2218 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
705 W. Belden Ave., Chicago
(773) 404-CAKE (2253)
1922 Mannheim Road, Westchester
Free From Market
14482 S. La Grange Road, Orland Park
3006 N. Sheffield Road, Chicago
Any pizza can be made gluten-free.
Locations throughout Chicago and suburbs
Offers gluten-free, sausage crust pizza
Uno Chicago Grill
Schaumburg and Gurnee restaurants
Alexandra Kales was 4 when she had a life-threatening reaction
to peanut butter. That day was life altering for the whole family,
says her mom Jenny Kales of La Grange Park. "Everything you do now
is changed, with regard to anything involving food."
Restrictive diets are becoming easier to manage,
thanks to a growing industry of specialty stores and
For families who have children with dietary restrictions, such
as a gluten intolerance or food allergies, a simple trip to the
grocery store can take hours as parents are forced to read every
label. But in response to the growing number of children who
require a specialized diet, more restaurants, bakeries and
specialty grocery stores are cropping up to fill the need.
"In 2004 (when Alexandra was diagnosed), there wasn't anything
like this, but now parents have a few more options than I had early
on," says Kales, who as author of nut-freemom.blogspot.com shares
information with other parents about options for their
Peter DeRousee also has children with life-threatening allergies
and Celiac disease, so he knows firsthand what families are looking
for when they head to his store, Free From Market, which opened
last year and specializes in everything to do with allergies.
"What's different (about this store) is that there are eight common
allergens responsible for most allergies, so there are little icons
on all the foods indicating the allergen, and we keep a database of
every item in the store and every ingredient in it," DeRousse
explains. "So we can go on the computer and figure out what
products will work, or people can cruise the aisles and check the
icons." To make things even easier, the store's products are also
available online with the same information, so parents can have the
food shipped to them.
Gluten-free Grocery in Westchester is another relative newcomer
to this specialized market, and in spite of the tough economy, the
store's business has been booming the past two years as parents
seek out safe foods for their children. "A lot of the products we
carry didn't even exist five years ago, so it's gotten to be a much
better world for people with allergies," says store owner Cindy
The store stocks more than 900 products, including kid favorites
such as macaroni and cheese (some with dairy-free options) and
chicken nuggets. "Of course, every item is gluten-free, but many
are also free of additional allergens," says Erwin. This store also
has a coding system on products with tags that let parents know
what's in the products they're buying.
Not all restaurants are off-limits any more either. Café Twist
in Lincoln Park sells everything from sandwiches to gourmet
pretzels, while still keeping the restaurant 100 percent nut-free.
Or head to Swirlz Cupcakes, where kids on a gluten-free diet can
enjoy several different flavors of specially made cupcakes.
Uno Chicago Grill in Schaumburg and Gurnee Mills has an
extensive gluten-free menu, including kid-favorite individual
pizzas. "We actually have nutritional kiosks in every one of our
restaurants, where they can touch any menu item and it will list
all the ingredients, and it's available on our website as well,"
says Kenny Richards, vice president of operations.
The best way to manage life with kids who can't eat everything
other kids can is by focusing on the positive, Kales says. "People
get hung up on, they can't go to the ice cream parlor, they won't
have a good childhood. But if you do the fun things they can do,
really they're going to be fine. You shouldn't worry so much about
what they can't have."
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
Contact Liz at [email protected]
See more of Liz's stories here.
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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