Fun Foods For Those On Special Diets

While living with food allergies is nothing to sneeze at, there are some easy ways to add fun to your meals.

An estimated 12 million Americans-one in 25-suffer from food allergies. Although an individual could be allergic to any food, such as fruits, vegetables and meats, there are eight foods that account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions.

They include egg, peanut, tree nuts (walnut, cashew, etc.), fish, shellfish, milk, soy and wheat.

Avoiding allergy-causing foods is the only way to be assured of not having a reaction. Fortunately, there are new tools that make it easier for people with food allergies and other special diets to have some of the fun foods others without allergies enjoy.

Online Assistance

One resource, from Dreyer's/ Edy's Grand Ice Cream, is the Flavor Finder at, where you can find an extensive listing of ice cream, sorbet and frozen snacks that fit into various special diets. For example, the site allows you to search for gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free products that are available from the company. There is an extensive listing of products that fit into other special diets, such as low-fat and fat-free, no sugar added and kosher that can be served as snacks or when entertaining guests.

If you're looking to create your own special-occasion treat for people with nut allergies, try this easy and delicious dessert:

Summer Fruit Shortcake

1 carton Dreyer's/Edy's Slow Churned No Sugar Added Vanilla Light Ice Cream

11/2 cups buttermilk baking mix

8 Tbsp sugar, divided

1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

3 egg whites, beaten

3 cups fresh seasonal fruit (sliced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, sliced peaches, sliced nectarines, etc.)

Fresh mint leaves, to garnish

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine baking mix and 6 Tbsp sugar. Stir in yogurt and egg whites until dry ingredients are just moistened. Spread batter in greased 9-inch round cake pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack. While the shortcake is cooling, combine fruit with remaining 2 Tbsp sugar to sweeten. Cover and refrigerate.

To Assemble: Soften ice cream at room temperature for about 5-10 minutes. Split shortcake in half horizontally, and place bottom layer, sliced side up, onto serving plate. Top with a layer of ice cream (about 2 cups); place half of fruit mixture on top of ice cream. Repeat layers ending with fruit. Garnish with mint. Serves 12.

Nutrition Information: 249 calories; 45 calories from fat; total fat 5.1g.

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About The Author, Wendy Mitchell
For more information about food allergies and intolerance and to get allergen-free recipes, go to For more information on ice cream and special diets, visit ice and click on the Flavor Finder at the bottom of the main Web page. Summer fruit shortcake makes a great dessert even people with nut allergies can enjoy.