Category Archives: candy

In My Pantry… what the bleep CAN your kid eat?!

The following is a list of Top-8 and Gluten Free foods that we keep at our house. Please be sure to always read the ingredients before feeding these foods to your child. Some of the foods listed below may have soy oil/lecithin in them.*

Bars:

  • glutino-gluten-free-breakfast-126176Glutino makes several “Nutragrain”- type beakfast bars that my boys love – a little too much. They will eat an entire box in one sitting if I let them, and they are kind of pricey; however, they are great if you are on the road and need an easy or quick breakfast.
  • Enjoy Life has several bars that are all Top-8 and Gluten Free. I love everything I have ever had from Enjoy Life – except for their bars. They are very heavy and dense. I hate saying that because I LOVE the products made by this company.
  • Peso BarsNature’s Path Enviro Kids has a few bars that are Top 8 and Gluten free. I think they are good, but Z hates them. When I bring home the ones with the penguin on the front, he screams, “Peso bars?! I hate Peso bars!” which is a reference to the Penguin in Octonauts). If it’s any consolation, Manimal thinks they rock. But, Manimal will eat anything. He ate a vintage Barbie shoe just this evening. No, in all seriousness, they taste like fruity rice crispy treats and aren’t that bad…

Bread:

  • All of Ener-G breads should be safe, but are like eating cardboard. If you can tolerate eggs, I would recommend Udi’s and Rudi’s Gluten-free breads.

Butter Replacement:

  • When baking, use spectrum shortening or coconut oil (you should be able to use it just as you would butter).
  • To flavor things like potatoes or popcorn, simply use canola oil and salt. It tastes VERY similar to butter. In fact, I am often so lazy, I don’t even waste time getting butter out of the fridge, I just use canola oil – I don’t have to wait for it to melt.

Candy

There are several Top-8 free candy’s on the market (the below list is not comprehensive. Feel free to add any that you may know of in the comments below). Unfortunately, most of them are chocked full of food colorings (namely red food dye).

  • Peeps (most of them are top-8 and GF)
  • Smarties products, including candy necklaces
  • Star burst Original Fruit chews
  • Starburst jelly beans, GummiBurst
  • Mike and Ikes
  • Hot Tomales
  • Swedish fish – Red, Assorted and Aqua life
  • Life Savers hard and soft candies
  • Sweet tarts
  • Heide Gummi Bears and several other Hiede products
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Dum Dums Spangler Candy Co. said the following about Dum Dum Lolli pops: There is a trace amount of soy oil in the lubricant that we use in our cooking kettles. This soy oil has been refined, bleached, and deodorized and all of the proteins have been removed.

Cereal:

  • Chex (all the GF versions of Chex are safe for my kids). The Hy-Vee and ALDI knock-offs are also safe, but the Walmart brand “may contain gluten” so avoid it.
  • Kix Cereal. My kids go crazy when they eat the Berry ones because of the food coloring.
  • Trix Cereal: We use caution with this cereal. This is the most tantrum-triggering food I have found for my boys (other than gluten). On the rare occation we buy this ceareal, it is only as a small treat right before bed.
  • Cereal Gorilla munchNatures Path Enviro Kids Cereals – Many cereals of this brand are gluten and top-8 free, and my kids really like them. Unfortunately, they are sort of pricey, so we only buy them when they are on sale.

 

Chips/Crunchy Snacks:

  • Freetos (we also buy the ALDI brand for $.99 per bag, but they have soy lecithin. Soy lecithin doesn’t seem to bother my boys anymore). I believe the flavored Freetos are not Top-8 free, so read the ingredients!
  • Corn Tortilla Chips: Most corn chips are safe, but always read the ingredients. Sometimes they squeeze things like soy or oats in them. In fact, some of ALDI’s corn chips say “naturally gluten free” but have oats in them. I doubt these chips are made with specially-grown oats, so I have never given them to my boys.
  • Pretzels: Glutino and Snyders of Hanover (both contain soy oil/lecithin). Glutino’s pretzels glutinoare the best hard pretzels in my opinion, even over gluten ones, which makes sense since they are around $8 a bag!!! Energ-G makes some as well, but these are for highly allergic people and thus have very little flavor.
  • Popcorn: unfortunately, I don’t know of any microwave popcorn that is dairy-free. When my boys want popcorn I make it on the stove top (an air popper would work too) in canola or corn oil. Instead of using butter, drizzle canola over it before salting. I can barely taste a difference between that and buttered popcorn. Sooo good.
  • Kettle corn – several bagged kettle corns are safe. Orville Redenbacher makes a really good one that my kids plow through.Kettle corn
  • Potato Chips – Most potato chips should be safe; however, beware of Pringles, which has gluten. Original Stax are safe for my kids but contain soy oil.

Convenience Main dishes:

  • Hot Dogs – many hot dog brands are gluten and top-8 free. Oscar Meyer even makes ones that are nitrate free, so if you or little ones can’t have nitrates, these are a great solution.
  • Ian’s chicken nuggets – These are really tasty!ians chick nug
  • Mission corn tortillas and tostadas are also top-8 and Gluten Free. We also buy the ALDI tostadas, but they have soy oil/lecithin.

Cookies:

  • We trust anything by Enjoy Life. My favorite are the crispy cookies, but the hubs prefers the soft-baked cookies. They are all pretty good (except their bars – avoid their bars).
  • Hodgson Mills has a great mix, but other companies make them too. See my recipes for egg and butter replacers.

Egg Replacer:

  • Make your own egg replacer by mixing a tablespoon of ground/milled flax seed and 2 table spoons of water (stir them together and let them sit for several minutes until they are goopy like an egg-Do you like my scientific lingo?).
  • Ener-G makes an egg -replacer you can buy at any health food store.

Frozen Treats

  • Most popsicles are gluten and top-8 free – yay!
    Sorbet is a great replacement for ice cream. Don’t confuse it with Sherbet, which has dairy.
  • Coconut Ice Cream – I’ve never tried it, but I hear it really good.

Fruit Snacks:

  • Many fruit snacks and candies made by Betty Crocker (a General Mills company) are gluten and top-8 free, and are safe for my boys; however, they go nutso when they eat certain food colorings (i.e. they have trouble falling asleep and they throw lots-o-tantrums).
  • fruit snacksLunch Buddies All Natural Assorted Fruit Snacks (ALDI)– These are soooo good, and they are made with fruit juices and natural vegetable dyes (like red cabbage), so you are not dealing with crazy children when the food coloring hits their systems. I think they taste better because they don’t taste artificial like other fruit snacks. We buy these by the truckload!

 

Milk

  • Rice Dream – I have not found any other rice milk brands out there that are soy free. I am sure some exist, so if you know of any, please feel free to post comments! The people who run Rice Dream are great, and if you write them telling them how much you appreciate their product they will send you kick-butt coupons to use on their products.
  • Almond milk – I know almonds are a top-8 allergen, but if you can tolerate tree nuts, almond milk is better tasting in my opinion than rice milk, and it tastes more like cows milk. It also makes me feel more full than cows milk or rice milk. I often find it cheaper than Rice Dream if I use coupons or buy it at ALDI. Unlike rice milk, every almond milk I have found is free of soy and other top allergens. But please, always read the label!

Pancakes/Waffles:

  • Be sure to check out my egg replacer/butter replacers when making mixes!
  • Hodson Mills makes a really good pancake mix I buy at Walmart for about $3.50 a box
  • Bob’s Red Mill has a good pancake mix; although it’s good, I still perfer the flavor and texture of the Hodson Mills mix better.

Peanut Butter Replacement:

Sunflower Seed Butter is the BEST replacement for peanut butter around. It is very similar in flavor and texture to peanut butter. In fact, when it’s in a “PB&J,” I forget I am not eating peanut butter.

  • Trader Joe’s Sunflower Seed butter is soy-free and costs around $5.
  • Sunbutter makes some, but it has soy oil in it. You can find it at Target (and probably Walmart) for around $6.50).

*some of these foods may have soy lecithin/oil, so always read the ingredients! Usually, soy oil/lecithin is refined and the proteins are removed. Because of this, it is usually not an issue for those who are intolerant/allergic to soy. However, my boys could not handle any soy oil until they were about a year and a half or older.

Easter and the Case of the Exploding Diaper

Manimal EasterYesterday was Easter and we had a fun Easter-egg hunt at church and one in our backyard.  It was a great day.

Last night was… not so great. Manimal clearly is still intolerant to dairy and soy, and his waking every two hours last night proved that.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a plan for keeping Manimal away from all the candy with dairy and soy (namely the Tootsie Rolls, which he can open by himself). On top of that, saying, “No, no, that’s an ouchy in your tummy,” doesn’t work on him like it did for Lil Z, the ever-present rule-follower. Unlike his brother, Manimal is a risk-taker, so regardless of what we tell him, he does what he wants when our backs are turned.

By 10 a.m. yesterday, Manimal had already ingested several Tootsie Rolls. by 1 p.m., his pants had erupted onto the living-room floor and his belly was distended (The Hubs thought one of the boys had spit chocolate onto the floor, but to his disgust – it wasn’t chocolate). After that, we were conscientious of making sure Manimal didn’t get any more dairy or soy, but unfortunately his big brother was not so conscientious of where he left his Easter basket, and Manimal took full advantage of Lil Z’s forgetfulness.

Z dumps basketBy bedtime both boys had trouble falling asleep (it was a combo of food coloring, sugar overload, and excitement from a fun day); however, Manimal had even more trouble falling asleep than is normal, I’m sure because his tummy hurt. Unfortunately, he woke five or six times last night to be held as he battled painful gas and acid burps (it was a blur, so I am foggy on the exact number of times he awoke).

The lesson learned: have a better plan for situations like this. Immediately remove offending foods from sight and and/or reach and hide them. Feed them to older children in secret. This is the tactic that we do at our house with Cheetos – Lil Z can eat them during Manimal’s nap time when Manimal won’t feel left out or upset that he isn’t able to eat them.

I am hoping that Manimal sleeps better tonight, and I am thankful my children don’t have life-threatening reactions to offending foods. We’ve already had a diaper explosion this morning, and I am assuming I will deal with more today. I have also been seeing the bloody-blister diaper rash forming on his bottom, and have been trying to get ahead of it by treating with with lots of ointments… but I will save the topic of diaper-rashes for the next post.

boys with baskets

Lil Z, The Hubs and Manimal act goofy after a rip-roaring Easter Egg Hunt.

Safe Candy – just in time for Easter!

Candy collage

Lil Z’s first Easter was tough. We weren’t sure what he could have, and at that point we were still slowly introducing foods into his diet. The only commercially-made sweets we let him eat that Easter were Peeps and Starburst Jelly Beans.

Below is a list of Top 8 and gluten free candies that we let our boys have. I didn’t include candies with soy oil or soy lecithin, even though for many allergy sufferers they are safe (because they don’t have soy protein in them). I felt like Lil Z and Manimal had trouble with soy oil/lecithin when they were really little, but now it doesn’t seem to be a problem, at least in small doses.Unfortunately, all of these candies are jam packed with food colorings which bother my children (hello tantrums and insomnia!).

Please read and double check ingredients before giving your child any foods. This is not a comprehensive list, it is just a great place to start. I found a wonderful Web site today that had a breakdown of allergy ingredients used in a lot of mainstream candies. It’s worth checking out!

Top 8 and Gluten-Free Candy Options:

    • Peeps (most of them)
    • Smarties products, including candy necklaces
    • Star burst Original Fruit chews
    • Starburst jelly beans, GummiBurst
    • Mike and Ikes
    • Hot Tomales
    • Swedish fish – Red, Assorted and Aqua life
    • Life Savers hard and soft candies
    • Sweet tarts
    • Heide Gummi Bears and several other Hiede products
    • Jolly Ranchers
    • Dum DumsSpangler Candy Co. said the following about Dum Dum Lolli pops: There is a trace amount of soy oil in the lubricant that we use in our cooking kettles. This soy oil has been refined, bleached, and deodorized and all of the proteins have been removed.

Peeps and other sweets


Easter was last week, and we were very nervous about what we would put in Z’s Easter Basket. I can count on one hand how many times Z has had candy (because I have been just too afraid he would get sick from it). When someone from church asked what candy he could have (so they could be prepared for their annual Easter egg hunt) the only candy I knew off the top of my head that was gluten free and probably safe were Peeps. Someone from church was so thoughtful, she specially bought Z his own peeps (several boxes) so that he could enjoy something sweet like the other kids.

Here are some pictures of of Z enjoying a peep for the first time.

We tried out another candy that Z seems to tolerate well: Starburst jelly beans. He loves them.

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