Food Allergy-Friendly Valentine’s Day Party Ideas

candy-hearts-by-melissa-deakin-photography:moment:getty-images.jpg
Keep the holiday happy with allergy-friendly food and games. Melissa Deakin Photography/Moment/Getty Images

It’s the middle of winter and here we are, faced with another holiday! You know how to entertain with your food allergic guests in mind. And you know what to give as gifts, and what not to give. But what about hosting a kid-friendly Valentine’s day party?

Should you go “no candy” or try to find allergen-free candy? I pulled together some ideas to host a fun event that won’t bust your New Year’s resolution, is sensitive and flexible to the needs of children with and without food allergies, and engages kids in a variety of activities.

Mix and match these however you see fit to create the perfect Valentine’s Day celebration at home or in the classroom.

Craft Ideas

If you don’t keep kids busy at a party, they’ll find their own entertainment—and it may not be something you want them to be doing! Set up a table with one or two craft activities that party attendees can rotate through. Kids can make homemade Valentine’s cards for their family and friends, a paper flower bouquet, bookmarks, beaded friendship bracelets, or decorate an inexpensive picture frame.

Body Décor

Kids love to get their nails or face painted, so consider setting up a separate table or station where young children can get tattoos applied, have their faces painted and older kids can experiment with nail polish, make-up, or henna designs. Make sure you check for allergy-friendly make-up--those Latin ingredients could be hiding an allergen!

Games

Kids love to play games at a party, and it keeps them busy (and eats up time!).

Good old-fashioned bingo (with prizes of course!), musical chairs, and Pin the Heart on Cupid are great options for young kids. Try a game of Freeze Dance, Name that Tune, or a Jeopardy-themed game separated by teams for middle schoolers.

Love Notes

Homemade Valentine’s Day cards for parents, grandparents and teachers are always a favorite of beloved adults.

Try some thoughtful variations on the theme of crafty cards and make sweet notations or cards like “I like you because…” and “My compliment for you today is…” 

Red Snacks

Keep the party going with healthy and nutritious snacks that showcase the Valentine’s holiday color red. Instead of party food like pizza and soda, offer something healthy and in line with the holiday: red fruits and veggies. Pile a platter with strawberries, raspberries, sliced red apples, pomegranates, watermelon, red seedless grapes, and ruby red grapefruit segments. For red veggies, try sliced sweet red peppers, grape tomatoes, pickled beets and radishes alongside a dip of hummus or guacamole.

Traditional Valentine’s Candy

Every year kids get a load of candy on Valentine’s Day. What was once celebrated with a small colorful card is now regaled with a piece of candy attached, often along with a big party and more candy. Sure, there are a lot of allergen-free candy makers and websites you can investigate, but if you’re like me, you don’t plan that far ahead with an order for Valentine’s Day.

So, here’s some run-of-the-mill candy you can find at your local drugstore that is free from the top 8 allergens. As always, double-check the ingredients list for possible allergens (in case they have changed).

Necco wafers

Mike & Ike

Starbursts

Skittles

Smarties

Dum Dums

Bazooka bubble gum

Ring pops

Lemonheads

Red Hots

Jolly Ranchers

Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

Swedish Fish

Sour Patch Kids

Lifesavers hard candy

Lifesavers Pops

Nerds

Make sure Valentine’s Day is fun, healthy and safe for everyone, especially those little ones with food allergies! What's your favorite party idea for Valentine's Day?

Continue Reading