What’s Eating Your Kid?: How to Identify Food Sensitivities in Your Child

Source: Stuart Richards, flickr

Bitter morning coffee wakes you up. A crisp salad makes you want to go outside. A heavy turkey dinner makes you want to sleep.

Food has such a sway on how we feel during our day to day lives. For a large percentage of us, some food makes us feel downright awful. Nearly 80% of the population suffers from some sort of food sensitivity. Children, especially, suffer from food sensitivities because they often lack the knowledge of dietary needs and the ability to express their symptoms.

Food sensitivities are not to be confused with allergies. 5% of the population is estimated to suffer from a true food allergy. If your child has a true food allergy, you will probably be able to identify it fairly swiftly. Perhaps your child’s tongue swells up after eating a peanut butter sandwich or they get a rash after eating some strawberry shortcake.

Food sensitivities, however, are a bit more difficult to notice and identify, although they can cause as much harm as an allergy. Sensitivities can present themselves in your child as restlessness, depression, mood swings, or even aggression. If you suspect that your child is suffering from a sensitivity, here are some steps you can take to identify it.



Allergy Test:

A doctor will take and test blood to determine whether or not your child is suffering from a true food allergy. There is also a ‘prick test’ in which a doctor will inject small amounts several allergens in a patient’s back and verify whether or not a bump develops, indicating a sensitivity. A true food allergy cannot be diagnosed through a prick test alone, though food sensitivities can.

Pro: These tests bring results fairly quickly, which will allow you to begin treating your child sooner.

Con: These tests have a fairly high false positive rates, especially for patients with eczema, asthma, or other allergies. Prick tests can be painful, especially for a child.


Elimination diet:
Avoid a suspect food for 3-4 weeks and then slowly reintroduce it and monitor the effects. If symptoms reappear with reintroduction, it is likely your child has a food sensitivity.

Pros: This diet is easy and virtually free. This can also be an empowering way to take control of your child’s health.

Cons: This diet is not always effective. If your child is suffering from sensitivities to more than one food, let’s say gluten and chocolate, eliminating only one might not alleviate symptoms to a point where sensitivity can be confirmed. In addition to this, you may have to try several foods before you can pin down a sensitivity. This can be an extremely time consuming process, during which your child may be suffering. Furthermore, even though a food may have caused your child no problems a year ago, food sensitivities can develop at any age, which means you must always be on alert.


Energetic Assessment:

Frequencies to foods are introduced through the skin and a stress response is recorded.

Pros: This test is non-invasive and results are immediate. In one sitting, you can be assessed for how your body responds to food at an energetic level.

Cons: Energetic assessment results not in a diagnosis, but instead a lifestyle recommendation. Well, maybe that’s not really a “Con.” Following the suggested lifestyle based on energetic assessment has historically shown to be a beneficent way of keeping food sensitivities at bay, although this test is not commonly covered by insurance.



In the end, only YOU know what is right for your child. If you are having trouble deciding which action to take, please contact me or comment below! While I can’t perform an allergy test, I have experience with elimination diets and energetically assess clients at my office quite frequently. I’d love to help you help your child live each day as best as they can.