Recipe Rehab Takes on Food Allergies!

FARE is pleased to announce that we’re kicking of Food Allergy Awareness Week with a special food-allergy-friendly episode of the popular CBS morning program Recipe Rehab! In this special episode, sponsored by FARE, the chefs in this cooking competition will take on a double challenge—making a family carrot cake recipe healthier and safe for the Savant family’s two children who have multiple food allergies.

FARE is thrilled to be sponsoring this episode to help increase awareness among the public about the challenges faced by families managing food
allergies. Tune in this Saturday, May 10 or Sunday, May 11 (check local listings) to see which recipe the Savant family chose!

We asked Jen Savant some questions about her family’s experience on the show. Read more of this behind-the-scenes interview!


The Savant Family’s Food Allergy Story

We discovered our oldest daughter had food allergies at a young age. When she was nine months old, she stopped having an appetite, rejected foods, and started to have hives. After her 1st birthday, when she avoided the cake altogether, we started to get a hint that she may be having food allergies.  After her first experience of anaphylaxis and months of food diaries and testing, we discovered food allergies were present.

Along came her brother a few years later and we noticed his food allergies presenting themselves at a very early age as well. Both have experienced anaphylaxis and carry emergency packs wherever they go. They also both have asthma and wear allergy bracelets.

Having two children with severe food allergies is challenging, but with the two of them together, it has become a family lifestyle. We look for the blessings about the food allergy lifestyle and enjoy finding food inspirations to keep them on the track to experiencing “everyday regular food” just like everyone else.

Why did you make the decision to appear on Recipe Rehab? 

The opportunity to have our family appear on Recipe Rehab was a no brainer – to represent the food allergy community and to be inspired by new foods for our family and others like us – awesome! It was a great experience for our family to see that foods and recipes without their allergens present were getting some attention beyond our kitchen! It is often difficult to show up to birthday parties and family holidays without a good dish to share with everyone. To be a part of a food show for our family, well that is just something we couldn’t pass up, largely because we so often pass up a large portion of food experiences. This was a great opportunity for our family. We were honored to be a part of it.

What was it like being on the show?

It was an exciting day at our house being a part of the Recipe Rehab taping process. We definitely didn’t know what to expect but soon after meeting the producers and staff, we were comfortably set to enjoy the day. They were all very nice, respectful, and gracious. Camera crews came in to our kitchen and started to set up the production background- cameras, microphones, lighting, etc.  Instantly, our home became a set. The kids were over the moon excited just to see the course of events that were behind the scenes. We were all prepped with a morning meeting which downloaded us on the upcoming day events. The kids felt like adults and the taping was very fun.

What we enjoyed most was sharing a little bit about ourselves and having fun cooking and baking together with an outcome that the kids could enjoy. The whole process was fun for all of us but also great to share our food allergy story.

What are some of your cooking tips to those new to food allergies?

Obviously, label reading is our number one tip. Once that is underway, knowing the list of food substitutes and keeping your kitchen “safe” is very important. For us, we eliminated the bulk of food allergens from our kitchen, but it is also important to remember cross contact (if that is an issue for you) if there are food allergens nearby. From experience, we now keep sponges, cutting boards, knives, pans etc. allergen-free.  It is a small extra step but one that has proven beneficial in keeping our children safe.

Another tip is that we try to make the baked goods, snacks, etc. that we have to prepare, on one or two days a week only. We don’t want to feel trapped in the kitchen. Getting inspiration from cookbooks and other families managing food allergies keeps us feeling like we experience a variety of foods and have fun creating them. Visiting recipe blogs, magazines, and doing research on new allergy-friendly foods (what is new to the market, etc.) also helps to revitalize our family menus and snack ideas.

Savant Family’s Favorite Food Allergy-Friendly Snacks:

  • Homemade Granola and Granola Bars
  • Homemade Dairy Free “Cheese” crackers
  • Fruit Smoothies (sometimes frozen, to make popsicles)
  • Fresh Fruit (often better received when cut in to fun shapes!)
  • Fruit Leather
  • Homemade Hummus and Vegetables/chips
  • Cereals
  • Kale Chips!
  • Coconut Milk Yogurt
  • Homemade muffins (all sorts!)
  • Crackers with Apples
  • Veggies with homemade “dairy free” ranch dip

Tune in on on Saturday, May 10 to watch the Savant family’s episode!

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