Holidays that revolve around food can be a challenge for families with food allergies.
The traditional holiday meal can present numerous allergy risks — and the risks can be
even greater if you aren’t preparing the meal yourself. Is there any way around the
stress and pressure of a holiday known for allergen-laden foods?
- Ask guests about their dietary needs. If other guests are bringing food, be specific about food restrictions of your guests and offer ideas for safe options. Instead of saying “gluten free crackers,” which may be difficult to find, give brand names or tell guests where they can be found.
- If you prefer to prepare all the foods yourself to avoid allergic reactions and your guests want to bring something, suggest holiday cups, plates and napkins, or unpeeled fruit that is safe to eat.
- Wash your hands often after handling foods to avoid cross contamination between
an allergen and other foods.
- Remind your child when being offered a food item that may contain an allergen, to politely decline the offer and say “I’m sorry, but I cannot eat ______. Thank you anyway.” Tactfully inform your host in advance of food allergies or dietary needs and the possibility that you may bring your own foods.
- In all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, don’t let your guard down regarding safety. Don’t take any chances; verify all ingredients and read all labels to ensure safety.
- Home-baked goods are a treat around the holidays, but if you are a guest with a
food allergy, talk to your host about foods you can bring that are allergen safe.