Soy allergy is a common allergy among children. While about 4% of American children have a soy allergy, most kids outgrow their soy allergy by the time they turn 10.
Because of this, children with a soy allergy must avoid soy in all forms. This includes all soy products and where soy is listed as an ingredient. Today, our Baked Smart Cookie team is here to help parents explain how to have a soy-free diet for your child’s allergy and why they’ll love our soy-free cookie!
Reading Labels for Soy
Be sure to always read the whole ingredient label to look for the names of soy. Soy ingredients can be within the list of the ingredients, or could be listed in a “Contains: Soy” statement under that list. This is required by the federal Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA).
FALCPA requires that all packaged foods regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must list "soy" clearly on the ingredient label if it has soy. Advisory statements like “may contain soy” or “made in a facility with soy,” however, are voluntary. Advisory statements aren’t required by any federal labeling law. Consult with your child’s doctor if they can eat products with these labels or if they should avoid them.
Did you know that edamame, miso, and yuba all have soy as well? The FDA food allergen label law requires foods to mention if they contain a top 8 allergen including soy. However, there are various foods and products that aren’t covered by the law, so it’s still crucial to know how to read a label for soy ingredients.
Products Containing Soy
The following ingredients found on a label show the presence of soy protein. Don’t forget to check labels for any of the following:
- Bean curd
- Edamame (soybeans in pods)
- Hydrolyzed soy protein
- Kinako (roasted soybean flour)
- Koya dofu (freeze dried tofu)
- Okara (soy pulp)
- Soy albumin
- Soy concentrate
- Soy fiber
- Soy formula
- Soy miso
- Soy nuts
- Soy nut butter
- Soy protein, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate
- Soy sauce
- Soy sprouts
- Soya flour
- Soybean granules
- Soybean curd
- Soybean flour
- Soy lecithin
- Soybean paste
- Teriyaki sauce
- Textured soy flour (TSF)
- Textured soy protein (TSP)
- Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
- Yaki-dofu (grilled tofu)
- Yuba (bean curd)
- Artificial flavoring
- Asian foods (e.g. Japanese, Chinese, Thai, etc.)
- Baked goods
- Hydrolyzed plant protein
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
- Natural flavoring
- Vegetable broth
- Vegetable gum
- Vegetable starch
The following derivatives should be safe for most soy-allergic children:
- Soy oil (avoid cold-pressed, expeller pressed, or extruded soybean oil)
- Vegetable oil derived from soy
Cross Reactivity: Does Your Child Need to Avoid Foods Related to Soy?
Soy is a legume, and the legume family includes different beans like peanuts and lentils. A common question that comes up for parents who have a kid with an allergy to one legume is whether they can eat other types of legumes.
Cross-reactivity takes place when the proteins in one food are related to the proteins in another. When that occurs, the body's immune system sees them as the same. In fact, many years ago, it was common to suggest avoiding legumes altogether if you were allergic to another legume. This is not necessary as 95% of individuals who are allergic to one legume can tolerate and eat other legumes. Still, speak with your child’s doctor about what food recommendations they can or can’t eat.
How to Get Enough Nutrients for Your Munchkin’s Soy-Free Diet
Soybeans offer one of the highest quality proteins in a kid's diet. They also contain thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B6. Unless your child takes in generous portions of soy, the small amounts of soy in processed foods do not give a significant amount of these nutrients.
A soy-restricted diet will not pose any nutritional risk so long as your child is eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, enriched and fortified grains, and tolerated sources of protein.
Nutrient Lost When Avoiding Soy
- Vitamin B6
Suggested Alternatives (If Not Allergic)
- Other protein foods like meat, fish, poultry, legumes, eggs
- Dairy (if safe for your kid)
- Fruit, veggies, leafy greens, enriched grains
Soy Substitutions in Recipes
While soy is a common ingredient in foods in the US, rice-based and coconut-based alternatives are also an option if you need to avoid cow's milk and soy. Whole soybeans (edamame) can be replaced with other beans (fava, garbanzo).
Baked Smart Cookie: Smart, Sweet, and Soy-Free
Our team understands how difficult it is to accommodate a diet for your child’s allergies, whether it be soy or peanuts. Luckily, with our delicious cookies, not only is it soy-free, but it is also rich in fruits, veggies, and nutrients! The best part of it all, is your little one will love its sweetness without you having to worry about looking for any ingredients you can’t pronounce.
We hope with this fun, healthy sweet, we can make it a little easier for your child to have fun with what they eat!