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Toddlers and Allergies to Whole Grains

by Eliza Martinez, studioD

Wheat is one of the top childhood allergens, according to the Mayo Clinic website, but other whole grains can also cause an allergic reaction in toddlers. Food allergies are scary for parents, but understanding the symptoms and treatment helps you keep your little one safe, while also providing her with a well-rounded meal plan that includes whole grain substitutes that don't cause a reaction.

Types of Whole Grains

Knowing which foods count as a whole grain can help you get to the root of your toddler's food allergies. Wheat, oats, rice and popcorn are common whole grains. Bulgur, millet, cornmeal, buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, rye, barley and cornmeal are other whole grains to which your toddler might be allergic. Finding out which ones cause a reaction is vital for preventing a dangerous situation.


In most cases, the symptoms of a food allergy are the same, regardless of which food your toddler is allergic to. The symptoms of a whole grain allergy range in severity, and your toddler might have some and not others. Soon after ingesting the allergen, your toddler might get hives or a runny nose. He might also have trouble breathing, his tongue and lips could swell, and diarrhea, nausea and vomiting can also occur. Keeping a food journal can help you and your child's pediatrician determine which grains are producing a reaction and then test for them specifically.


There is no cure for a food allergy, so the only way to prevent your child from having a reaction is to avoid the whole grains to which he's allergic. In some cases, your toddler's pediatrician might prescribe antihistamines to control minor reactions and an epinephrine pen for a severe reaction after accidental ingestion, notes the Mayo Clinic website. Reading labels very carefully is vital to ensuring that your little one doesn't mistakenly ingest a whole grain he shouldn't. Depending on the whole grain allergy your toddler has, it might be necessary to avoid bread, tortillas, crackers, oatmeal, cereal, pasta and alternative grains.


Raising a toddler with a food allergy can be stressful and scary, but with time, you'll get used to caring for him. Reading labels helps you find safe foods for your toddler's diet. If your toddler goes to day care, packing his meals and snacks and keeping them in a safe place ensures he has something safe to eat when you're not there. It's also a good idea to teach any person caring for your toddler to prepare her food without contaminating it. If you plan to eat in a restaurant, access its website and check out the allergen information so you can make a safe choice for your toddler when you get there. If you worry about removing whole grains from your toddler's diet, talk to his pediatrician about nutritional supplements to fill any gaps in his meal plan.

About the Author

Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.

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