7 Allergy-Safe Food Swaps for Those With Food Allergies

Allergic to chocolate? We've got a suitable swap.

A coconut half with a spoonful of coconut meat

Millions of Americans have food allergies. Our DIY hacks and some savvy shopping can help you avoid the most common triggers when you're hosting, packing school lunches, or managing an allergy of your own.

01 of 07


For the occasional egg substitute in baking, use a flax "egg." Mix a tablespoon of ground flaxseed with a scant three tablespoons of water. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then add it to your recipe. The seeds will basically disappear into the final product. If you bake regularly, pick up Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer, a powder that's primarily potato starch and tapioca flour. And for egg-forward preparations, like frittatas and scrambles, opt for a plant-based egg substitute, like Just Egg. Made from mung beans, it mimics the flavor and texture of beaten eggs surprisingly well.

02 of 07


Since gluten is a protein in wheat, anything gluten-free will be wheat-free. For sliced bread, bagels, and buns, we like Canyon Bakehouse for its traditional bready texture. Wheat is also an ingredient in most soy sauces; use tamari or coconut aminos instead.

03 of 07

Cow's Milk

Dairy allergies are triggered by proteins in most mammals' milk, so you're best off with a plant-based option, like almond, coconut, or rice. (Lactose intolerance isn't an allergy; it means your body doesn't make enough of the enzyme lactase and can't process the natural sugar in milk.) If you want more protein, try soy or pea milk—both offer eight grams a cup. (By contrast, some oat milks only have three grams a serving.) Whichever milk you choose, make sure it's fortified with calcium and vitamin D to support bone health, just like cow's milk.

RELATED: These Are the Healthiest Non-Dairy Milks, According to a Registered Dietitian

04 of 07


Try coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. Derived from the sap of coconut palms, it's slightly thicker and sweeter, and less salty, but it still packs an umami-rich punch. (Just add more salt to your recipe.)

05 of 07

Nut and Seed Butters

If you're swapping in sunflower butter for peanut or almond, know that seeds are also a common allergen. To avoid both nuts and seeds, look for a butter made with peas or chickpeas, such as NoNuts Golden Peabutter, the Amazing Chickpea, or Finally Chickpea Butter. The texture is similar to peanut butter's, and while the taste may not fool you in a PB&J, it easily works in cookies and bars.

06 of 07


Like plant-based "meat," vegan seafood is now a thing. Look in the freezer aisle for Good Catch "salmon" burgers and "fish" sticks, made from blends that include pea and soy proteins.

For a less processed alternative, try using canned hearts of palm in place of seafood in crab cakes. The flavor will be tangy rather than rich, but the texture will be remarkably similar. To replace white fish fillets, grab Upton's Naturals Banana Blossoms (find them in the international aisle at Whole Foods Market). Made from the flowers that grow at the ends of banana bunches, they don't taste like bananas—or much of anything, really—but breaded, they cook up just like cod.

RELATED: 3 Plant-Based Ingredient Swaps and Recipes for Your Next Meatless Monday

07 of 07


Because it's often made with dairy and produced on equipment that processes nuts, chocolate can be tricky for people with allergies. For chocolate chips and snacks, look for the Enjoy Life brand, which is free of major allergens. For completely nut-free (but not dairy-free) chocolate confections, like truffles, caramels, fudge, and holiday candy, order online at vermontnutfree.com.

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