EAT

Alternatives for Food Allergies without Sacrificing Flavor

Kelsey Gonzalez1468 views
Alternatives for Food Allergies without Sacrificing Flavor

“Gluten-free” is just one health claim that has become somewhat of a buzzword over the past few years. Wheat is one of the most common food allergies, along with milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, and soy. As part of Zesty’s office catering services, we are able to provide tasty substitutions to these top eight allergens, which account for about 90 percent of all allergic reactions. Here’s a breakdown of these allergens, along with some fun swaps we often make!

WHEAT

Rice and quinoa are common substitutions we make for side starch recipes or dishes containing wheat, but we also like to get a bit more creative by utilizing vegetables such as sweet potato and in order to accommodate our gluten intolerant clients. You’d be surprised how many non-grain products also contain wheat! Soy sauce, meatballs bound with breadcrumbs, and sauces made with a roux are just a few examples. In these cases, we work with our chefs to replace these items with things such as tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), gluten-free oats in meatballs, or gluten-free flours in a roux for a sauce.

MILK

Ingredients containing dairy, such as cheese, are a common food substitution that we make for our office meals. We often work with restaurant partners to make dairy free versions of dishes such as mac and cheese, dressings, sandwiches, and even pizza, as well as serving cheese on the side of dishes such as salads. A good dairy free alternative for cow’s milk is coconut milk, and good alternatives to cheese (or a cheesy flavor) are avocado, nutritional yeast, or cashew cream.

Alternatives for Food Allergies without Sacrificing Flavor

EGGS

Eggs are used as a binder in many dishes, especially baked goods. Substituting eggs with flax seed is a great way to add more nutrition to your pastry without sacrificing texture and taste. Flax seeds are a great source of fiber, calcium and heart healthy fats. Other substitutions in baked goods include fruit purees, such as applesauce, mashed banana, or pumpkin.

SOY

Replacing soy can be especially tricky for our vegetarian and vegan clients. We do our best to create exciting vegetarian entrees using protein packed foods such as beans, quinoa, lentils and seitan.

Alternatives for Food Allergies without Sacrificing Flavor

FISH / SHELLFISH

Certain sauces, such as Worchestire sauce, contain fish. We diligently source a variety of high quality, allergen-friendly brands in order to comply with our health standards and cater to our clients with fish and shellfish allergies.

PEANUTS / TREE NUTS

We work with our restaurant partners to ensure that peanuts and tree nuts come served on the side of a dish, such as salads, whenever possible. The best alternatives for both peanuts and tree nuts are seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin, chia, and flaxseeds. It doesn’t hurt that these swaps also contain protein and healthy fats, such as omega-3s!

Thankfully, there are many alternatives currently on the market that make it easier than ever for those with food allergies to find safe food to eat. Similarly, restaurants and caterers are becoming more knowledgeable about common food allergies and are getting creative in the kitchen by developing dishes that are just as tasty (if not more!) than the original versions.


Zesty is the leading office catering company in the San Francisco Bay Area. We strive to provide great tasting food with high nutrition value and optimal ingredient sourcing. Get Zesty meals for your team at zesty.com!

Kelsey Gonzalez
Kelsey is a Registered Dietitian (RD) at Zesty and has been working in the health and nutrition field for over seven years. She earned her bachelor of science degree from San Diego State University and completed a dietetic internship shortly thereafter at Utah State University. Kelsey has experience in many areas of nutrition including long term care, foodservice, and individual counseling. She enjoys working with clients to improve their knowledge about food and nutrition and to help them reach their health goals. Kelsey is a former athlete and ran her first half marathon (Nike Women's half, San Francisco) in October 2014. In her spare time, she loves to take her dog to the beach and hike in the hills of Marin.

Leave a Response