Handling Food Allergies During the Holidays
It’s the season to be jolly and celebrate! The holidays are filled with parties and gatherings and it won’t be the most wonderful time of the year if food allergies are suddenly triggered.
An important step in handling food allergies during the holidays is to be informed. Know what certain foods can trigger your allergy symptoms and next is to make sure to communicate it well to others (especially your host). There are eight common food allergens as identified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and these are wheat, shellfish, peanuts, soybeans, eggs, milk, fish, and tree nuts.
Thoughtful planning and preparation are the keys into making each get together enjoyable without any allergies getting in the way.
Here are some tips on handling food allergies during the holidays:
- Make sure to ask about the ingredients of each dish. For the host, it would be best to write an ingredient card for each dish. This way, guests can easily identify which food they should avoid.
- Avoid serving common food allergens. An example would be a bowl of mix nuts for appetizers, serve something different instead.
- Be careful of cross-contamination when preparing and serving food. Decrease the likelihood of it but serving those with allergies first, or provide separate serving utensils.
- Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly when handling different ingredients, as well as before and after eating.
- For allergy sufferers, inform the host of any allergies you have. You can also bring your own allergen-free snacks or eat before arriving at the party. You may also offer to bring a potluck dish that you and others can enjoy.
- Have your medication ready-at-hand just in case of an accidental allergy attack.
Holiday gatherings need not be a worrisome event for you and your guests as long as you've employed careful planning and preparation, and communicated well enough to make sure your allergy concerns are addressed. May you guys have a festive holiday season!