Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.9 million children under age 18. That’s 1 in 13 kiddos, or roughly two in every classroom — a 50% increase since 1997.
Navigating these food allergies can be a bit of a nightmare, especially when dining out or trying to figure out which packaged food products to purchase.
With the sharp increase in food allergies and demand for transparency in food, a myriad of new tools that help us decipher a path forward have emerged. Here are a handful to help you navigate towards your healthiest self.
Food Allergy Translate
FREE | 4 Stars
Travelling can be challenging when you’re trying to communicate “No shellfish” to your server at a Greek island eatery, but who wants to be held back from adventure by a shrimp? With Food Allergy Translate, you can communicate with food service personnel about your dietary needs wherever you go in the world! This app translates food preferences into 33 different languages to help avoid those awkward situations when trying to order food in another country.
FREE | 4 Stars
Your experiences matter, and AllergyEats wants to capture and share them, working to encourage restaurants to better serve their customers — ALL their customers. AllergyEats provides valuable peer-based feedback about how well (or poorly) restaurants accommodate the needs of food-allergic and food-intolerant guests. This sharing of real experiences from other food-allergic diners allows you to quickly and easily find restaurants that may be more willing and better capable of properly addressing your dietary restrictions.
Find Me Gluten Free
FREE | 4+ Stars
The purpose of Find Me Gluten Free is simple — to make eating gluten free easier. View local business ratings and reviews, gluten-free menus, get directions, and call for reservations and questions right from the app. Easily view gluten-free menus and allergen lists of chains and fast food restaurants. That gluten free pizza joint is closer than you think!
$1.99 | 4 Stars
Substitutions is super straightforward, which works because when we’re halfway through a recipe and realize it calls for butter instead of coconut oil, the last thing we want to do is click through dozens of pages to find the information we’re looking for.
The app is basically a long, searchable list of ingredients with their possible substitutions, broken down by categories like “Spice” or “Baking & Cooking”. Most substitutions are a straight one-to-one ratio, but measurements for swapping one ingredient for another are given as needed. Handy!
Open Food Facts
FREE| 4+ Stars
Ready to know your food? Open Food Facts is a barcode scanner that allows you to get the full download of allergen alerts, ingredients (including allergen derivatives), nutrition facts, and information to help you make the best decisions about your food purchases. You will also be able to find carbon footprint (CO2 emissions) and Nutriscore (nutritional score) and origin of ingredients where available.
BONUS: True Food from the Center for Food Safety
Over 70% of today’s packaged foods contain GM (genetically modified) ingredients and in the US, food companies are not yet required to notify customers of this on the label, despite warnings from doctors and scientists that these foods may not be safe in the diet or the environment. This lack of transparent labeling makes it tough to decipher where GM crops lurk (TIP: If it has the USDA Certified Organic label, it’s GM free!), so the Center for Food Safety has put together this handy tool to aid consumers in finding those products, like Orgain, that have decided to omit GM crops from their ingredients.
Please note: Each of these apps are designed as guides, not guarantees. Orgain does not endorse or vouch for the efficacy of these tools, but provides them as a guide for what’s out there. The consumer, as always, is responsible for their own purchasing decisions.