Holiday season is the time of the year where families and friends get together and celebrate around a table stacked with delicious dishes. However, things can get a bit tricky if you are dealing with a food allergy or are going to be hosting a food allergic guest.
The last thing anyone wants is having to worry about bad allergic reactions to foods served at a festive dinner table – that’s why we prepared a few tips and tricks that will make your life a little easier. Whether you prepare a holiday feast in your own home, or you’re invited to be the guest at someone else’s house – don’t worry, we got you covered:
1. Host at home
If you’re the one dealing with a food allergy, try to host holiday get-togethers and dinners at your own house. This will give you control over the dishes served: You can prepare allergy-safe foods, and make sure that there is no cross-contact with allergy-unsafe foods.
2. Be considerate
If you’re inviting guests to join you for a holiday dinner, ask if they have any food allergies or intolerances that you should consider in preparation for the event. Guests are free to bring snacks or side dishes – just make sure that allergy-safe and allergy-unsafe foods are served in separate dishes and that everyone is aware of potential allergens contained in the foods served.
3. Modify recipes
Switching ingredient to make a traditional recipe allergy-free is easier than most people think! There are substitutes for all the main food allergens: No matter if it’s milk or other dairy products, eggs, wheat, or nuts – there is an alternative ingredient you can use instead for all of them.
4. Read labels
As you are shopping for groceries and snacks, stay alert and read all the ingredient labels. Even if you’re familiar with a product, it’s possible that the manufacturers change steps in the production chain which can lead to cross-contamination of their products with allergens.
5. Prevent cross-contamination
Make sure to prepare allergy-safe and unsafe foods in different areas of the kitchen and to use separate kitchen tools and dishes as you do so. Wash your hands and utensils frequently to prevent cross-contamination.
6. Keep medication ready
Keep allergy medication for light reactions (e.g., antihistamine tablet) as well as emergency medication for severe reactions (e.g., EpiPen) ready. Chances are high you won’t need it, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Away from home
7. Communicate well
If you’re going to be the guest at someone else’s house, let the host know which food allergies (or intolerances) you are dealing with, so they can prepare accordingly.
8. Offer to help
It can be difficult for the host to account for individual guests’ diet requirements. As an allergic guest, offer to help with the grocery shopping or meal preparation of foods you can safely eat. Not only does this make you a considerate guest, but it also takes pressure off the host who might be worried about preparing allergy-safe dishes the right way.
9. Bring food
Additionally, you can offer making side dishes or bringing snacks you prepared yourself. This way you can guarantee there will be allergy-safe food options for you to eat, and it is another way to take pressure off the host.
10. Bring emergency medication
If you suffer from a severe food allergy, your doctor usually prescribes you an emergency medication in the form of an EpiPen. Treat your holiday get-togethers like any occasion you would bring your medication to – this will help to ease your mind and enjoy the party along with everyone else.
You want to explore your potential food allergies and food intolerances? Take the ALL FIT allergy & food intolerance test and learn about your sensitivities!