Let's be honest, food allergy moms have a certain stereotype. They are often the all involved helicopter moms--they have to be in order to keep their kids safe. Recently I saw on Facebook a petition to stop Kellogg's from adding peanut flour to their Keebler and Austin crackers (see below).
I will be honest, I don't eat snack cracker packs because without the peanut flour they are all still unsafe for me. But, let's take a moment to consider what people are getting up in arms about. Parents are getting upset over sandwich crackers. Sandwich crackers that already contain flavors unsafe for their children. Sandwich crackers that if we are being honest here are filled with nothing but low quality, nutritionally subpar ingredients.
What I am writing to you about is about more than the peanut flour in the crackers. What upsets me is the fact parents who petition things like peanut flour in one brand of sandwich crackers unintentiaonlly make life harder for their food allergic kids. Kellogg's is changing their ingredients in an effort to champion healthier products and many people view food allergy parents as standing in the way of their mission that will ultimately impact many more kids than the 3 million kids with peanut allergies. People view this petitioning the same way they view food allergy parents as standing in the way of their child's school party or peanut butter and jelly sandwich at lunch. It adds more stigma and makes people less likely to consider legitimate requests.
But what is most detrimental is what it does to us kids with food allergies. Growing up, everything is handed to us to make us safe. We are sat at peanut free tables, have a safe box of treats and learn to expect that life is going to be adapted to fit our needs. The truth is life isn't like that. As a college student first hand I have learned that there isn't always going to be alternatives offered at parties or nut free tables in the cafeteria. I understand the safety of peanut free tables in schools but unfortunately there is no allergy free table in life. Part of growing up is learning how do manage different social situations. If we are constantly kept in a bubble, we will never learn how to care for ourselves in the real world--potentially leading to an increased number of reactions in our teenage years.
Petitioning crackers and getting upset about something that is out of your control is teaching your child to expect to be adapted to. Going into life with that attitude is not only going to make your child disliked but set them up for the false sense of the world revolving around their needs. So please, instead of petitioning the inevitable addition of peanut flour to kellogg's snack crackers use the situation as a learning experience. Teach your child that ingredients change all the time and it is important to check foods every time they eat them, even if they were previously safe. Teach your child the importance of adaptation and accommodation--sandwich crackers are simple to make (recipe below). Most of all, use it to teach them that it isn't worth getting upset about little things. Living with food allergies, it is so easy to get upset and frustrated over the frustrations of managing a life-threatening condition that it is important to remember that getting upset over every little sandwich cracker type situation is only going to lead to a life of frustration and disappointment.
A Teen With Food Allergies
P.S I have included my allergy friendly, peanut flour free, sandwich cracker recipe below:
-1 Box safe crackers
-1 Box safe spread of choice
Instructions: Remove first cracker from package. Cover one side of the cracker with safe spread. Top with second cracker. Repeat until desired number of cracker sandwiches have been made.
P.P.S I would love to have a friendly conversation with anyone who would like to comment below. I do ask that you keep any personal attacks to yourself.