By: Candice Minch Food Allergy blogger
The importance of sports and physical activity for everyone can’t be disputed, including the food allergy population! Canadians in general need to be more active and the benefits of exercise and sports for physical and mental well-being is well-documented (Just check out the Canada Physical Activity Guide). Food and environmental allergies should not prevent or restrict physical activity and our family is proof to that! Our children took part in many sports ranging from hockey to karate.
Proper planning and safeguards (“plansafe”) can be implemented for sports, similar to school and outdoor excursions. There are 6 “PLANSAFE” actions to provide the essential tools for a safe and healthy exercise experience!
1. SHARE: Allergy information details with teacher, coach and/or other supervisors for any necessary action to a reaction ranging from airborne allergens to exercise-induced reactions.
2. PLAN: Prepare for sports and/or activity at least a half hour or the night before. Pre-packing of the exercise bag can all but eliminate missing any essential items.
3. MEDICATION: Organize\restock any medication needed prior to sport activity. Dates of expiration must be checked as well.
4. HYDRATION: Is an essential for any activity and will allow for the stamina needed. It is best to have a chilled water bottle. Sports drinks are commonly available, but may contain food allergens so verification before consumption is required. Common food allergens include fructose, flavor, color, whey protein and some herbal preparations.
5. FOODS (ALLERGY FRIENDLY): Best choice is to bring allergy friendly food or snacks and fresh fruits that are safe, tasty and nutritious. If possible, homemade snacks and fruits can provide the hunger-busting energy needed. Cookies with oatmeal, bran flakes, chocolate chips (or raisin, berry) are so delicious and healthy too! Rice Krispies cereal and marshmallows can also be used to make bars (add fruit or chocolate chips for added zip).
6. READY SET TO GO WITH THE “PLANSAFE” MEASURES IN PLACE!! Stamina and confidence will abound!