Pediatric Nutrition

Egg-Free Diet

Whether your child has multiple allergies or just one, being allergic to eggs will eliminate many processed foods from your child's diet. Eggs are in everything from cookies to root beer. The good news is that it is very easy to cook without eggs. Except for an egg breakfast or meringue on pie, if you read labels carefully and invest a little time in having a well-prepared kitchen, your child will not miss eggs.

First, you need to identify where eggs are present, other names used for varied parts of eggs on labels and some unusual places eggs turn up. Extremely sensitive allergic individuals, and those with anaphylactic reactions, will need to avoid certain foods whether eggs are listed or not, due to potential cross-contamination, such as with manufactured pastas.

Foods to Avoid

Make it a habit to read food labels and at restaurants, ask how the food is prepared. If the labels or description is unclear, do not buy or eat the product.

Avoid these foods and ingredients:

  • Eggs, egg whites, egg yolks, and most egg substitutes prepared any way, including omelets, souffles and quiche
  • Most pastas and baked goods (read the labels) - a yellow appearance usually indicates eggs
  • Breads, pretzels and baked goods with a shine or glaze - this is usually created by brushing on egg whites before baking
  • Coffee, some soups, bouillon, wine, beer and other liquids may use egg or egg shells for clarification
  • Root beer, cappuccino, milk shakes and other beverages may use egg whites for foam/froth
  • Meatballs, meatloaf, lasagna, mousse, and other prepared foods may use eggs as a binder
  • Most cookies, cakes, cheesecakes, brownies, custard and cream pies, and baked goods use eggs
  • Eggs may be in batters, ice cream, sherbet, custard, frosting, mayonnaise, salad dressing, tartar sauce and some baking powders
  • Many egg substitutes contain real egg, using egg white or powdered eggs, and are not safe for egg-allergic individuals
  • Pancakes, french toast and waffles usually contain eggs
  • Baking mixes, some candies, whipped fillings, marshmallows, bread crumbs and sausages often contain eggs
  • Ovaltine and other malted drinks, Simplesse, eggnog and meringue all contain egg
  • Some vaccines, such as the MMR (measles,mumps, rubella) and the flu shot are prepared in or on eggs. Ask your child's doctor about the possibility of egg presence before taking any medication or vaccine.

Other Ways to Avoid Eggs

Some people who are allergic to eggs may react by physical contact—either by an egg product touching the mouth, touching someone who has handled eggs or egg products, or an egg or egg product spilled on the skin. Sensitive egg allergic individuals should avoid touching or handling eggs in any form. A non-allergic person who has eaten or handled eggs (or egg products) should wash hands thoroughly before physical contact with someone who is allergic, especially children who play together.

Cross-contamination occurs when "safe" foods are prepared, manufactured, or served on the same surface as "unsafe" foods. Beware of these situations:

  • Restaurants. Beware of grills that can be used to cook foods containing eggs and other foods. Many restaurants use the same grill for most foods they prepare.
  • Packaged foods. As foods are produced and packaged, an otherwise "safe" food may be run on the same line as an "unsafe" food, creating a potential hazard.
  • Your kitchen. Do not use the same spatula, spoon, fork, knife, plate or other serving implement for foods containing egg and those which do not. Even a small trace of egg is enough to cause a reaction.

Alternatives

For cooking and baking, try these variations. Eggs act as a binder (holding foods together), a leavener (making foods rise), and a thickener. For each egg needed in a recipe, you can substitute one of the following:

  • 2 Tablespoons (Tbs.) mashed banana or pureed apricot (baby food works well)
  • 2 Tbs. pureed vegetable
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp.) dry, unflavored gelatin, mixed with 2 Tbs. water
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. oil, 1 1/2 Tbs. water and 1 Tbs. vinegar, mixed
  • 1 tsp. yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 Tbs. arrowroot mixed with 1 Tbs. oil and 1/4 cup water

Know Your Relatives

The following items are egg products or by-products and should be avoided:

  • Albumin
  • Globulin
  • Livetin
  • Ovalbumin
  • Ovomucin
  • Ovomucoid
  • Ovovitellin
  • Silico albuminate
  • Vitellin

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
The following recipe is egg-free, as well as free from milk, wheat, soy and nut/peanut.

1 cup non-dairy, soy-free margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbs. canola oil
3 Tbs. water
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups non-wheat flour (barley, oat, rice or a combination) (if wheat is not a problem, add 2 1/4 cups wheat flour instead)
2 tsp. arrowroot powder
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (i.e., Hershey's)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips (i.e., President's Choice)

Preheat oven to 375. Beat margarine at medium speed until fluffy; gradually add sugars, beating well. Mix oil, water, baking powder; add to sugar mixture. Add vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, cocoa, and arrowroot powder. Add to sugar mixture, blending well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes. Cool slightly and transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container

Additional Resources

For more information or egg-free products: