Friday, July 30, 2010

Conquering Starbucks

I don't know about you, but for me, one of the saddest parts of being a food-allergy parent is going into a particular food-related establishment and thinking, "My kid will probably never be able to eat/drink anything here." All bakeries and ice cream shops fall within this category. Until recently, so did Starbucks.

Of course, we have always stayed away from the fresh-baked items behind the counter there because all of them contain things (egg, milk) Ainsley can't eat and there are also cross-contamination issues with the nut-containing products. And I would never think of giving her the coffee, not only because she's 5 but also because sometimes the coffee beans have been roasted with nuts. Usually, my friends get their kids little drink boxes of Horizon chocolate milk there, but that's out for us because of Ainsley's dairy allergy. Needless to say, I was always at a loss in terms of what I could order for Ainsley so we usually stayed away from the place (in a pinch I would get her a bottle of fruit juice, but she was never excited by that).

Recently, however, my babysitter took the girls into our local Starbucks to get something for herself and found that it was now stocking packages of Lucy's cookies, which are free of egg, milk, and peanuts/tree nuts (they are also gluten-free). The manager also assured her that it would be safe for Ainsley to have a cup of soy milk (poured straight from the container into a clean cup) with a shot of vanilla flavoring for extra pizzazz.

Ainsley has loved ordering the cookies and the soy milk and now says that Starbucks is "one of her favorite restaurants." It would quickly jump to the top if it gave out toys with its food like McDonalds.

If you have a child with the same allergies as Ainsley, you might want to give Starbucks another look - it seems that it is making an effort to reach out to food-allergic individuals.


Mamma Sarah said...

oh yes!!! this is very exciting. :-) thanks for sharing! Oh they also have a WONDERFUL soy chai frozen drink... you may want to inquire about that.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Starbucks is a favorite for us for this very reason. We love Lucy's cookies and my daughter gets the horizon milk (her allergies are to treenuts and peanuts). She is so happy to have a place where some treats are safe. There's one a few blocks away and it's nice it we meet up with some of her friends and their moms after school and we can join in while being safe!!


Laura said...

My 2 yr old son who is severely allergic to nuts, dairy, eggs, soy and wheat to name a few loves going to Starbucks. He asks for tea whenever we walk by one. We order the passion tea /lemonade w/ half the syrup. It is so nice to be able to have a treat outside of the house. :)

Col said...

Starbucks is my airport lifesaver. It's typically the only place behind the security checkpoint that sells soy milk. (You'd think the newsstands might have it, but nope.) I get a soy milk "steamer", cold, no flavoring, and my son is a happy camper!
I'll look for Lucy's cookies next time. Sounds like a good option.

Cupcakes and Cutlery said...

As Starbucks is one of our regular stops during errands, it has always bummed me out that I couldn't get anything for my food allergic son. He understood why he couldn't have my coffee or tea, but if I ever needed to grab a snack, I felt terrible that I couldn't share. Then when my second kid came along, with no known allergies, and he could have a treat (although I never gave him the treats in front of my other son) I felt even worse. A cousin contacted me one day when she saw the Lucy's cookies in her Starbucks and wanted to make sure I knew about them. I still can't find them at all the Starbucks locations but enough that often times he can now enjoy a special treat. And we buy Lucy's from Whole Foods so I know he likes them. And the soymilk! Because he gets to drink it from a Starbucks cup he is over the moon. Yeah Starbucks!

jocyelyn wilson said...

Thanks for sharing this information. I am allergic to nuts and I drank a few sips of Starbucks iced regular coffee with milk and I felt my throat closing and my tongue started to itch. Clearly I was having an allergic reaction but I couldn't figure out from what. Now that I know that the coffee beans are roasted with nuts, that kind of explains why I had a reaction to the coffee. I have to be more careful.