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Grocery Shopping with Food Allergies and Intolerances

Updated on September 14, 2012
With so many food options in the store - how do you know what to buy? This simple guide will help you to avoid buying anything that could make you (or someone you love) sick!
With so many food options in the store - how do you know what to buy? This simple guide will help you to avoid buying anything that could make you (or someone you love) sick! | Source

How to Find Foods to Suit Your Diet

It can be tricky buying foods in the supermarket when you have food allergies or food intolerances. Therefore it is important to know the terms which are used to describe these particular allergens on ingredients labels.

Whether you are shopping for a friend or family member with food intolerances or food allergies, or you yourself have an allergy or intolerance, it is important to pay attention to the ingredients lists of foods that your purchase at the grocery store.

Once you get to know what ingredients to look out for, you'll have no trouble - and your body will thank you for it!

Milk Allergies and Lactose Intolerance

Milk protein is found in milk, non-fat milk solids, cheese, yogurt, caseinates, whey and lactose – so look out for these on ingredients labels if you have an allergy or intolerance to milk protein.

Lactose is found in milk and is commonly found on labels as an ingredient itself

Egg Allergies and Egg Intolerances

If you have an egg allergy, look out for eggs, egg albumen, egg yolk and egg lecithin on ingredients labels

Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance and Gluten Allergies

Gluten is found in a number of ingredients, including: wheat, barley, rye, wheat bran, triticale, spelt, oats, malt, oat bran, semolina and cornflour (though gluten free cornflour can be found).

This hub for gluten free guidelines for grocery shopping is a perfect way to get you started.

Salicylate Intolerances or Sensitivities

Salicylates are a type of food acid, food in foods such as:

  • strawberries
  • tomatoes
  • blackberries
  • blueberries
  • canteloupes
  • dates
  • raisins
  • kiwi fruit
  • guava
  • apricots
  • green pepper
  • olives
  • tomatoes
  • radish
  • mushrooms
  • chicory
  • almonds
  • water chestnuts
  • peanuts


Soy Allergies and Soy Intolerance

Soy products include soybeans, soy protein isolate, soy lecithin and hydrolyzed vegetable protein

Reading food labels is your best bet for finding safe foods.
Reading food labels is your best bet for finding safe foods. | Source

Food Labelling Laws

These days, food labeling laws make it much easier to identify certain foods and certain substances found in foods. It is required by law for food labels to declare the use of particular foods or foods products if they are used as an ingredient, part of a compound ingredient, as an additive or as a processing aid. These foods include:

  • Gluten containing cereals and products
  • Crustacean and their products
  • Eggs and egg products
  • Fish and fish derived products (such as gelatin)
  • Milk and milk products
  • Nuts, sesame seeds and their products
  • Peanuts and their products
  • Soybeans and their products
  • Sulphites in concentrations of 10mg/kg or more (if you’re really sensitive, you will need to look out for sulphites on the ingredients list as well)
  • Royal jelly, bee pollen and propolis


Preparing Food for Someone with a Food Allergy or Food Intolerance

Now that you know what to buy at the grocery store in order to avoid an upset stomach or some nasty reactions, you have to be careful that you aren't introducing any potential irritants when preparing food.

It is important that, when preparing food for someone with a food allergy or food intolerance, you prepare the food in an area that is free from contamination. For example, when preparing food for someone with a gluten sensitivity, gluten intolerance or gluten allergy (celiac disease) it is important that you are using equipment (such as a knife, chopping board, plate) that is free from gluten and are careful that no crumbs are near the area which you are preparing food. Even something as simple as using a peanut butter jar which has traces of gluten crumbs in it can give someone an upset stomach - so you have to be very mindful!

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