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Fixing foods for other children is not just about choosing yummy kid-friendly foods anymore. We now need to think about the possibility of children having food allergies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in thirteen children have at least one food allergy. If you think this number has grown, you're right. Between 1997 and 2011, the prevalence of food allergies increased by 50 percent.

A food allergy is a condition in which an exposure to a food triggers a harmful immune response. The eight most common food allergies include milk, egg, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts. Although allergies to milk, egg, wheat and soy are often resolved in childhood, allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish can be lifelong. Symptoms of food allergies can be mild (runny nose, a few hives) or severe (throat tightness, difficulty breathing), and the only treatment is to avoid the food and all that it touches.

However, parents should not avoid feeding these potential allergenic foods to their infants (younger than one year of age) who are just starting to eat solids. Delayed introduction of these common foods have been associated with an increased risk of developing a food allergy. Provide these foods in age-appropriate form, such as a small amount of peanut butter and water mixed in rice cereal for a pureed form, or a very thin slice of peanut butter on toast for those ready for finger foods.

Pumpkin Pie Snack Mix (Nut and Dairy Free) (Printable PDF)

¼ cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

2 Tablespoons dairy free margarine

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups toasted corn cereal

2 cups toasted wheat cereal

2 cups toasted rice cereal

In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice and set aside. In a small microwave-safe dish, microwave margarine on high about 15 seconds or until melted. Stir in the vanilla. In a large microwavable bowl, mix all the cereals together. Pour the butter mixture over the cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated. Add sugar and spice mixture and stir until coated. Microwave uncovered on high 5 minutes or until mixture begins to brown, stirring every minute. Spread on a cookie sheet to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 16 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 80 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 120 milligrams sodium, 15 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram protein