Best Brands for Kids With Food Sensitivities
For families dealing with conditions such as gluten sensitivity and lactose intolerance, it can be challenging to find convenient, tasty meals and snacks that work for everyone. Thankfully, supermarket shelves are now well stocked with more inclusive fare from trusted name brands. The next time you're updating the grocery list, look for these products.
Note: Lactose intolerance is not the same as a dairy allergy, as some products meant for lactose intolerance may still contain dairy. When purchasing a product, always examine the ingredients list. If you still have questions or concerns about a particular item, contact the manufacturer directly.
Betty Crocker's Bisquick Mix (Gluten-Free)
Gone are the days when a gluten-intolerant child had to miss out on the delights of fresh-baked biscuits, fluffy pancakes, golden waffles, or homemade pizza. Bisquick Gluten Free Pancake and Baking Mix now contains rice flour and potato starch. There are also Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownie and Gluten Free (Devil's Food and Yellow) Cake mixes, along with Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. For Sunday brunch, spice up the pancake mix with a dash of cinnamon and fruit (strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries). Skip the syrup in favor of peanut butter or more fresh fruit.
Chex Cereals (Gluten Free)
Six flavors (Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Corn, Honey Nut, and Rice) of this popular cereal and ultimate party food are now gluten-free, and they have only 10 grams of sugar or less per serving. For a festive party mix, combine your favorite flavor of Chex with dried or fresh fruit, almonds, popcorn, and a dash of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Add party hats, some good music, and let the fun begin!
Kellogg's Rice Krispies (Gluten Free)
With the release of Kellogg's Rice Krispies Gluten Free cereal, allergy-prone kids can now take advantage of a little snap, crackle, and pop. Made with whole-grain brown rice, the updated take on this breakfast favorite pairs well with skim milk and fruit. For an easy travel snack, make gluten-free Rice Krispies treats mixed with dried cherries or mini chocolate chips.
PediaSure Sidekicks (Gluten and Lactose Free)
For years, Abbott has been producing PediaSure shakes that have vitamins, minerals, and protein to help balance out a picky eater's uneven diet and help her grow. Now, PediaSure SideKicks shakes have fewer calories and less fat than the regular shakes, they're lactose- and gluten-free (but do not give to children with galactosemia), and they come in three flavors (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry). Each SideKicks shake also contains 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 25 essential vitamins and minerals for kids who are missing nutrients. For kids who don't like shakes, PediaSure SideKicks Clear is a clear nutrition drink that comes in two flavors (tropical fruit and wild berry) and has no artificial colors, so it won't stain. However, Clear drinks are still not suitable for kids with milk allergies, and avoid giving more than one serving per day to children younger than 3.
Yoplait Yogurt (Lactose Free)
Available in delicious flavors such as French vanilla, strawberry, cherry, and peach, Yoplait Lactose Free Yogurt tastes every bit as delicious as their smooth and creamy regular yogurt. It's also 99 percent fat-free, and it has twice the calcium of the leading yogurt brand (providing 50 percent of the Daily Value in every cup). Entice kids to get their daily dose of calcium by preparing flavorful smoothies or healthy yogurt parfaits; simply combine or layer the lactose-free treat with chopped fresh fruit.
Snyder's of Hanover Pretzels (Gluten Free)
Snyder's has answered the heavy sighs of gluten-intolerant kids with two snack foods that are approved by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization: Gluten-Free Pretzel Sticks and Gluten-Free Mini Pretzels. Made with a mixture of cornstarch, tapioca starch, and potato starch, these snacks offer the crunchy goodness of pretzels -- without the gluten. Combine these pretzels with gluten-free chips or gluten-free popcorn for a yummy party mix.
Annie's Homegrown Rice Pastas (Gluten Free)
There's nothing worse than being told you have to miss out on macaroni and cheese, a classic American staple, because of a food allergy. But kids (and their parents) can now say yes to mac 'n' cheese with two gluten-free options: Annie's Gluten Free Rice Shells & Creamy White Cheddar, and Annie's Gluten-Free Microwavable Mac & Cheese. For a more balanced meal, pair with broccoli and red peppers.
Amy's Rice-Crust Pizzas (Gluten and Dairy Free)
Amy's has long been a proponent of all-natural, organic products, and now it has several nutritious, gluten-free options for pizza. The Rice Crust Cheese Pizza, available in two varieties, is made without a trace of gluten and is also dairy-free and lactose-free. Kids with lactose intolerance can also enjoy the Spinach Rice Crust Pizza; made with soy-based mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, it's also gluten-, dairy-, and lactose-free. The Roasted Vegetable Pizza is also cheese-, lactose-, dairy-, and gluten-free. Make meals fun -- have each family member add a favorite veggie or fruit topping to a plain pizza to see who can come up with the tastiest flavor combination.
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