Allergy-Friendly Father’s Day Barbeque Recipes

Let Dad spend time doing what he does best – man the grill at your Father’s Day barbeque! These food allergy-friendly recipes for steak marinade and potato salad are perfect for dads and guests alike and free of the top eight food allergens.

Milk-free, Egg-free, Wheat-free, Peanut-free, Tree nut-free, Soy-free, Fish-free, Shellfish-free (Free of the Top Eight food allergens)

Steak Marinade

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (for soy-free), or tamari/wheat-free soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger, minced
  • 1 lb. steak (flank steak recommended)

In small bowl, whisk together soy sauce or balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, garlic, red wine vinegar, pepper, and ginger. Place steak in glass dish or large plastic bag; pour marinade over steak and cover or seal for several hours or overnight.

Spicy Potato Salad

  • 4 large red potatoes (about 2 lbs.)
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 (8 3/4-oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 6 green olives, sliced

Cook potatoes in boiling water 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Drain. Set aside until cool to touch. Cut potatoes into cubes; place in large bowl. Set aside. In small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, sugar, and salt; pour over potatoes. Toss gently. Cover and chill 1 hour. Stir in corn, carrots, and olives.

We hope you and your family have a great Father’s Day!

Father’s Day Guest Post: Pete and Dave, Founders of Skeeter Snacks

Dave & RemyIn this special Father’s Day guest post, food allergy dad Dave Leyrer discusses why all dads need to be educated about food allergies. Dave partnered with another food allergy dad, Pete Najarian, to start Skeeter Snacks, a line of cookies and snacks made specifically for those with tree nut and peanut allergies.

Tell us about your family and the food allergies affecting your family.

My wife and I have two children, and our 4-year-old son Remy is allergic to tree nuts and peanuts. Pete and his wife have two kids as well and his 12-year-old daughter Abby is also allergic to tree nuts and peanuts.

How do you manage food allergies in your family? What have been your biggest challenges?

At different ages you employ different strategies. With Remy we teach his older sister to be his advocate and protector as he learns what to avoid. Abby is older so the challenges are different—with pre-teens the job seems to be more about getting her to slow down and remember her allergies and to avoid peer pressure.

What advice would you give to other dads with kids with food allergies?

This is a team effort, and dads have to be as involved as moms. For example, dads who coach sports are often responsible for snack decisions for an entire team, and on most teams there are a variety of different allergies that need to be addressed. We think that all dads need to know about food allergies because whether their kids are allergic or not they are probably going to be tasked with providing snacks for allergic kids at one point or another.

Studies have shown that moms and dads react differently to food allergies in their families. In your experience, is that the case?  

There’s a perception that guys are a bit lazier on the margin, so some might think that dads don’t take it as seriously as we should. But in our experience dads are really on top of things. Pete and I probably take it more seriously than some dads considering we started a company that makes the kind of products we couldn’t find for our kids! Remy and Abby are the reasons we started Skeeter Snacks. We were frustrated consumers; we couldn’t believe that a brand didn’t exist that made it easy to be safe.

From all of us at FARE, we’d like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to Pete, Dave, and all food allergy dads!

EDITOR’s NOTE:  Skeeter Snacks is a FARE Corporate Partner and their products can be found at many of our FARE Walks for Food Allergy. 

Father’s Day Guest Post: Trials and Triumphs of a Peanut Allergy Dad

In honor of Father’s Day, we asked Michigan dad Tim Burns to write a guest blog post for us about what it’s like to be a father to a daughter with food allergies. Read on for Tim’s advice to other food allergy dads, and to learn more about a Halloween event that he spearheaded in his community geared toward creating an inclusive experience for kids with food allergies.
tim burns

Tell us about the food allergies in your family and how you manage the day to day challenges they can present.

A few years ago I was a first-time dad juggling the responsibilities of being a parent with a demanding professional career. Our twin son and daughter spent most of their weekdays either at daycare or being looked after by one of their grandmothers while my wife and I were at work.

One nice summer day I decided to take a day off to enjoy with my kids. My wife called me around lunch time. She had never given our children peanut butter before because she was worried about all the things she had read on the Internet about food allergies. She asked me to give some to my son and daughter so that if there was a problem I would be there to deal with it rather than a daycare provider or one of our mothers. I remember telling her it couldn’t be that big of a deal – no one in our family had food allergies, and I hadn’t heard anything about peanut allergies, so how bad could it be? Half an hour later I was in the emergency room dealing with a life-or-death situation; my 18-month-old daughter’s eyes and throat had swollen shut as she went into anaphylaxis from a severe reaction to the peanut butter I had given her.

It has been more than two years since that traumatic food allergy reaction. My daughter is four years old now and doing fine. Interestingly, her twin brother doesn’t have any food allergies. Here are a  few  ways we manage her food allergy:

  • not allowing peanut/tree nut ingredients or products that may contain these allergens into our house;
  • avoiding going to high risk places;
  • not letting her eat foods that were prepared in someone else’s home;
  • being active with informing people about her condition, and;
  • reading lots and lots of ingredient and warning labels.

Many of the changes impacting our family have been “little” things that I had simply taken for granted in the past. For example, I’m a big Detroit Tigers fan and going to the ballpark was a regular date night for my wife and me before we had kids. I had been planning on buying season tickets for our family. Now we only go as a family to the one baseball game a year where the Tigers sell tickets to a peanut allergy-friendly suite.  We don’t go out to get ice cream or buy dessert at restaurants because of ingredient and cross-contact issues. I rarely read ingredient labels before my daughter’s food allergy, now that’s standard operating procedure before she eats anything.

The biggest challenges with our daughter’s food allergy have been her own understanding of it and others peoples’ responses to it. My daughter knows she can’t eat “nuts” or she will get sick and have to go to the hospital, but she still really doesn’t grasp the details and dangers that this presents. I worry that if someone offered her candy or a cookie she would take it and eat it without thinking about it. Our other big challenge is that businesses often don’t understand that food can be dangerous without having peanuts as an ingredient because of cross-contact.

What advice would you give to other dads with kids who have food allergies?

Speak up! Most people don’t understand the seriousness and complexity of severe food allergies. I have to say that I was clueless myself until our family was impacted. You need to be your child’s most vigilant advocate by educating everyone and being willing to say no to others when it presents a risk to your child. It’s not easy or comfortable having to constantly speak up to a teacher or other parents to require and enforce rules that safeguard your child, but if you don’t do it, no else is likely to stand up for you.

Also it is unacceptable for your child to be excluded or isolated because of their food allergy. My daughter’s preschool started sending her to the office during snack time so they wouldn’t have to take precautions for her in the classroom. I stopped that quickly and we switched schools the next year. Be alert for behavior that excludes your child, and be prepared to intervene.

Food allergies don’t make life worse, they just make it different. We actually eat healthier now because we have more of a focus on our diet. Help your family make the best of the situation!

Studies show that moms and dads react differently to food allergies in their families.  In your experience is that the case?

My wife is definitely more active in researching information concerning my daughter’s food allergy than me. She is also more protective when it comes to restricting my daughter’s activities to limit her exposure to potentially dangerous situations. I don’t want my daughter to grow up in fear of her allergy, so I am more open to allowing her to go places and try things, as long as we take precautions to be safe.  I believe my wife and I do a nice job of balancing each other’s tendencies so that my daughter can experience a childhood that is both fun and safe.

Tell us about the Trick-or-Treasure event you started in your community.

Taking my daughter trick-or-treating has to be the most nerve-racking experience of my life. I try to stand in front of her to screen the candy first, but people have given her peanut butter cups before I could say anything, or have tried to give them to her even when I’ve said no. Some people have even argued with me at their doorstep that food allergies aren’t that big of a deal.

I loved Halloween as a kid and didn’t want my daughter, or other kids like her, to not be able to enjoy it, so I partnered with local businesses to create Trick-or-Treasure. This event allows children to go trick-or-treating for candy that has been prescreened to avoid peanuts and tree nuts, as well as comic books, toys, and other fun trinkets. Last year, we had Star Wars characters take photos with the kids, a bowling alley gave out passes for free games, and a magician made balloon animals.

This Halloween will be the third year we’ll he holding Trick-or-Treasure and we are expanding the event beyond peanut/tree nut to screen the candy we give out for the eight most common allergens. I don’t want to see any child ever have to be excluded from a fun time because of a food allergy. Helping local kids be able to enjoy Halloween has probably been my biggest success as a peanut allergy dad.

Thanks to Tim for encouraging inclusion for kids with food allergies in his community and for sharing this great advice with us. Happy Father’s Day!

Read more about Tim’s Halloween “Trick or Treasure” event>

FARE Food Allergy Fundraising Champion: David Serle

serleFood allergy moms and dads are often compared to superheroes: constantly on guard, protecting their kids and sometimes saving the day or even a life. But they’re also human, and can make mistakes. A mistake that David Serle made with his daughter Emma inspired him to start a project that is not only raising funds for FARE, but is also helping him to grow closer to his daughter and inspiring others.

It started one day while David was trying to help Emma become more independent and make breakfast for herself. In his haste, he pulled the wrong box of waffles from the freezer. The waffles contained wheat and egg, both of which Emma is allergic. David’s wife took Emma to the hospital to treat her reaction, and luckily Emma recovered, but David was devastated by his error.

As a way to apologize and show Emma through his actions that he was sorry, David decided to take on a challenge: to “Eat Like Emma” for 10 weeks. For every week that he avoids gluten, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, and shellfish, he will donate $5 to FARE.

Even more remarkable, David has recruited others to “Eat Like Emma.” Seven weeks after starting the challenge, 25 people have taken a pledge to change their diet along with him. We asked David to tell us more about his idea:

What is your connection to food allergies?

My 8-year-old daughter is allergic to wheat/gluten, egg, all nuts, sesame and shellfish.

Tell us about your fundraiser. How did you think of the idea?

Mostly from guilt. I felt horrible and instead of just saying sorry, I wanted to make sure this never happened again. I wanted to say sorry through action, not just words. So I came up with the idea to make a Facebook page and challenge myself, as well as others, to try to eat like Emma for one week.

How can others get involved?

They can share their stories on www.eatlikeemma.com or they may challenge themselves to eat like Emma for one week.

Why did you decide to get involved with FARE in particular?

I do the FARE Walk for Food Allergy every year in Miami and I really love the resources and education that FARE provides.

What’s been the best part about running this event/fundraiser?

Bringing awareness to people who would not otherwise know how serious food allergies can be. By educating and bringing awareness to food allergies, maybe the bullying and the rolling of eyes will stop when ordering at restaurants and asking for ingredients. Food allergies are not a choice.

Thank you to David and his supporters for their success thus far. If you’d like to “Eat Like Emma,” please visit www.eatlikeemma.com or contact your regional office for more information on how to set up a campaign of your own!