary.

    Have Fun!

    More than anything, make sure your son is making friends, making memories, and having a blast playing sports (don’t forget to take lots of pics). My personal feeling is that the diagnosis shouldn’t hold our kids back. We as food allergy parents have to put in extra elbow grease, but I promise, it’s worth it.

    ~The Allergy Chef

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