Diseases & Conditions : Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
Tree Nut Allergy Diet for Children
General guidelines for tree nut allergy
What's important for an allergy-free diet is to not give your child foods or products that contain the item he or she is allergic to. The items that your child is allergic to are called allergens.
A tree nut allergy is an abnormal response of the immune system to the proteins found in tree nuts. Tree nuts include almonds, pecans, walnuts, and cashews. It's important to read food labels to be able to stay away from foods that contain tree nuts.
Federal law requires that foods regulated by the FDA list all tree nuts in the list of ingredients for products that contain them. Some food makers voluntarily include labels that say "may contain tree nuts" or "may be made in a facility where tree nuts are processed."
Most people who are allergic to one tree nut aren't allergic to all tree nuts. Check with your child's healthcare provider to see if your child should stay away from all tree nuts.
The lists below may not contain all products with tree nuts. But they can help guide your decisions. It is up to you to carefully read all food labels.
How to read a label for a tree nut-free diet
Be sure to stay away from foods that contain any of the following ingredients:
Gianduja. This is a creamy mixture of chocolate and chopped toasted nuts found in premium or imported chocolate.
Mandelonas. These are peanuts soaked in almond oil.
Marzipan or almond paste
Natural nut extract
Nut butters (for example, cashew butter or almond butter)
Nutella. This is a hazelnut spread.
Nut oil, nut pieces, or nut meal
Nut paste. For example, almond paste.
Pine nuts (pignolia)
Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the need to avoid peanuts.
Other information about tree nuts
Nu-Nuts artificial nuts are peanuts that have been deflavored and reflavored with a nut such as pecan or walnut.
Filberts are hazelnuts.
Some natural extracts can contain tree nuts. These include pure almond extract and natural wintergreen extract. A child who is allergic to filberts/hazelnuts should not eat foods with these in them.
Imitation or artificially flavored extracts are safe to use.
Ethnic foods, commercially prepared baked goods, and candy can be cross-contaminated with nuts. This is because nuts are often used in these types of foods.
Tree nuts are being added to a growing variety of foods. These include barbecue sauces, cereals, crackers, and ice creams.