Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tips for Navigating the Holidays with Food Allergies

There are exactly 32 days until the start of Hanukkah and 50 days until Christmas.  (I know, it caught us by surprise too!)

With the holiday season approaching, it can be tricky to navigate the sea of get-togethers, pot-lucks and wine-and-cheese events when you’ve got food allergies. So, we’ve put together a list of tips to help those with food allergies enjoy the season a bit more.
  1. If you’re going to a pot-luck make an all-in-one dish, such as a casserole, that can stand alone as your meal in case there are no other viable options. ¹

  2. Talk to the hostess in advance and tell her you’d be happy to bring place cards for the various dishes. Hand them out to the guests as they arrive and ask them to write their name and the name of their dish, so it’s easy to identify on the food table. This will go a long way in helping you determine what’s safe and, if you’re still not sure about the ingredients, you can at least track down the cook to ask. ²  Bonus: it encourages mingling amongst guests and if you love that rice pilaf that Mary brought, you can give her your raves personally… or, better yet, ask for the recipe!

  3. If you’ve got little kids that will be attending a get-together with you, ask your hostess in advance if there will be any bowls of nuts, chocolates, etc (depending on your child’s particular allergy) within arm’s reach. If so, ask if they could be placed higher up. If you’ve got older children, walk around the food area with them and discuss what are safe foods and what should be avoided. ³

  4. Bring a special, yet safe, holiday treat with you so that there is always something festive for your child to enjoy. ³

  5. Label food that you bring to events so that it is clear what is in it. Our Date Labels work well in this instance; simply write the ingredients on it (ie. “No nuts, dairy or gluten”), then wash it off when you’re done. We also carry Allergy labels that are pre-printed with multiple lines of custom text, outlining your child’s allergy information.

Do you have any tips for enjoying the holidays with food allergies? If so, we’d love to hear them!

Wishing you and your family a fun, festive and safe holiday season!

¹ http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/whole-story/food-allergies-holidays

² http://practicalkatie.com/2011/11/21/childhood-food-allergies-tips-for-holiday-parties/

³ http://www.thebloomsburgdaily.com/2011/12/06/food-allergies-holidays-non-pecan-pie/

1 comment:

Unknown said...

These are great tips! And many of them are ones that I follow as well for my daughter when we go places during the holidays (or any other time). I always talk with the host beforehand in regards to nuts and make sure there won't be loose nuts served if they wish for us to come with our daughter. We avoid any dishes we're unsure of, because many times, even if you ask someone what's in the dish, some people unfortunately don't understand that the products they use can have a warning such as "MAY CONTAIN"...and will assume that if there's no peanuts/nuts actually in it, than it's safe. So we're very careful of that. Most people are really understanding though in advance with what they make/bring if they know there's someone attending with a particular food allergy :)