Summer and the Eating is Right, Even With a Food Allergy!

Summer means sun, fun and lots of outdoor eating, picnics, and barbeques.

Maybe you were at a 4th of July party or will go to a summer party soon.

Maybe you are hosting a party and will have guests attending who have food allergies.

Maybe you will attend a summer party or picnic and you have a food allergy.

I hosted my annual summer garden party this weekend and wanted to make sure I could eat safely as well as anyone else in attendance with a food allergy.

Here are some tips to let you enjoy summer eating with a food allergy:

Since I am allergic to milk and I was hosting the party this weekend, I made sure all the food was dairy free.

I was able to control the ingredients by making the food dishes myself and the few that others made were from trusted friends who cooked dairy free and included an ingredient list. I included labels for each dish so everyone would know what was included in each menu item.

But what if you are not hosting and/or doing all the cooking? Whenever going to a potluck type of event it’s always good to bring your own food. Be sure to pack your allergy safe items separately and in another carry bag, away from other foods that are not allergy friendly to avoid cross contamination from spills and leaks. Include your own serving utensils for the allergy safe food. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology also suggest binging separate condiments that you only use or condiment single-serve packets to avoid cross contamination. The Academy advises bringing wipes to clean park picnic tables and to bring your own tablecloth when eating at parks to cover tables that may not be clean or free of allergens. If using a public grill, be sure to clean it before using and cover grill plates with foil to cut down on possible exposure. And if you are grilling meat, avoid highly processed foods like hotdogs which tend to have lots of hidden allergens. Hotdog and hamburger buns can also be a threat especially if you are allergic to dairy, eggs, wheat, and/or have Celiac’s Disease. Never share food or drinks and be sure allergic children do not eat anything until parents have checked ingredients.

At a family fathering where Great Aunt Trudy is serving her potato salad with its “secret” sauce? Be sure you tell family and friends what you are allergic to and ask Aunt Trudy to detail the ingredients she used. If she won’t , because after all it’s a “secret”, then be safe and avoid that salad. In fact, if you don’t know that ingredients for every dish are safe for you, avoid them all together. Remember it only takes a small amount of an allergen to send your body into a tailspin. Aunt Trudy may wish you were eating the salad she lovingly prepared, but you’ll be happier in the long run and avoid a possible emergency room trip. And be sure you never leave home without your EpiPen just in case disaster strikes.

As a person with a food allergy, what are your tips for surviving summer parties and barbecues? Hosting a party; how do you make sure food and drinks will be safe for everyone attending? Share your tips in our comments section and enjoy the Summer sun!

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