Don't Let Food Allergies Ruin Your Holiday Spirit

For those with food allergies, the holidays often become overwhelming and challenging. Navigating through friends holiday parties, choosing from a dessert table, and partaking in holiday gift baskets can be very difficult to get a handle on. While you keep a smile on your face, trying to enjoy the holiday spirit, it is hard not to feel discouraged. Traditions take on a different feel when you can’t actually participate.

Follow These Tips

Before you throw in the towel and dismiss the holiday cheer, take some of these steps to enjoy the holiday excitement and fun. These simple steps will help you to be a part of the holiday and perhaps even add new traditions, that even those with food allergies like yourself can enjoy.

  • Remind Others - Whether you are the host or going to someone else’s home, be sure to remind them of your food allergies. While you might think they already know, during this hectic time of holiday party planning, they may forget. Don’t feel like your a burden, they will be happy you spoke up.
  • Keep the Labels - By holding on to the labels for the foods you make or serve, you can always double check for allergens, for both you and other guests with food allergies. This also can serve as a way to remember what foods were not only safe, but now a new delicious addition for next years holiday party.
  • Bring Flowers Please - As friends ask what they can bring to your holiday event, suggest they bring something other than food. This way you can be gracious and enjoy it, without food allergy concerns. This will leave the food preparation under your control.
  • Forgo The China - While you might want to host a fancy event, perhaps you might consider paper or plastic. This will help to avoid cross-contamination among your guests with food allergies. Today there are a multitude of beautiful tableware that looks like china but can be disposable. If you opt to use real dishes and utensils, be sure to wash them thoroughly prior to setting the table. Be sure to use individual serving spoons and utensils so that guests are not using them interchangeably.
  • Bring Your Own - No need to worry that you won’t have anything to eat at your upcoming holiday dinner. Find out what they are serving and offer to bring a dish or two of your own. This way you will be sure that it is safe to eat with your food allergy needs. This will enable you to sit down, eat and enjoy the party like everyone else.
  • Check In Before - Don’t wait until its time to go to check in and be sure you know what options you will have once you arrive. When going to a restaurant or catered event, call ahead and inform them of your allergies and concerns. Let them know when you will be a guest at that event and have a contact name for the day of the party. This way they will be prepared for your arrival and have allergy free food on hand for you to enjoy.
  • Emergency Care Kit - Be sure that no matter where you are celebrating this season, you have your allergy medications on hand. Even with the best planning, accidents can occur. It is important to be safe and prepared as to not ruin your festivities.
  • Traditional - Don’t let your food allergies get in the way of good old family traditions. Take time to research allergen-free recipes for holiday favorites. Why not use these new recipes to bake and decorate cookies for all to enjoy? Or modify your recipe for grandma’s potato pancakes or lasagna. This might actually cut down on your preparation and cooking time, with everyone eating the same foods.
  • New Traditions - Perhaps all the holiday cheer doesn’t have to be about food. Start new traditions with your family. Instead of baking cookies, make a scrapbook of old photos together. Instead of sitting around a table full of hors d'oeuvres, plan a family scavenger hunt or game of charades. Spend time helping others as a family, start a family hobby, have a holiday movie night, or come up with your own new tradition that doesn't revolve around food. What you start this holiday season will ultimately turn into a tradition for years to come.

So start planning before the holidays are upon us and you too will enjoy all the food and festivities that go along with it!

Continue Reading