Shopping Smart for Food Allergies

May 03, 2010

A question that the careful allergy free shopper commonly hears is, “it must be so expensive and time consuming to shop for a food allergy…

A question that the careful allergy free shopper commonly hears is, “it must be so expensive and time consuming to shop for a food allergy… all of the specialty foods, and reading every label on packaged items must be such a headache!” But this is not necessarily the case, with a few tips and a little experience, shopping allergy free is a breeze, and can actually benefit both your pocketbook and overall health. has had a lot of experience reading labels and shopping for particular products, so here are a few allergy friendly shopping tips to help you save money and time at the market.

Do your research, be an educated shopper; know what foods and ingredients are safe for your particular allergy, don't depend on store employees to have all of the information- although they may be able to point you in the right direction. In doing the research ahead of time, you will become familiar with ingredients and hidden items that ‘may contain’ a particular allergen. Many health food and specialty food store employees can be extremely helpful in deciphering which products are allergy friendly, and these types of stores usually have handy allergy free pamphlets that contain specific shopping and cooking tips.

Plan ahead. This applies to all shoppers! Make a general grocery list of what you need- this alone can save you a handful of cash. Also make sure you write down the list of ingredients to avoid. Don't let all of your home research go to waste; your not expected to remember all of the ‘don't eats’, especially the first few times you are shopping to avoid a particular allergen, so definitely make a list.

Clip coupons –many staple foods like vegetables, fruit, grains, legumes, beverages and meats are allergy free. Remember, there are more options than what’s housed in the center of the store- especially in the snack food department. Snacking on raw veggies and nut butter or fruit is a perfect snack and much healthier than most of the pre packaged snack foods.

Shop online, but make sure you like the products first. You can often purchase allergy friendly items online at discounted prices; so once you have found some allergy free specialty items in the supermarket that you know you enjoy, check online for better deals. It’s also worth going to the manufacturer’s website as they might have special promotions or coupons.

Overall, shopping with a food allergy does not have to cost more nor take up an entire afternoon. You will also soon realize that shopping with a food allergy is in a way, a blessing in disguise- by reading labels you become very familiar with certain ingredients and most likely have to avoid many highly processed foods which are not the most healthful to begin with. Eating more whole fresh foods and preparing meals at home is very enjoyable and on top of that, you are in control of exactly what goes into your every meal!