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Allergies? Vegetarian? Halal? How to find food everyone can eat

Allergies? Vegetarian? Halal? How to find food everyone can eat

by FoodMaestro | 9 February 2016

Crafts on sea reviews the FoodMaestro app 

Sometimes doing the family food shop is easy, you buy the same stuff week in, week out, job done. Sometimes it gets a bit more tricky. Allergies. Your mum visits and she’s vegetarian. Your kids have friends over from school and they’ll only eat Kosher food. Sometimes mealtimes get surprisingly complicated. Most parents will know someone who has an allergy to something and if you don’t then it’s unlikely that you won’t know anyone that follows a vegetarian, vegan, halal or kosher diet. It’s important to make sure that you’re offering people the right food not just because it’s the polite or right thing to do but because it’s also potentially fatal. One of my son’s friends has a fish anaphylaxis and I really remember feeding my own kids fish for lunch one day before remembering we were due to meet her an hour later, cue a rather panicked phone call to their mum while we worked out if the playdate would have to be cancelled or if a heavily supervised wash and toothbrush would suffice. When your child giving another a hug and a kiss can potentially make someone really ill, you do your best to make sure that doesn’t happen. Thankfully though in the minefield of mealtimes there’s a great new app which makes it easier for parents to plan mealtimes with ease.

The Food Maestro app has been created in partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital and is a great little tool that helps you quickly find out what’s ok to use and what isn’t. You can set up profiles for family members, browse suggestions from dietitians for ideas on safe foods such as kids breakfasts with no milk or wheat and create shopping lists for food that you know can be eaten and not just sat in the freezer.

We’ve been trying it out to find foods that my kids will eat and that also are suitable for their friends, my husband who has a kiwi allergy and my mum who is vegetarian. The same as with most people, I know the basics, I don’t buy my husband kiwis, I don’t buy my mum a steak, but where I found this useful as a mum is also finding out the things that people could eat that I didn’t expect. Looking through at pasta sauces I found a puttanesca sauce with a smiley yellow face next to it indicating that said it was fine to eat. A quick double check and the ingredients list that the app helpfully brings up confirmed that it contained no anchovies making it a quick store cupboard meal that is now safe to feed my mum or my son’s friend with a fish allergy. It’s really great to be able to find things that can be eaten and not just rule things out!

I also really liked that you could make profiles for different people, so while when we hunt for foods for friends I can see what food has meat in it won’t be suitable for my mum but will be ok for other people. I was a vegetarian myself for eight years and although I thought I knew what I could and couldn’t eat there were plenty of times I got it wrong as somethings you just never think to check the ingredients list! It’s great to have something to hand that can check food for you, making sure that every meal or snack you serve is ok to do so! 

Read the full review