Handling the Holidays With Food Allergies
For many families, the holidays are a time to get together and enjoy a festive meal. However, dealing with a food allergy can make holiday meal times stressful. Whether you have a food allergy and will be traveling for the holidays, or you are hosting a guest with a food allergy, make sure to handle the holidays safely with these tips.
Personal Prep Plan ahead with homemade dishes. It may take more time, but it’s a good way to keep your meal allergen-free. Make it a family activity!
Inspect Ingredient Labels If you are using packaged foods always read the label, even if you think the product is allergen-free.
Offer to Host or Help the Host As the host, you have more control over what is served. You can prepare only "safe" foods or control the area where allergens are allowed. If you’ll be a guest, let the host know that you'd be happy to help with shopping or prep so you can choose items you know are safe and ensure that dishes are prepared without allergens.
Separate the Culprit Designate separate areas where the allergen is allowed and separate utensils to help prevent cross-contamination. Encouraging frequent hand washing can also help keep areas allergen-free.
Modify Traditional Recipes Living with a food allergy doesn’t mean you or your family has to give up their holiday favorites. If a crowd-pleasing dish contains an allergen, try swapping it out for a similar ingredient.
Bring Snacks and Desserts Baked goods tend to be the biggest cause of food allergy reactions so bring a few of your favorite allergen-free snacks and desserts. This way you won’t miss out on those holiday treats.
Always be prepared in case you do come into contact with your allergen. Whether it’s carrying an EpiPen or other medication, be certain to follow your doctor’s prescribed allergy protocol. Written by: Haylee Kurtzweg, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern