Thanksgiving has passed and now that the holiday season is in full-swing, prepare yourself for more gatherings and even more food. Creamy dips, cheesy casseroles and homemade sweets will likely be on the menu, but what can guests with food allergies enjoy? Adults and children alike suffer from food allergies and this can lead to feeling left out of the festivities. Here are some helpful tips so both hosts and guests can enjoy this season’s eatings.
- Offer alternatives. If guests want to contribute, suggest having them bring holiday napkins, utensils or beverages. This way you can limit the amount of food and be mindful of friends with food allergies.
- Consider making a “natural” turkey. All-natural fresh turkeys are free of antibiotics, hormones and allergens. Some pre-basted turkeys may contain soy, wheat and dairy.
- Avoid cross-contamination. When preparing food, care with utensils and surfaces is a must. Always scrub all utensils and surfaces with soap and water and wipe clean. Trace amounts of food can cause a reaction for highly allergic people.
- Label your table. It’s always a good practice when hosting a gathering to label what you are serving, especially if a dish contains nuts or gluten.
- Offer to contribute. A polite guest always offers to bring something to the party. A bottle of wine is always a good option. When in doubt, fresh flowers or a festive centerpiece can always be a nice touch.
- Bring a dish that’s safe. If you have food allergies and even if the party you’re invited to isn’t necessarily a potluck, still bring a dish or two that is safe to eat. This way your guaranteed there’s something you can eat and enjoy with everyone else.
- Snack beforehand. Nervous about what’s going to be served? Have a light meal before the party and then lightly sample what the host has served. This way you won’t be famished during the party and you can still sample to your liking.
- Bring medication. Have Benadryl and an EpiPen ready just in case you or someone you know starts exhibiting symptoms of an allergic reaction. Inform others as well on how to administer the medication if needed.
Following these tips will help you plan your menu or at least help organize your holiday game plan with some food allergy knowledge in mind. Just because food allergies exist doesn’t mean you or your friends can’t have a great holiday party. Always remember to consult your physician if you are unsure if you are allergic to a particular food. Happy Holidays!