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Share your tips for feeding a family with different dietary requirements with Flora

(266 Posts)
AbbiCMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 08-Jul-19 09:31:09

Cooking a meal for the family can be hard at the best of times, so having family members with different dietary requirements can throw an extra spanner in the works. Whether it’s because of allergies and intolerances, or due to environmental, ethical or health concerns, we know that a lot of households have to think and prepare carefully to make sure their mealtimes cater to everyone around the table.

Because we think mealtimes can be tricky when you have to cater to different dietary requirements for family members, Flora would like to hear about your experiences and how you navigate through this.

Here’s what Flora has to say: “Health and wellbeing has never been so important to consumers, people care more about what goes into the products they are feeding themselves and their families, but they are not prepared to compromise on taste – and they shouldn’t have to. With a great new recipe making FLORA more delicious than ever, our new 100% Plant Goodness range can be enjoyed by the whole family.”

How does your family cater for those who have different dietary requirements when it comes to mealtimes? How can your family make sure everyone’s requirements are met without spending too much extra time, money, or effort on preparation? Has your family adapted well to managing emerging dietary requirements, or have there been any hiccups on the way?

Whatever your tips and tricks are on making these mealtimes a success, post them on the thread below and everyone who does will be entered into a prize draw where 1 MNer will win a £300 voucher of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck!


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cornflakes5 Mon 08-Jul-19 09:58:21

Batching cooking is my saviour!

JC4PMPLZ Mon 08-Jul-19 11:29:06

Lots of items - especially vegetables - a variety, some of which, if uneaten, can be used in packed lunches or in the next day's meal - so nothing goes to waste. Try to cook things that the majority will eat - and have leftovers in the fridge to improvise for others. Luckily we don't have too much divergence in my family. My DSis though has so many exclusions that sadly she just brings her own food pretty much, whenever we are together.

stucknoue Mon 08-Jul-19 11:55:30

Thinking about work arounds is key - rather than cooking a meat stew, I cook a fully vegan (and gluten free) dish and roast meat separately for instance. I make vegan pasta and fry pancetta separately to sprinkle in. We also use quorn sometimes for ease - it doesn't hurt us meat eaters to go without meat some nights. But I don't stress about it, I will give a ready meal or veggie option dish sometimes

pushchairprincess Mon 08-Jul-19 12:06:15

My DH is a celiac, so we mainly eat a gluten free diet, my DS 1 and 2 have not had a a tTG-IgA test to see if they are likely to be intolerant. My tips are do your on-line research, there is far more you can eat than cannot, and gluten free pastas are common place in the supermarket. Soy flour bread is just fine, I invested in a breadmaker for that one - saves me ££££'s - another tip. Thank you for bringing intolerances to the table.

jacqui5366 Mon 08-Jul-19 12:15:28

How does your family cater for those who have different dietary requirements when it comes to mealtimes?

I try to be inclusive, so plan my mealtimes on Friday nights, and shop Saturday morning for a Monday delivery, After keeping a food diary, I found my DS2 has developed a lactose intolerance, so almond milk is replaced by cows milk for him,

How can your family make sure everyone’s requirements are met without spending too much extra time, money, or effort on preparation?

I cook dairy free lasagne, mac n cheese and make my own mini pizza with diary free cheese (it's not as bad as it sounds). It does take a little more time, cost a little more, but there are no more tummy aches or toilet issues.

Has your family adapted well to managing emerging dietary requirements, or have there been any hiccups on the way?

As the intolerance developed (or got worse over time) it has been a gradual process into dairy free -the only hiccups are eating out - it can be very stressful finding places to eat (hurray for Pizza Hut having vegan and dairy free pizza)

wellingtonsandwaffles Mon 08-Jul-19 12:30:14

We all eat a diet that is free of things DS is allergic to, unless we’re out at a restaurant where there’s no cross contamination. It’s easier just not to have the allergy foods in the house.

BristolMum96 Mon 08-Jul-19 14:37:37

Our household has one vegetarian and one who is gluten and dairy free. All meals are vegetarian, gluten and dairy free. Everyone eats the same. Simple as that.

jitterbugintomybrain Mon 08-Jul-19 16:30:57

I refuse to cook different meals so it's either what I make or nothing. My kids eat most things now. The older 2 will cook for themselves now and again.

TheHopefulTraveller Mon 08-Jul-19 18:09:06

I have one child who won't eat farmed meat or dairy for ethical reasons, one who can't have cow's milk and one who's fussy in all kinds of unpredictable ways about texture, and my husband and I just eat way too much given half a chance. My Go To food is fish, which is something I never really got to grips with cooking in the past. The meat-free eater will eat wild fish, and for the gluttonous foodies in the family there's no argument about what constitutes a portion. There are so many tasty fish recipes in books and mags, and fishmongers will usually recommend methods and flavours that work well with different types of fish. I'm lucky to live near a port so I can get fresh fish most days and I can happily gut and fillet fish myself nowadays, which I never thought I'd hear myself saying. It can be disconcerting when your recipe starts, 'First locate the anus', though...

PointeShoesandTutus Mon 08-Jul-19 19:12:59

My DD has a milk allergy and I am coeliac. DH can eat anything.

To make it easier mostly we tend to opt for meals that have the majority of the dish free of allergens - i.e. grilled fish, roasted vegetables, baked potatoes etc. Then I can add or adapt allergens - so for example tonight we had baked potatoes with tuna, spring onions, sweetcorn and chopped peppers. DD had dairy free spread and dairy free cheese, DH and I had regular.

If it’s a meal which is made up of several allergens - e.g. lasagne - we all eat the allergen free version, so I’d make it with gluten free pasta and dairy free cheese.

We also all have an individual kilner jar for treats - mine has gluten free biscuits, chocolate etc. DD has moo free bars, smoothie melts, raisins etc. DH has whatever he likes. That way if we (or rather DD!) help ourselves to a treat we know it’s safe.

UpOnDown Mon 08-Jul-19 20:11:34

I cook a GF pasta sauce, then cook regular and GF pasta, and serve.

Theimpossiblegirl Mon 08-Jul-19 20:22:18

I am lucky in that DH, the DDs and I can eat what we like.

However, we do have family members who are vegan, vegetarian and gluten free, so I have a few things in like gluten free pasta, a couple of frozen GF ciabattas, nice vegan/GF biscuits etc, so I can offer food if they visit without having to go to the shops (I live rurally so it's not easy to just pop out).

icclemunchy Mon 08-Jul-19 21:14:27

We have two with coeliac one waiting on a diagnosis and one "muggle" my daughter who's waiting for her diagnosis also has Asd and is funny about food.

We largely have a few go to meals which are either gluten free or easy to make one lot gf one not like spaghetti. Untill she's diagnosed she has to keep gluten in her diet so were super hot on cross contamination. Seperate areas for gf and non gf food and gf stuff is always prepared first.

I also take a bag of gf snacks everywhere. Too often the promised gf food is either vegan (not all vegan food is gf!) or cross contaminated

OrdinarySnowflake Mon 08-Jul-19 21:30:10

Another who does batch cooking for those who cant eat the main meal.

Although we are lucky in that while we have many allergies in the wider family, we rarely have to cater for all the various issues on the same day! We do normally try to cater round the allergies so that everyone eats the same.

Sleepybumble Mon 08-Jul-19 21:42:48

I find planning meals so much easier since I changed my focus from what each person can't eat, to what we can all eat. It's a very subtle switch but has made planning so much easier.

pinkcanary33 Mon 08-Jul-19 22:20:32

This is a subject that has been on my mind for a while and so timely that I saw it tonight after searching on the internet for answers to this exact dilemma.

I have two boys and my husband works very long hours. I have had IBS for a number of years and my husband is allergic to nuts and bad heartburn

My boys are young and quite good eaters but timing is difficult as I like them to have dinner around 5ish and we want to eat at 8pm or whenever my husband is back. I find it very hard to cook things that suit everyone as onion garlic and spicy food are big IBS triggers for me. (But then are always added to flavour casseroles etc) blush

I have found a Jamie Oliver 'yellow' curry that isn't too spicy and suits us all. I also buy cooked chicken and make a 'roast' by adding low salt gravy to the chicken and adding veg and potatoes. (They don't know the chicken hasn't been cooked by me!😅)

Ready prepped frozen veg is good and microwaveable rice.

Sausages and ready made mash is also a winner.

I hope that helps other families. I would like to hear about specific meals if anyone has any? confused

Finally I find doing a food diary is good as you can sometimes forget when you find a meal that's been a success xx

DrDiva Mon 08-Jul-19 22:44:11

DS is allergic to dairy. I use a variety of milks as replacement, also a few cheeses, though he is not so keen on those. I have worked out the ratio of dairy-free margarine and coconut oil that gives a good fat content for baking (Flora, I really miss the avocado spread you did for a few months!!) sometimes I will add dairy cheese to our portions and just leave it off DS’s. This works well.

Most people don’t spot the difference between my dairy and non-dairy.

BlueEyeshadow Mon 08-Jul-19 23:00:29

We have one veggie and one lactose-intolerant and both DSs are limited in the vegetables that they like. We have a range of things that everyone likes but sometimes it does just mean things get complicated. I've got a lactose-free cheese sauce down to a fine art now, which helps a lot. If we have curry, I often do a mild dal, which both boys like, and then a spicier meat curry separately. Pasta bake often gets split between two dishes, either with and without meat, or with and without the types of veg DH and I like and the boys don't. Things like wraps are good because then there can be a range of options to put in them and everyone can chose what they like/can eat.

KittyKat88 Mon 08-Jul-19 23:14:15

My DH is a meat-eater and tends to have meat with every meal. I am vegetarian. Our DDs like either diet, and the rule is, I cook the veg and DH cooks any meat required. I think this plays to our strengths and means that meal preparation is a shared event.

PickAChew Mon 08-Jul-19 23:45:21

I have my own dietary limitations and 2 kids with their own, different, needs. I combine home made and convenience foods and batch cook as much as possible, to make the cooking load lighter.

monsieurmarius Mon 08-Jul-19 23:56:27

We have two coeliacs in our household. The key I think is to keep things as inclusive as possible. We all eat as much gf food as possible and just get on with it. We do struggle, however, with the bread alternatives but I've found in recent years we eat a lot less bread that we used to and that gf bread tastes infinitely better warmed up and with spread / butter / olive oil !

It's also made me pull my socks up with cooking and cook it all from scratch. I've really enjoyed it and gone to food festivals and feel as though I've learned so much. I understand the recipes so much better and over time can intuitively find substitutes

MilesHuntsWig Tue 09-Jul-19 00:01:21

Vegan here with veggie 7yo and husband who eats anything but is allergic to coriander leaf.

We plan our meals and shop weekly having days where we combine food and either everyone eats the same vegan base and adds stuff (meat for husband, cheese/eggs for daughter) or cook similar things with slight tweaks ie same vegetable side dishes but different proteins.

Good to have "dinner hygiene" to have family time as my DH and I work full time but also to encourage DD to try foods.

MrsFrTedCrilly Tue 09-Jul-19 00:37:30

I try to meal plan for the week and have at least one item in a meal that everyone will share, whether that’s a vegetable or a carb. I’m lucky my family aren’t particularly picky but I have some friends with coeliac disease so if they are eating with us we will all eat a gluten free meal or if we have veggie friends over I’ll cook something vegetarian for us all. I enjoy cooking so I don’t find it a struggle.
Imaginary food intolerances hmm
I tend to pander to whilst muttering loudly in my head, if you don’t like to eat something just say so...please don’t invent an allergy!!!
Sorry for the rant it’s my pet peevegrin

blackleggingsandatshirt Tue 09-Jul-19 10:46:18

We stopped eating meat 3 years ago, for health reasons , we are a family of 4 Pescetarians. We use meat substitutes for spag bol, and when we found a recipe for fish curry, kedgeree, and fish pie, we really don't miss meat at all. Our bowel health is better, and eating out is never a challenge as there are always fish and vegetarian options.

voyager50 Tue 09-Jul-19 11:44:13

I am vegetarian but thankfully no one has any medical reason why they can't eat anything so everyone gets the same which makes things much easier.

TellMeItsNotTrue Tue 09-Jul-19 11:45:34

I make the same basic meal that everyone can eat and then there are things that can be added to it for those that want it.

We also have a lot of meals as serve yourself, so everyone makes themselves a meal that they can eat due to dietary requirements and preferences, and they just know that the only real rule is that they need to take at least one portion of veg

Crocklebog Tue 09-Jul-19 12:50:57

I cook a dairy free meal for all as a base and then cook any meat separately. For those who can have dairy, cheese can be added on top of a dish. We also just eat a lot of fully vegan meals as a family. I buy vegan spreads and condiments so we don't have separate jars in the fridge that could get mixed up.

OldIrishTERF Tue 09-Jul-19 13:10:41

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Montydoo Tue 09-Jul-19 13:18:24

Since doing 'Veganuary' this year, we felt and looked healthier, so we make the decision to have a vegan day and a vegetarian day every week and we involve DS1 and DS2 in the process of what to eat anything with cherry tomatoes in (either cooked or as a side is often on every meal) we love roasted vegetables, and have found a new love for pure vegan products. The vegetables fried in flora taste lovely, we particularly love the Vegan Thai Vegetable Red Curry. We have had no real hiccups and as for price - there is no real difference, and healthwise my and DS2 eczema has significantly improved.

sharond101 Tue 09-Jul-19 13:37:12

My daughter has a dairy allergy. I cook to allow us to eat the same and do batch cooking to save time.

3boysandabump Tue 09-Jul-19 13:59:55

@OldIrishTERF perhaps because some of us have allergies which mean we can't eat real butter. Which is the whole point of the thread...

MargoLovebutter Tue 09-Jul-19 14:23:45

Teach everyone to cook, then they can start making their own meals!

Bemystarlord Tue 09-Jul-19 14:56:55

My daughter has a dairy allergy and it can be so expensive cooking separately for her when there are 5 of us so I started to use dairy free alternative in my cooking such a coconut or soya milk so that I only have to make one meal which is cheaper and also easier. We found a lot of products are dairy free such as Oreos and party rings so we make sure to check ingredients even if they are not labelled as dairy free.

agirlcalledBede Tue 09-Jul-19 14:57:07

My most important tip: patience, and a sense of humour. Or failing that, sarcasm.

So, when Family Member A asks 'these are vegan sausages, aren't they?' I reply 'yes, but I coated them in egg before grilling, specifically to annoy you?'

And when Family Member B asks 'are you sure this curry is nut-free?' I answer 'I checked the label on the curry paste, but I didn't ask the carrots directly'

I have been cooking to exactly the same specifications for the past 10+ years, and still the in-laws don't trust me...

OldIrishTERF Tue 09-Jul-19 18:22:13

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CharityConundrum Tue 09-Jul-19 18:29:22

We have two pescatarians, one with a severe nut allergy and various less serious ones, and a 3 year old with coeliac disease, so we are constantly thinking about food.

We have done extensive research into which gluten free foods everyone prefers, so I now do 'big shops' from a range of different supermarkets to stock up on them all. Both children have GF pasta to avoid any mix-ups or disagreements over shapes and we try and make meals which suit everyone as much as possible, with the odd substitution where practical.

We keep everything that we can (pasta, rice, dried pulses etc) in kilner jars to minimise the risk of cross-contamination and so that we can see what's what at a glance. We also have separate freezer drawers for gluten free and non GF foods to make it easier to keep track of what we have.

The kids are really good at checking labels - the bigger one will read ingredients for the 3 year old and helps find alternatives if the thing they want is not an option and they both tell people that I can't have nuts, which is sweet if a little uneccessary!

OldIrishTERF Tue 09-Jul-19 18:32:27

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kateandme Tue 09-Jul-19 23:45:29

How does your family cater for those who have different dietary requirements when it comes to mealtimes?start from veggie.or doing the base of veggies curries stews rice dishes and pasta.the you can split off and add meat to one or leave it all veggie and then cook meat on the side.
do some all veggie meals and if the meat eater havea fave meat meal make sure there is if having steak make sure there s a veggie burger or veggie pie etc.

How can your family make sure everyone’s requirements are met without spending too much extra time, money, or effort on preparation?batch cook.and then you always have aspare so you can bring it out.and batch cook to have leftovers options.
Has your family adapted well to managing emerging dietary requirements, or have there been any hiccups on the way? having a nut allergy sufferer has been very hard as label are rubbish.and often wont have it in it but will say it just to cover themsevles so we have had to avoid foods and clearly know they wont hae it in it.or it will say nuts and not be specific.

sarat1 Wed 10-Jul-19 08:15:58

As I suffer from lactose intolerance as well as a range of other intolerances that trigger my IBS, having a baby that is cows milk and soya intolerant hasn't been a huge leap for us. In fact, I already knew the brands and where to buy them to support him. It is also easier that if he wants something that I am eating, I can share it with him without worrying that it contains ingredients he doesn't cope with.

1969angep Wed 10-Jul-19 12:51:14

Thankfully we're a family who pretty much eat anything. My DS has a minor reaction to raw tomato, which is easy to avoid. We often swap tomato for red pepper if we have a salady side :-)

fishnships Wed 10-Jul-19 13:43:16

I find it easier to just make seperate meals but preferably with some common food we all like. An example of this would be different types of protein or carbs (depending on veggie diet, etc.) but us all having roasted vegetables. I also use a lot of goats cheese and we would all have quorn as opposed to beef/lamb mince. This works out well as it is healthier for us to cut down on red meat, it is cheaper and we all like it.

BlackeyedGruesome Wed 10-Jul-19 13:44:50

some dishes I cook two versions... eg cook the veg and when it comes to add milk divide into two separate pans and cook separately from then on.

some we just eat vegetarian meals without the allergens. (egg, nuts and intolerance to milk, though going back up the milk ladder now)

use vitalite (it was cheapest originally) for cooking recipes at school, oil instead of butter, in other things, lentils beans and chickpeas instead of meat and fish. LM vegan sausages instead of fishfingers.

no quorn, it makes her sick.

ds will eat meat with his dad when he goes there.

Ribeebie Wed 10-Jul-19 19:02:04

I think where possible trying to cook the same meal for everyone but making it something that's not substituted - so something naturally veggie or gluten free etc. If your doing a risotto do a mushroom or butternut squash instead of chicken so you can all enjoy it etc.

ChocAuVin Wed 10-Jul-19 23:43:30

Me and DD (11) are gluten and dairy free. Sadly DD’s twin brother isn’t intolerant to either of those things, nor is DS1 😔

My tip is simply: remove the ‘offending’ items wherever possible from the house and then everything is likely to be suitable. Anything ‘gluten’ lives separately in my house, so it’s the exception rather than the norm! I buy in wheat bread and some cookies and that’s about it. Everything else (flour, soy sauce, etc) is gluten free.

We don’t eat much gf pasta and tend to stick to ‘meat and several veg’ type meals - also eat a lot of eggs.

I have even got rid of butter since divorcing my H and moving into my own kingdom house. I tend to use olive oil as a substitute but always have a dairy free spread suitable for baking and frying, too, as a big favourite here is home made sweet potato gnocchi which can easily be made GF and can be either boiled or pan fried (mmmmmm) but is delicious either way with a knob of DF spread smile

Great thread!

BearsandCardigan Thu 11-Jul-19 07:54:29

We look after our grandsons whilst their parents work, one is intolerant to dairy, soya and eggs the other is a very fussy eater. We all eat together and we always offer something they both will eat along side less favourites or new foods. We use sharing plates so we dish up a small amount and have a plate with extra of everything on the table that they can help themselves. We bake our own bread as so much store bought has soya in it. Flora has been a godsend, we all have it on toast, in sandwiches or in baking.

ButterflyOfFreedom Thu 11-Jul-19 12:10:04

Everyone can - and usually- does eat anything I put in front of them so no allergies / intolerances etc to consider.
However we know many friends who do need / want a special diet and we cater for them accordingly. This is usually a gf dish or dairy free meal.
We also know someone with a severe nut allergy so obviously this is a big consideration when they visit.

Grammar Thu 11-Jul-19 12:24:37

I'm frustrated. I love cooking, and to me, a dish is a fusion of flavours so doing separate veggie and then sprinkling on meat just doesn't do it for me.
I have a 17 dd, a 22 dd, both recently veggie, a DS 19 a DH and me who aren't .
We are all at home now as the older two have finished uni and 17dd still at school.
My DS ( non veggie) won't eat beans in any form, though he will tolerate chickpeas.
My 22dd hates goats cheese and mushrooms.
I would be happy to go veggie myself, if I could only cook one meal for 5, whether veggie or not, what joy.
There is no pleasure in dishing pasta and rice day after day, and because of work, I don't have time to do lovely individual dishes. For someone that likes cooking and experimenting with flavours, it's dispiriting.
Any words of wisdom will be appreciated greatly.

buckley1983 Thu 11-Jul-19 14:05:35

My 6 year son decided to follow a vegetarian diet (inspired by Beast Boy from 'Teen Titans Go!') - after initially scratching my head about how to cut out meat but still keep his protein levels up & ensure he gets the necessary vitamins, etc.. it's actually been a really positive move for all of us.. & for the family purse!!
We now have veg chilli, veg stew, veg bolognese, etc - we tried meat substitute & although some of the products were ok, a lot of the mince we tried was bland & a bit tasteless & we all preferred bulking out the meal with beans & pulses instead.
My son & I now enjoy cooking together (most of the time anyway!) & it gives him a feeling of more independence prepping & chopping the veg.

joggingrunning Thu 11-Jul-19 14:13:40

I cook everyone the same meals and I strive to be inclusive in all my cooking. I batch cook and freeze vegetables which saves time and money.

SeekingShade Thu 11-Jul-19 16:09:58

Meals with lots of different components and always keep the sauce separate.

Cotswoldmama Thu 11-Jul-19 18:40:31

My husband is vegetarian but the rest of us aren’t so I cook the base of the meal pasta sauce or curry etc then add the meat or Quorn at the end that way I don’t have to make two meals

Absoluteunit Thu 11-Jul-19 22:22:25

Most of the time I just cook things that don't contain certain allergens so everyone has dairy and soy free alternatives.

Occasionally I will batch cook meals other meals.

It doesn't seem much of a chore to me; it's our normal 🤷‍♀️

Shangrilalala Fri 12-Jul-19 06:34:10

Choosing to cook mainly dishes that can be easily tweaked to suit all four of us.
Having a stock of frozen portions of everybody’s favourite dish, so that if particular requirements cannot be accommodated into a recipe, then the person has an alternative that they really enjoy.

InvisibleHamster Fri 12-Jul-19 14:56:26

When my daughter was dairy/egg free we used an allergy cookbook as the basis for most things and would add in things we liked that she couldn't have as needed. As the book also excluded 6 other common allergies many of the recipes were suitable for her friends with other allergies too.

mamado Fri 12-Jul-19 15:08:54

We have 4 extremely different diets! I'm veggie, DH eats meat but not fish, DD1 is allergic to milk, DD2 is allergic to milk, eggs, nuts and sesame and is going off meat! I either cook separate meals or i have created meals with variations so we have basically the same thing with add-ins! It's been a long process but i think it now kind of works! Due to the allergies I tend to have to visit multiple shops for different safe items, but i plan weekly and try to stick with it. Everything is homemade, and i will cook and freeze foods for days when I'm working.

i think it's harder for people when we visit as they're not used to it, so i will always provide pudding or any difficult to source item.

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Fri 12-Jul-19 18:36:23

Grammar, I can understand that. Maybe if you want something new, try this five vegetable tagine — it's lovely on its own, but sometimes I serve it almost mezze style with thin turkey steaks for the meat eaters, feta, flat bread, tabbouleh, pistachios and pomegranate seeds etc. and let people mix and match.

I'm a frustrated coconut lover! I nearly cried when he cancelled his weekend away one month, I'd been fantasising about a Thai curry and a dark chocolate Bounty...

HeyAreYouOk Fri 12-Jul-19 20:09:52

We've got two vegans in the house and have adapted by mostly all eating vegan food. It's easy to add some cheese or meat to a meal that's already been prepared if people are unhappy with it not having any in. People can also choose to eat a meaty or cheesy kind of meal at work or college if they want to. If all the non-vegans want something spectacularly non-vegan (eg pizza delivery) I suggest they eat out that night, or wait until a night when the vegans are doing something else. It makes life a lot easier than trying to cook 4 different meals every night.

PashleyB Fri 12-Jul-19 20:42:33

I am veggie, everyone else is not. I normally cook things where we end up having mostly the same but I have a veggie version. As long as the core of the meal is the same it's not a particular problem

llewejk Fri 12-Jul-19 21:58:50

The hubby is coeliac, but it doesn't stop us eating as a family. Certain meals like lasagne we all eat gluten free and bolognese I make two different pastas.

Crochetcrochetcrochet Fri 12-Jul-19 22:28:00

My son has multiple food allergies. I mainly cook family food that's safe for him, and then if anyone wants to add cheese or mayonnaise (for instance) they can do afterwards. I tend to stick to the mantra 'one family one meal' but recognise we're lucky in only having to deal with 5 allergies, no sensory issues.

I only bake safe cakes/ biscuits etc - we do use the Flora dairy free when it's on offer.

All our basics in the house - bread/ wraps/ crumpets/ spread are safe for DS so everyone eats the same. That way he's not made to feel different.

InMySpareTime Sat 13-Jul-19 06:55:18

DS used to have a milk allergy, we'd cook Dairy Free (usually something in a red sauce) then when he took his portion, we'd grate cheese over everyone else's.
Or he'd have homous with potato wedges while we had Sour Cream with ours.

lovemyflipflops Sat 13-Jul-19 15:59:03

DS2 is an exceptionally fussy eater, no sauces or gravy on ANYTHING, DS1 is lactose intolerant, so it's a bit of a juggling act managing the two, easy for dinners, breakfasts are harder. The internet gives be great ideas for lactose free meals which we can all eat, I have separate coloured dinner plates when serving (red green yellow and blue) they not only make my dinner table look lovely, but there are no mistakes or screaming abdabs when I serve dinner.

pigear Sat 13-Jul-19 16:56:08

My husband, daughter and myself are all vegan but my mum who lives with us is vegetarian. She is happy for us to do the shopping and cooking so she eats what we have. She just has a small separate fridge for cows milk as I can't stand the smell of it.

For different tastes in the house we tend to cook meals everyone likes or cook a basic meal but tweak it a bit for different people e.g. sausage casserole, mash and veg for everyone except my daughter who will have mash, veg abd a separate sausage.

onemorecakeplease Sat 13-Jul-19 18:30:54

Dd is dairy free, with allergies to chicken and potatoes. She's a bit of a nightmare to feed so I tend to eat the same as her and cook the equivalent for dh and ds

Tonight we had carbonara so the boys had it with cream and Parmesan and we had soya cream and goats cheese

It's harder when you are out though and need snacks or lunch.

We use flora buttery for a lot of things - dd baked herself a dairy free cake yesterday and made buttercream with flora which was way nicer than I thought it would be! She's 7

ItsClemFandangoCanYouHearMe Sat 13-Jul-19 19:37:14

My son has loads of allergies so we have banded together as a family to make family meals of what he can eat. I try to batch cook where possible as making food he can eat can be very time consuming

IWillWearTheGreenWillow Sat 13-Jul-19 20:11:29

There are 6 of us - DH, very meat focussed; me, some weird allergies including eggs; DC1, given up red meat and trying to give up dairy; DC2, funny about some vegetables and gammon; DC3, hypersensitive to taste, touch and smell - eats 10 meals in rotation; DC4, natural vegetarian - can't deal with meat or grainy textures.

We deal with it by reducing all meals to component parts. Protein (meat and another option); carbs (possibly 2 kinds as dc4 wont touch rice); vegetables (at least 4 types, you must choose 2. The only thing we all eat is peas); sauce. I've got quite good at pairing proteins (fish with chicken; gammon with eggs etc). But it's complex and often tedious.

HoneysuckIejasmine Sun 14-Jul-19 05:04:01

DS has allergies to dairy, egg, soya and gluten. I try to cook only one meal whenever I can, and often use non-dairy substitutes etc. Sometimes it's easy - gluten free pasta for him, dairy free cheese, banana pancakes. But there are some meals we just don't eat, full stop (like quiche!). We're lucky to have an excellent vegan bakery locally who will also make the cakes soya and gluten free, as I haven't cracked making cakes without any of their core ingredients!

I just wish allergy friendly food wasn't so expensive! Fish fingers are £2.50 vs 60p for basic ones, cheese is £2.40 for a small amount, biscuits are £1.60 for a pack of 12.

Unfortunately DS is too young to understand what he can't eat so I have to only let his preschool age sister eat allergy friendly snack foods too in case it's left within reach and he scoffs it. Dinner is much easier to manage as they are both in high chairs.

But thank heavens for the vegans and coeliacs, who have paved the way, for making it much easier to buy food off the shelf than it would have been a few years ago!

JeanieJardine55 Sun 14-Jul-19 23:17:56

I do have to cook separate meals for different family members as we have both dietary restrictions and sensory issues and there are very few things that everyone can or will eat.

I find the easiest thing is to have a “theme”. So one night will be fish. I do breaded haddock, chips and peas but replace my haddock with a tuna steak, ds3’s chips with crusty bread and the peas will a frozen steam bag of mixed vegetables for ds2. It means that with a few minor alterations we can all have a meal.

prakattack Mon 15-Jul-19 10:23:37

My son has coeliac disease and I found adapting to GF really difficult initially. Really quickly realised though that there is so much he can eat if I just use naturally gf foods rather than thinking about all the things he can't eat.
I also have a teeny tiny kitchen with no workspace which makes avoiding cross contamination really hard so in the main we all eat gluten free, apart from bread for packed lunches (as most gf bread is rubbish, and also it would cost a fortune to feed us all with GF bread). We eat a lot more rice based meals rather than pasta or meals which are just meat/veg.
Most of the time it's straightforward and I only remember how tricky I used to find it, when I try and brief someone else on how to cater for him!!

prakattack Mon 15-Jul-19 10:24:52

Oh and we're also a nut free household, I'm so used to that now that I don't even think about it! But it does sometimes make GF baking harder as most recipes substitute wheat flour for nut flour, which isn't an option for us.

del2929 Mon 15-Jul-19 13:45:51

cooking in batches and freezing is a great help

ShortyShortLegs Mon 15-Jul-19 20:49:08

We have very restricted diets....
DD1-allergic to all nuts, tomatoes and citrus
DD2- allergic to tomatoes, fruits, plus has Coeliacs Disease
DS1-hates mushrooms, dislikes aubergine and courgette but will eat them in a stew if in small pieces! Or will pick them out without complaining 😊
DH-no allergies but won't eat curry/chilli, etc. anything spicy.
Me- allergic to: Eggs, Fish, Shellfish, Tomatoes.

I batch cook large quantities of tomato-free sauce to replace tinned tomatoes and to use as a base for bolognaise, chilli, stews, etc. and freeze in portions in reusable plastic containers. I also batch cook bolognaise etc. I roast two chickens at a time and strip the meat off the bones and freeze to use in sauce or for sandwiches. I slice and freeze onions and peppers and freeze ready to use later and also anything that might not get used up in time I freeze.
I also use my slow cooker frequently and freeze all of the ingredients for a slow cooker meal in xl freezer bags then, all I have to do then is dump the contents into my slow cooker in the morning.
I tend to make a lot of 'help yourself' meals where I lay everything out on the table and everyone chooses what the fancy and what is safe for them...I find that this way nobody feels left out.
I substitute egg based sauces for creme fraiche or plain yoghurt and make my own coleslaw and potato salad and pasta sauces. And homemade nut, egg and gluten free pesto in the freezer.

I think for me, the key is being organised and labelling everything! I use Sharpies and write on allergens/dates so that I know exactly what I'm cooking with, and, make a list of what/how many portions are in the freezer to make cooking and shopping easier.

And for 'emergencies' I always have gluten free pasta in the cupboard and gluten free bread in the a pizza for my son if he's getting fed up with allergy safe meals!

GettickledGETTICKLEDbyspiders Mon 15-Jul-19 22:25:16

I have food intolerances, my daughter and I are both allergic to Quorn, we are both vegetarian too. The rest of our family are meat eaters. My oldest son follows a strict low carb, high protein diet. My youngest son can’t eat food colourings (so we all just avoid them). confused
I write a list of what everyone wants from shopping - they all have to tell me on a Friday evening at the same time. From that I try and meal plan and batch cook. I have a slow cooker I use when I can. Then then can all kind of help themselves. I really want to improve our diet so I am always looking for more tips all the time!

PickledChicory Tue 16-Jul-19 09:51:46

My kid db recently came to stay. He was briefly vegan but has now settled on being a vegetarian. When he came for an extended stay I was slightly dreading feeding him, my carnivore dh and fussy dc. So I just made family favourites like chicken curry and fajitas substituting chicken for roasted veg. My youngest dc just likes plain chicken with no curry sauce or seasoning so that was fried up separate first too. It was surprisingly easy and meant we could enjoy a meal together.

bikerclaire Tue 16-Jul-19 11:56:53

I'm pescatarian while my partner is omnivore (but doesn't eat fish) and our 2 year old eats a bit of everything! I tend to do most cooking but make vegetarian food using 'fake meat' like quorn and Linda McCartney. The new vegan burgers in Iceland are a firm favourite too! I have fish every once in a while and my partner has meat when he fancies it, so it works fine for us.

pancaketits Tue 16-Jul-19 16:07:07

I have to prepare dairy/soya/egg free meals for one of the brood.

I try to feed everyone the same as much as possible and then separate the servings. So a shepherds pie for everyone with one portion separated and topped with a dairy free mash.

Lots of tomato based pasta sauces with hidden kale (to help increase iodine levels).

You get used to thinking about food differently very quickly.

Kerrywerrywoo1 Tue 16-Jul-19 18:49:08

I usually spend Sunday mornings bulk cooking and I love it....I’ll put a slow cooker on sat night late usually a big beef casserole. Then...
I make on the stove top :
A large pot of spaghetti Bolognese
A chilli con carne
A Steamer filled with green beans and broccoli/cauliflower

In the Oven :
roast a chicken and some sausages

Everything gets cut or portioned into plastic containers and put either in the fridge or freezer ready to eat.

Then during the week ass I have to do is quickly boil some potatoes or rice. I can make instant mash if anyone wants it! The veg will last 2/3 days and then I use the freezer portions. Gravy takes a minute. If anyone wants a curry at zero notice hrs I can grab some cooked chicken and throw some sauce on it ! This seems to be the ideal set of meals for my family smile

Kerrywerrywoo1 Tue 16-Jul-19 18:51:23

My husband hates chicken - my daughter hates beef and my father who visits a lot hates fish and veg. No matter who is at the table I can throw them food faster than they can moan about the choice ! lol wink

Straysocks Wed 17-Jul-19 16:03:43

So, two nut allergies, a diabetic and a very fussy eater alongside an eat-as-much-as-you-can chef and a prize baker ... Walk into a bar ... No they don't, they sit at my dining table every night with expectant faces. The most effort goes into what keeps everyone well but the focus is on what can be shared and enjoyed. May add tofu, a fried egg or fish to a vegetable rice noodle, it may take half an hour and an 'ology to make the packed lunches and it may make shopping a complete mental work out but we always eat together. Different breads, milks, noodles and proteins but only the Flora no dairy margarine. I know how this sounds but it's true! It is low-fat for the diabetic, no allergens for my itchy/sickly crew and actually does work in the (gluten free) home baked cakes, unlike the alternatives. That is all.

duck22 Wed 17-Jul-19 22:17:53

My youngest has a milk and egg intolerance. We try and genearly eat something that everyone can eat. If we have Mash potato I generally used his milk to make the Mash (no one seems to notice)

Lheath Thu 18-Jul-19 07:12:51

My husband has no carbohydrates so I tend to make large batches of Bolognese, Currys, Casseroles and my husband has it without the added carbohydrates

AR2012 Thu 18-Jul-19 07:15:02

main dishes are planned to eliminate any specific allergies then we have sides for those who enjoy say prawns etc.

jhocknull Thu 18-Jul-19 07:20:46

Use the freezer as much as possible and plan each week in advance. Make sure there are at least two meals a week that are the same that everyone can enjoy together.

AngelwingsPetlamb Thu 18-Jul-19 07:39:03

I’m in this situation. My DH and his daughter are Coeliac and must not eat gluten. His son is lactose intolerant and needs dairy free for the most part. Both children are vegetarian. One only ever drinks water, nothing else ever.
So all meals are gluten free and all store cupboard basics are gluten free, that means anyone can eat anything and there is very little chance of cross contamination.
The non vegetarians don’t mind eating vegetarian dishes but meat or fish can be added when required.
If dairy is used then DS takes some tablets purchased from Holland and Barrett that counteract his lactose intolerance, he sometimes likes to do this if we all go out for pizza for example as it will have a lot of cheese on the top.

Bellroyd Thu 18-Jul-19 07:42:09

Batch cooking is the answer. By preparing meals in advance, you can easily cater for those with differing dietary requirements.

feefeegabor Thu 18-Jul-19 08:06:16

We are all vegetarian but last year, my daughter decided to go vegan and that did flummox us for a while! Luckily there are lots more foods vegans can eat so we made up a salad and rice/couscous/potatoes the same and made her something different to go with it.

DonPablo Thu 18-Jul-19 08:09:23

Ooh, might have to give that ago, I haven't bought Flora for years.

We have a variety of dietary requirements so I try and cook things that can be customized, like jacket potatoes. You can have your choice of fillings.

Or a quiche with salad and you can load up your plate with as much grayed carrot as you can eat and leave all the horrible tomatoes for me.

That kind of thing.

Sopht16 Thu 18-Jul-19 08:21:21

Batch cook most things for my daughter as we work up the milk ladder for her and for family meal times we will go dairy and gluten free to cater for my daughter and husband. However I might add cheese or something they can't have once it's on my plate.

suzyq50 Thu 18-Jul-19 08:35:59

One of the children has an intolerance to cows milk. Not a major problem for all the family as there are alternative milks available for her.
However we have joined in with trying other milks to support her as she does miss cows milk on cereal.

minkeymonkeys Thu 18-Jul-19 08:41:36

I write a meal plan for the week ahead and shop accordingly. Some in my family don’t eat meat so I try and modify what I am making, rather than chicken tikka she has butternut squash tikka. Or if we are having roast chicken dinner she has all the trimmings, just minus the chicken. So it’s not separate meals I’m cooking, just slight adaptations at the beginning. The hardest thing is trying to get everyone around at the same time to eat.

coziwozi Thu 18-Jul-19 08:55:18

I try to pick at last one thing we can all eat on the plate such as the rice or the vegetables etc. The rest is preparation - meal prepping at weekends and planning is a saviour.

bevmichelle47 Thu 18-Jul-19 09:03:31

Myself & my daughter are celiacs, so i have to prepare our foods first so nothing gets contaminated, especially as i cook from scratch (love home baking) Then i have to prepare ordinary food for my hubby & son, but luckly they love a lot of the glutenfree meals i make, which makes it easier.

I also bulk bake and freeze them for myself and daughter, that way it's great when i'm in a rush.

zzz747 Thu 18-Jul-19 09:16:55

A tough one but with a bit of effort it very manageable so these are some of my tips which have worked for many years....

1. Make a menu plan accompanied by a specific grocery list.
2. Have "go to" recipes.
3. Get ahead at weekends.
4. Invest in a food processor.
5. Togetherness not timing ( lots of meals are eaten outside the home and in the car these days )

happysouls Thu 18-Jul-19 09:26:47

It's a lot easier in summer with salads and cold buffet style food which works well for everyone having what they like the best but with no waste!

ShellsandSand Thu 18-Jul-19 09:32:25

I have a 4 year old Celiac and like to cook family meals that cater to her, lots of vegetables and fresh unprocessed meats. For things like butter and spreads I bought a label maker and labelled her own tubs to avoid cross contamination as even the smallest crumb can be damaging to her. Funnily enough her current bread spread is the flora plant goodness and she loves it. We have also bought separate appliances (toaster) and baking trays for occasions where the rest of us may have gluten.

NICH7 Thu 18-Jul-19 09:45:58

Good planning is the key. My older daughter doesn’t likeeating meat and fish, my husband is on a special diet; no wheat, no dairy, no sugar, but lots of fat and protein. Vegetables are common ground for the whole family, so plan dishes with variety of veg.

buzzybev Thu 18-Jul-19 09:58:50

Our little one is lactose intolerant which makes life a bit more difficult. I just cook separately for him so we aren't limited to that diet as well.

ricola1 Thu 18-Jul-19 10:13:23

Having lots of different cook books!

janeyf1 Thu 18-Jul-19 10:24:24

Fortunately my family aren't allergic or intolerant to any foods, just a bit fussy! The dd will often eat earlier anyway so will make her tea first. I eat with my partner later

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