How to Live a Peanut Allergy Free Life

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Discover how to live a peanut allergy free life in this guide. We uncover 19 hidden sources of peanuts to avoid and peanut-free alternatives to help you plan your meals.

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Peanuts are usually found in tasty candies, chocolates, cookies, desserts, main dishes, salads, and soups. 

Peanuts are a source of Vitamin E, protein, magnesium, potassium, and niacin. The magnesium and potassium may specifically help with lowering high blood pressure. However, peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies in the world. 

If you would like to learn more about peanut as a food allergy, then you may benefit from reading this article. 

Peanut Food Family

Peanuts are a part of the Legumes Family. If you are allergic or sensitive to peanuts, you may also be allergic or sensitive to other foods in the Legumes Family List (source).

You may need to avoid the foods listed below:

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Peas 

(However, if you CAN eat beans and lentils, this blog post will tell you how to get the most out of these nutritious foods.) 

Cross Reactivity of Peanut Allergens

several types of nuts in small white dishes

Cross reactivity means that similar proteins may also be found in different foods. People who are allergic to peanuts, especially children with peanut allergy, may also need to avoid the following due to similar protein components (source). 

  • Legumes (part of the Fabacea food family)
  • Lupine
  • Soy Beans
  • Chic Pea
  • Lentil
  • Tree Nuts
    • Almond
    • Beech Nut
    • Brazil Nut
    • Butternut
    • Cashew
    • Chestnut
    • Chinquapin (Dwarf Chestnut)
    • Coconut 
    • Filbert (Hazelnut) 
    • Ginkgo Nut
    • Hickory Nut
    • Lichee Nut
    • Macadamia Nut / Bush nut
    • Pecan
    • Pine Nut 
    • Pili Nut 
    • Pistachio
    • Shea Nut 
    • Walnut

Hidden Sources of Peanuts

Peanuts can be found in a lot of foods, as it can be used as a topping, confections, snack products, or even as a main ingredient. For this reason, people who are allergic to peanuts may need to look out on the following foods which may contain peanuts (source). Peanuts are used in many cuisines. 

  • Artificial flavoring
  • Baked goods
  • Candy
  • Chili
  • Chocolate
  • Crumb toppings
  • Egg rolls
  • Enchilada sauce
  • Fried foods
  • Flavoring
  • Graham cracker crust
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Marzipan
  • Mixed Nuts and any type of nut products
  • Mole sauce
  • Natural flavoring
  • Nougat
  • Peanut Flour 
hidden sources of peanuts list graphic with peanuts on the image

Signs and Symptoms of Peanut Allergy

allergy alert bracelet on top of peanuts

Allergic reactions to peanuts can range from mild to life threatening and may appear alone or in combination. Common symptoms include the following (source):

  • Collapse 
  • Coughing 
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Difficulty Talking 
  • Dizziness 
  • Hives (Urticaria) 
  • Hoarse Voice 
  • Itching, especially around the mouth 
  • Pale Skin
  • Runny nose
  • Skin reactions such as redness, swelling and hives
  • Stomach pain
  • Swelling around the mouth
  • Swelling of the face 
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Swelling or tightness or tingling in the throat
  • Vomiting 
  • Weakness 
  • Wheezing 

Peanut Alternatives (Including Nut Free Options)

Peanut is commonly purchased as an oil, a spread and as a nut. When choosing an alternative to peanuts be sure to consider if you must avoid other nuts, other legumes, other added ingredients and other foods that may be a cross contaminant. 

almond-butter spread in bread

Peanut Butter Alternatives

  • Almond Butter
  • Cashew Butter
  • Hemp Seed Butter (Nut Free)
  • Sunflower Seed Butter (Nut Free)
  • Pumpkin Seed Butter (Nut Free)
  • Soy Butter (Nut Free) 
  • Walnut Butter 

Peanut Oil Alternatives

Peanut Oil is often used for frying and cooking at high temperatures. The following oils are peanut free and have qualities that make them suitable for high temperature cooking (source).

avocado  cut open with avocado oil  displayed
  • Avocado Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Sesame Oil (not Toasted Sesame Oil)
  • Sunflower Seed Oil

Peanut Alternatives

Peanuts are a tasty and familiar snack and it can be hard to give these up. Peanuts are also added to a lot of recipes for texture and flavor. The following are options to consider as possible peanut alternatives.

peanut alternatives in jars: almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds

When deciding, first be sure to consider if you have any other food allergies or cross reactivity. Next, be sure to consider how the food will be used — as a snack, a topping, a main ingredient, for texture, for flavor etc. Lastly, consider if there are nutritional considerations. Many of the foods on this list are similar to peanuts in terms of calories and dietary fat but not all are. 

  • Almond
  • Beech Nut
  • Brazil Nut
  • Cashew
  • Chestnut
  • Corn Nut 
  • Dried Coconut 
  • Filbert (Hazelnut) 
  • Ginkgo Nut
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Macadamia Nut 
  • Pecan
  • Pine Nut 
  • Pili Nut 
  • Pistachio
  • Pumpkin Seeds 
  • Soy Nuts 
  • Sunflower Seeds 
  • Walnut

Peanut Alternatives – Vitamin E Sources

vitamin e rich foods displayed

Peanuts are a good source of vitamin E but not everyone can have this due to allergy. So, you may instead opt for the list below for other sources of vitamin E, which may help boost the immune system (source)

  • Abalone
  • Atlantic Salmon
  • Avocado
  • Goose Meat
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mamey Sapote
  • Mango
  • Rainbow Trout

Bottom Line

Prevention is better than treatment, so it is important to know what foods you need to avoid.

If you suspect that you are allergic to peanuts or have a family history with peanut allergies, it is highly suggested that you seek treatment options from trained healthcare professionals such as an Allergist, Registered Dietitian or Certified Leap Therapist. Blood tests, skin tests and supervised food challenges may be required to find out what foods you need to avoid and which are safe to eat.

peanut allergy meal planning guide pinterest graphic with peanuts displayed

Author

  • Lisa Hugh is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Leap Therapist. She has a Masters of Science in Healthcare Administration. As a a Food Sensitivity Expert, her passion is helping people with complex medical and nutrition needs find food and groceries that are safe and enjoyable. Lisa enjoys helping clients in her private practice.

  • Rachelle Paderna is a Nutrition Intern at Single Ingredient Groceries.

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