Staving Off Food Allergies with Peanut Butter & Banana Muffins
This post is sponsored by The National Peanut Board
Our oldest son, Jack has set the bar for us as parents in so many ways. He is an exceptional human being in that he is kind + empathetic, motivated to excel in all areas of his life and most of all a wonderful and caring oldest brother to 4 younger siblings.
He has also set the standard for our awareness and activism surrounding food allergies and asthma. We learned the hard way that Jack is not only severely allergic to nuts, but his asthma is triggered by food sensitivities as well. It’s forced us to study food allergies, their history and inception as our family has zero history of either. Most significantly, it’s changed our own food introduction timelines and trajectory for our youngest children so that we can stave them off as much as possible. Part of that is-as much as it seems counter intuitive- to introduce allergens early and often.
I’ve partnered with The National Peanut Board (NPB), an organization who is also passionate about doing their part to generate awareness about preventing peanut allergies in young children.
In 2015, a major advancement was made in peanut allergy detection by The Learning Early About Peanut (LEAP) study, created by the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Disease (NIAID). The study revealed that parents of children at risk for peanut allergy could reduce their baby’s chance of developing a peanut allergy by up to 86 percent by feeding them small amounts of peanut foods as early as 4-6 months of age. The guidelines have been endorsed by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, American Academy of Pediatrics, among other medical groups.
Given the abundance of research, I’ve begun to introduce peanuts and other allergens to Demi as early as 6 months with her first foods and with Evvie at about 2 years of age (when the studies were starting to come out). I’ve enlisted Zoe, my sous baker/chef in the kitchen, to help me bake muffins and cookies as well as prepare pancakes and waffles with peanut powder as a substitute for 1/3 of the flour required.
Guidelines for introduction to peanuts as follows:
The recommended way to introduce baby-friendly peanut foods depends on each child’s individual risk factors:
- For a child that has severe eczema or an egg allergy or both, the new guidelines recommend talking with your doctor before giving them any peanut foods. Your healthcare provider might want to do an allergy test or introduce baby-friendly peanut foods under medical supervision. Once cleared, infants in this category should start eating peanut foods around 4-6 months of age and should continue to consume them regularly.
- For a child with mild to moderate eczema, the new guidelines recommend feeding them small amounts of baby-friendly peanut foods, like peanut powder or thinned peanut butter, around three times a week starting when they are around 6 months old.
- For a child with no eczema or other food allergies, the new guidelines recommend introducing food that contain peanuts together with other solid foods as often as you would like and in accordance with family preferences and cultural practices. Most children will fall into the low risk category.
Parents who are anxious about introducing peanut foods early should consult their pediatrician for support and guidance.
We are diligent and careful about cross contamination when baking or cooking with any kind of nuts, and anything that does contain nuts is clearly and boldly labeled for Jack. Now that Jack is 11 and will be around nuts a large part of his young adult and adult life, I don’t keep them out of my kitchen but I do make sure everything is properly labeled.
The rest of the kids love these banana muffins in the mornings, and they taste like they have a little dollop of peanut butter on them. So yummy! Recipe as follows:
Adapted recipe. Original by Abi Godfrey
¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup peanut powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons flax meal
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use paper liners. Sift together the flour, peanut powder, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- Combine bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Scoop into muffin pans.
- Bake in preheated oven. Bake mini muffins for 10 to 15 minutes, and large muffins for 25 to 30 minutes. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.
Involving the kids in preparing the food they eat not only bolsters their self confidence but it empowers them to make good decisions about what they eat and how to be their own best advocates. It’s been a family process from the beginning, learning and living with Jack’s allergies. We’re taking it to the next level ensuring our littlest ones are knowledgeable and informed about foods and keeping themselves safe!