A food allergy diagnosis can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to meal planning and nutrition. Often patients and families have to learn a whole new way to eat. This involves avoiding all forms of food allergen, while finding a healthy balance. The University of Michigan Food Allergy Clinic dietitian works closely with the clinic doctors and nurses, and can provide support for managing an allergen-free diet. The clinic dietitian is available to complete a comprehensive nutrition assessment and provide individualized nutrition counseling and guidance to patients and families in the University of Michigan Food Allergy Clinic. The clinic dietitian collaborates with our food allergy nurse regarding any concerns around eating, including dining out and safe eating when traveling.
You can request to meet with the food allergy clinic dietitian during your appointment with the allergist, or you can set-up a one-on-one counseling visit. Elizabeth Hudson MPH, RD can be reached at 734-232-6871 or via email. Your Food Allergy Clinic allergist can also refer you for a nutrition counseling visit with Elizabeth.
What to Expect During Your Visit With the Dietitian
- Assessment of baseline nutritional status and diet history.
- Comprehensive allergen avoidance education.
- Guidance on ways to provide adequate nutrients in the diet through nutrient dense alternative food sources, and allergen-free supplemental feedings and/or dietary supplements.
- Assistance with meal planning.
- Assistance with elimination diets in EoE patients.
- Dietary management in FPIES patients, including food introduction, formula selection if necessary, and close monitoring of growth.
Suggestions for starting an allergen-free diet
- Keep food simple, using whole foods like fresh meat, fruits, vegetables, beans and grains.
- Cook from scratch as often as possible.
- Stay away from processed foods, especially ones with long and confusing ingredient labels.
- Avoid foods that are high risk for allergen cross contamination, like items from the deli/prepared food counter, bakery, salad bar or bulk bins.
- Check the labels on non-food items, such as soaps, shampoos, cosmetics and medications, as the inactive ingredients may contain food allergens.
- Give yourself extra time at the grocery store to examine ingredient labels closely and explore safe food options.
- Find ingredient substitutions to use in place of common allergens when cooking or baking. Visit the Food and Cooking Resources page on the Kids with Food Allergies Foundation website for useful information.
- Focus on what you can eat instead of what you can’t. Avoid the initial urge to replace favorite foods with look-alike recipes that can be hard to make and don’t taste the same as the original.
- Find new ways to use safe foods in your diet. Visit allergy-friendly recipe websites for ideas and consider trying alternative products, like rice pasta, sunflower butter or flax meal.
- Ask to meet with the food allergy clinic dietitian!
The University of Michigan Food Allergy Clinic provides links to educational resources as a service to our patients. Neither the University nor the Food Allergy Clinic are responsible for the contents or reliability of any external websites listed here, and the presence of the links on our website does not necessarily imply an endorsement of the views expressed within them. As always, the Internet is not a tool for self-diagnosis, and is not a substitute for professional medical care and support.
Take the Next Step
We accept physician and self-referrals. To make an appointment with the University of Michigan Food Allergy Clinic or to learn more about our services, please call 888-229-2409.