Advice on What to Feed 13 Mo Old with Food Restrictions

Updated on February 16, 2010
T.C. asks from New Haven, CT
10 answers

Hi Mamas!
I was interested in hearing from other mamas who have been in this same or similar situation... my son is allergic to milk protein, eggs, and the specialist says best to avoid most nuts and shellfish as well, for now. I'm aware that he will most likely grow out of these allergies by the age of 3 or sooner (phew!) Although his initial reaction to milk-based formula was severe the first and only time he had it, he tolerates butter in moderation, which is mostly fat. Meanwhile, I'm left with a baby who can't eat eggs, yogurt, cheese, milk, and he doesn't seem to like meat! He'll eat the store bought purees with turkey or chicken - but when I make the same purees at home he won't eat them. I think its the texture. Even when I try to sneak meat into pasta sauce, he spits out the tiny pieces. So I am very worried that he isn't getting enough protein or a balanced diet. I do give him quinoa, brown rice with beans, and other wjhole grain combos. (I personally have trouble digesting tofu so it is hard for me to give him that -- maybe if I knew better recipes with less sodium?) In general, I am having a difficult time transitioning from when he ate the purest diet of homemade veggies, fruits and grains to finger foods that he can eat on his own. I find myself often panicking at the beginning of each day, wondering what am I gonna feed him today? A routine needs to be established, but I feel very limited in ideas. I need some ideas for a diet that is realistic for my lifestyle. Any suggestions or stories to share? Got any simple healthy recipes? I so appreciate your input!

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answers from Kansas City on

we are a home with food allergies also. both my husband and my children have celiac disease and that wont outgrow that! eat lots and lots of beans! we have tacos and quesadillas at least once a week and just use black beans and corn. i know you cant use regular cheese, but try soy cheese. have you tried thin sliced deli meats at all? my son is not a huge fan of ground meat, but he LOVES deli meats! my kids also eat a ton of fresh fruit. we always have bananas and clementines on hand because they love them both! you could try baked beans with hot dogs (beanie weanies), hummus is a great snack too! we had a great jambalaya a couple nights ago that i made from scratch with rice and beans and veggie, it was sooooo good. we eat a lot of rice pastas too.

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answers from Albany on

I hate to say this, but it's so nice to find other moms going through the same thing. I too just found out that my 13 month old daughter is allergic to dairy and eggs (after a long visit with the allergist). She isn't allergic to soy (I am) so she has some options. My daughter, however, does like meat. She's a good eater and will eat anything.

Sorry to repeat what you may already have received from your doc but if you haven't been given this info, here's what egg words you should look for and avoid: egg, egg yoke/white, albumin, ovalbumin, (ova)vitellin, dried (powdered) egg, ovamucoid/ovamucin and levitin. For dairy it is: milk, casein, butter, curds, whey, sodium caseinate, cheese, lactalbumin, dried milk solids, calcium caceinate, margarine, lactoglobulin.

So here is what we do. For breakfast she eats the Familia Baby Muesli with water mixed in instead of milk. She also gets fruit. For snacks, between breakfast and lunch and lunch and dinner, she gets one of the following: fresh cut fruits like mango, pears, nectarines, etc. Veggie bootie, organic baby mum mums, melba toast, happy baby puffs - she loves the green ones which are all green veggies. Sometimes we eat some hummus with the melba toast. She also likes cooked peas. We've also just started on soy yogurt (like the oh baby yogurt but made with soy). She'll eat 1/2 of a little container.

For lunch we usually do brown rice pasta with tomato sauce, steamed broccoli and cauliflower. Sometimes I do brown rice pasta with hummus and veggies but I try to give her a protein during lunch as well with her whole grain.

For dinner she gets two veggies: baked sweet potato, green/yellow/butternut squash cut up, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes mashed up a bit, green peas with curry and other seasonings, etc. She gets one protein -> either beans, salmon or tilapia cooked in low sodium veggie broth, ground turkey or ground chicken or small pieces of baked chicken. She also gets home made no sugar applesauce!

In general, my daughter will eat anything but she loves having different textures and the more she sees me eat it, the more she wants to. She loves the softness of fish and loves the chunkier nature of some of her veggies. I know each kid is different but it was interesting to see how she really likes small pieces of cut up baked chicken over the ground cooked chicken. In addition, she has really enjoyed eating foods with seasonings (we are a super low sodium family because I hate it - but I love spices). As their taste buds develop they get tired of the bland foods so maybe adding some seasonings would help out.

I don't have any good recipes or other advice as I'm trying to wade through a husband who's allergic to dairy, a daughter with dairy and egg allergies and myself with soy and wheat allergies. If we were all on the same page things would be easier but I seem to be opposite of my other family members so I cook quite a bit. My allergist said goat's milk is too close to cow's milk but that I may be able to try it in the future. I've found condensed goat's milk to cook with and bake with. I've also found powdered goat's milk which may be useful for traveling purposes. Soy milk seems to be agreeing with my daughter since she can't drink the almond milk that I drink yet. When baking they say that applesauce is a good replacement for eggs and there are a handful of egg free, dairy free cake recipes out there (I made one as a birthday cake for my daughter).

I do wish you all of the luck and thanks for posting this as I'm trying to wade through all of this as well. If you ever need to vent, I'm here!

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answers from New York on

My daughter is also allergic to dairy and eggs. Her first allergist told us she was also allergic to soy, but her second allergist said that she was misdiagnosed to soy, and we introduced soy without problems. Basically, any packaged food or recipe that is labeled "vegan" will be safe (no dairy or eggs), so that will be the way to go for baked goods. Also, try to think about cultures/cuisines that don't rely on butter for cooking but use oil instead. Butter and dairy are uncommon in east Asian foods, so we've had a lot of luck with Japanese and Chinese foods. Also, mediterranean cooking uses a lot of olive oil instead of butter, so that is a good direction to try too. We started introducing table foods with overcooked plain pasta in a clear chicken broth and then later added a light tomato sauce. My daughter also refused to eat table foods (or any foods with texture) until 15 months old, when we had her diagnosed as having a "feeding delay". We spent nearly 9 months in therapy to get her up to speed and able to eat a wide range of foods and textures. She now eats a lot more variety of foods than most toddlers her age, but the process has been long and hard to get to this point! It was important to get her chewing foods so that she developed the proper oral muscles for speech. Good luck!!

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answers from San Diego on

To make a "complete" protein without meat, eggs, or nuts... you combine a grain and a legume. This can be rice & beans, hummus & pita bread (any kind of bread counts, including tortillas... as nearly all breads are made from ground grains)... any kind of legume and any kind of grain.

You may also try adding fish... white fish, salmon, etc... since fish flakes have a far different texture than chicken/portk/beef.

Ditto trying/adding broths (chicken & beef broths). You can serve them as soups, or mix them into potatoes/ cereals/ etc.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My son is also allergic to dairy, eggs, and several nuts. At 13 months, he was 100% off of pureed foods and only eating solids. He actually loves meat - chicken, pork, steak, ground beef/turkey, etc. The key to getting him to eat it was sauce. We would cook up chicken in a frying pan (in very small pieces), then put different sauces on it or next to it for dipping and he loved it. Teriyaki, Low sodium soy, bbq, ketchup, and more. He loves to dip.

For tofu, we do the same thing - fry it up in a pan and put some low sodium soy sauce on it. You could also use teriyaki if it was easier for you to digest.

Lots and lots of beans - kidney, garbanzo, and black are his favorites.

His meals typically consist of a protein, a fruit, and either a vegetable or a grain. Breakfast today was soy yogurt, a banana, and homemade cornbread. Dinner last night was chicken, steamed carrots, and a small orange (one of those "cuties"). Lunch - a turkey & salami sandwich, an apple, and some wheat things.

I highly recommend the cookbook "What's To Eat: The dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free cookbook" We have gotten some really great recipes.

Favorite snacks: cheerios, gerber puffs, Kix cereal, Gorilla Munch cereal, wheat thins, graham crackers, Annie's brand crackers, Enjoy Life brand granola bars, fruit, pretzels (Snyder's brand & Trader Joes)

I hope that helps. My son is 2.5 but has been eating most of these foods since he was 12 months.


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answers from Cincinnati on

there are some good ideas below. Here are some other thoughts:
- Enjoy life (allergen free foods)
- - you can search for various recipes by typing egg free, milk freee, etc. Each recipe is rated by others
- many times peopl ewho have a milk allergy also have a soy allergy
- webite with additional info

I know you say he tolerates butter in moderation but i'd encourage you to talk to your allergy specialist to make sure that is okay.

In order to get additional support you may want to find out if your local children’s hospital has a dietician who can assist you with preparing foods that have balance nutrition

hope that helps good luck!

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answers from New York on

Hi There,

My son (who is now 9) also does not like meat. Although he has no allergies to worry about I used to try to feed him meat because I thought it was healthy and he needed it. Long story short, we are now all vegetarians and I am pretty much a vegan (no dairy, cheese etc). I did alot of research and discovered that dairy is actually not good for you (there is a big dairy lobby in washington and the industry is subsidized by the government.....that is why we were always told that drinking milk is healthy! comes down to money.....:). We actually need very little protein.....once a day is fine and for a grown adult a portion the size of a deck of cards.......there are so many great cookbooks out there for vegetarians.......a good place to start, believe it or no,t is a book that the actress Alicia Silverstone just put out called " The Kind Diet". She has been on Oprah & Rachel Ray with the book and a friend of mine who works for Rachel Ray told me that Alicia's receipe is the most downloaded one ever! The book has tons of info regarding the health issues with meat & dairy and then recipes. I have made a few of them and my kids LOVE them.....and that is saying alot!! Eating this way is actually easy when you have a routine down. You can make brown rice ahead of time and put a container in the fridge to be heated up at meals....veggies take a few minutes to saute and there are so many ways to cook tofu, beans, seitan (another protein). When my son was a baby I used to cut tofu up into little cubes that he could pick up with his fingers....and just saute them in a bit of oil with a tiny bit of soy sauce (they make a low sodium one)......and for your health & your kids it is the absolute best way to eat.......they will never have cholesteral issues etc.......

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answers from New York on

I have a 2 year old with multiple food allergies and we have seen a pediatric nutritionist twice -- very helpful. I highly recommend Marion Groetsch at Mt Sinai, if you are close to Manhattan.
Also, make sure you always have an epipen on hand, esp when giving him butter, new foods, or anything from a package.

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answers from Portland on

My granddaughter was also allergic to milk protein and eggs as well as soy, peanuts, and tree nuts. Once she had teeth she did eat small pieces of meat. We didn't try giving her pureed meat. I've tried pureed meat and understand why your son won't eat it. It not only has a weird texture but has no flavor.

My granddaughter is now 9 and outgrew all of those allergies except for peanuts. I've been allergic to numerous foods since I became an adult. The experts say that allergies present in babies are often outgrown but those acquired as an adult remain. Our family proves that true.

You are on the right path. You are providing protein with your grain combinations. You can expand that with other grains and by adding legumes. I found a site that can give you ideas. It's I noticed that just by adding bread to a legume such as beans (not green beans) you have created a complete protein.

There is also a cookbook that has recipes for ways to hide foods. It's title is Deceptively Delicious. The focus is on vegetable but it might also give you some ideas.

Have you tried giving your son small pieces of meat. You could even chop meat briefly in the blender or food processor but be sure to leave the meat in discernible pieces. Add broth to improve the flavor. You could make a combination of meat and veggies in the same way. Add a bit of salt and/or herbs if you wish.

My grandchildren liked strong flavors from the start of eating solid foods. You could try adding a bit of ketchup, even mustard, steak sauce. Just a very small amount but enough to give the food flavor without adding too much salt.

Small pieces of meat from your meals can be finger food. It may be the texture of meat that he's not accepting. My mother said I refused meat as a toddler and as a child. I remember thinking that meat is tough and not liking to chew it. Try making the pieces small enough that he can swallow them whole. Try mixing the small pieces with small pieces of veggies so that the presence of meat isn't immediately apparent.

I would also try fish because it's texture is softer than that of meat.

I encourage you to relax. He will get enough to eat and as long as you are aware of and working towards giving him protein he will do just fine.



answers from Binghamton on

Lucky boy! I am 58 and working like crazy to take all meat, dairy, and grains out of my life. Be happy that your little boy already knows what should go into the human body. If you fed him such great stuff early on, why in the world are you pushing animal protein and things meant only for baby bovine types?

Do some research on alkaline/acid foods especially T. Colin Campbell and the China Study, and Dr. Joel Furhman on what to feed healthy kids.

J. Marie
Mother of 4 and impending grandmother of 1
Aspiring vegan

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