At Asda, we want to help you to think about all the delicious things you can cook for kids with dietary requirements, not focus on the things you can’t.
In the supermarket
Whilst you can still roam all the aisles when shopping for those with allergies and intolerances, we've created a whole range of tasty “Free From” products, all located in one aisle to make things even easier.
To make things nice and easy, we’ve called-out on the front of the pack which allergens are omitted - that way you can see right away if it’s something you’re after. When shopping elsewhere in the store, check what’s written in bold in the list of ingredients – those are the 14 major allergens to watch for.
Where necessary, we also include “may contain traces of...”, which means that although the allergen isn’t present in the actual ingredients of that product, it should be avoided if you have a severe allergy, as there could still be traces in the atmosphere at the factory. This is usually because they use other allergens elsewhere on the site, or the same manufacturing equipment has been used for allergens in the past.
Aside from the specific “Free From” section, of course there are loads of fresh ingredients that could be used in scratch cooking. If shopping online, we’ve also made it super easy to navigate dietary requirements with our new simple nutritional filters. Available on all food items on the Asda grocery website, the function matches food allergens and intolerances including nuts, gluten, dairy and lactose, as well as diets and lifestyle choices including vegetarian, vegan, halal and kosher, making it even easier to pick the ingredients you need depending on who you’re cooking for.
So, if you’re wanting to take a cake for a school fête, but don’t want anything with nuts, simply search for cake on the online shopping page, filter-out nuts in the nutrition tab, and voilà! Everything you need for nut-free fun is there at your fingertips.
In the kitchen
We know it’s easy to fall into the habit of cooking the same few dishes on rotation, week-in, week-out, especially those that are simple and work for everyone. Whilst not a bad thing, we want to show how you can add variety to your meals, that are full of flavour and everyone at the table will love.
This rotating recipe habit is relied on even more when kids are going back to school, as parents are time-poor, busy juggling school schedules.
With a quarter of Brits cooking the same three tried and tested recipes every week, our Innovation Chefs, Mark Richmond and Andrew Johnston, have provided a few handy tips on how to cook free from with flair:
Swap soy sauce for tamari
Whilst both soy sauce and tamari are by-products of fermented soybeans, gluten-free tamari contains no wheat (soy sauce does), making it perfect for those with coeliac disease.
Making meringues? Try tinned chickpeas
Looking to make something sweet for those with an egg allergy? Try meringues with a twist, using aquafaba (the juice chickpeas come in) instead of egg white. Mix the aquafaba with other usual meringue suspects (icing sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla essence) and the finished result will look just like egg whites when whisked with the other ingredients; soft, fluffy peaks is what you're aiming for. Aquafaba can also be frozen for you to use at a later date!
Nutty for gnocchi
Turn tried-and-tested pesto gnocchi into a Free From favourite by using guten-free flour to make the gnocchi dough. Add Xanthan gum to give it some added oomph and hold. Whilst traditional pesto doesn’t include nuts (pine nuts are actually a seed!), if you’re worried a child with a nut allergy may have a reaction, swap your pine nuts for a can of cannellini beans.
When cooking your gnocchi, once you’ve removed them from the boiling water, you can give them a quick fry in a hot pan with a little sunflower spread (or any dairy alternative you prefer) for a couple of minutes, or until they start to get a “golden crisp” on the outside.
Egg and milk allergy...try vegan
If cooking for someone with an egg and milk allergy, you can use ‘vegan’ as a signpost to products that don’t contain milk or egg ingredients. Just double check for any ‘may contain milk/egg’ disclaimers.
When baking, don’t forget good old Trex! This dairy-free vegetable fat is lower in saturated fat than butter, and adds an extra lightness to cakes, makes biscuits crispier, and produces perfect puddings...all without any dairy!
Try a touch of tofu
For those pre-school breakfasts, swap eggs with tofu for those with an egg allergy. All it takes is some firm or silken tofu, whisked with a pinch of turmeric – perfect for fluffy pre-school scramble.
Pasta...but not as we know it
Gluten-free pasta is always essential for those cooking for kids with coeliac disease, but why not try something a little different, like vegetable-based pasta such as lentil or chickpea. Be sure to check the label to ensure the pasta alternative is ‘free from’ gluten.
Colour code your cupboards
It’s also a good idea to steer your trolley toward the homeware section to stock-up on colour-coded labels to mark-up allergens in your child’s lunchbox (or any tasty bakes they take to school), and containers to store free-from foods, that way when you’re cooking, you’ll know which ingredients to grab depending on who you’re cooking for. Also, grab separate cutlery and chopping boards, that way you can prevent cross-contamination when cooking.
Cooking for someone with an allergy or dietary requirement? Stock up on everything you need to keep their tummy full and happy, including our award-winning range of Free From products, online or pop into your local store.