Living with a food allergy is tough enough on a daily basis. It’s even harder during the holidays when there are parties and family events all filled with food. Think of all those Christmas cookies, cakes, desserts, and dairy filled dips that you find at parties and dinners. What’s a girl with a milk allergy, or any allergy for that matter, to do? Or how about someone with an egg allergy or who has Celiac disease and can’t eat all of those delectable baked goods ?
Whether hosting or attending, here are 10 tips for surviving the holidays with a food allergy.
1. Communication is Key – The sooner the better , tell the host about your food allergies. Your host may not know that you even have a food allergy and will need education on what you can and can’t eat, and also how to deal with cross contamination issues.
2. Ask the Question – Get the conversation going by asking guests if they have a food allergy or special dietary need.
3. Share Recipes- If you can’t host the party/dinner then suggest recipes and Brands that are Top 8 Free.
4.Be Open Minded – Even a trace amount of an allergen can cause a reaction. Be sure to label all dishes that are being served so that people know the ingredients used.
5. Prevent Cross Contamination – This is a huge issue for people with food allergies when they eat outside of their home. Thoroughly scrub all utensils and work surfaces. Have plenty of clean utensils ready to use. Label all ingredients used for every dish. Trace amounts can cause a reaction and ruin your party and dinner.
6. Think Outside the Box – Often times we revert to what we know and what’s easy like trays of cheese and crackers and dairy filled dips. Not only are these not the healthiest for anyone, but these dishes tend to be full of the Top 8 food allergens. There are so many other things that you can offer that are unique and just as delicious or more so. How about unique rice crackers that are gluten free? Think about chutneys, hummus, olives, cut up vegetables to serve instead of bread and crackers that will probably contain dairy or other allergens. And check out the recipe pages of my website for more ideas and inspiration.
7. Be Mindful – Remember that those with food allergies are not picky eaters. We eat the way we do to survive. It truly can be a matter of life and death.
8. Bring Your Own Food – It’s always best to bring a dish specific to your food need. Chances are no one will even know it’s food allergy friendly!
9. Don’t Forget the Epi-Pen – At the holidays especially when you are juggling events it’s easy to forget your Epi-Pen but don’t! Be sure you have 2 with you at all times.
10 . Be the Hostess with the Mostess – When you are hosting at your home it is much easier to control what is served and how it is being served. That’s just one reason why I like to have dinners and parties in my house. I can control what is being served, where the items are placed on a buffet table, and make sure that cross-contamination doesn’t happen.
With a little bit of planning ahead and an open mind, attendees and hosts can have a fun party and holiday event. Cheers!
What do you do to stay food allergy safe during the holidays? Share your tips and ideas in our comments section