Allergy- Friendly Holidays
How to Accommodate Allergy Needs While Hosting the Holidays
Food allergies are on the rise and the food service industry is accommodating special needs more today than ever before. Cooking and dining in the home is a whole different ballpark. While those with allergies know what to avoid and how to prep meals for themselves, dining at a friend or family member’s house can be a bit daunting. If you are hosting the holidays for a loved one who has an allergy or food sensitivity, it is always good to learn how to accommodate their needs. Here is how the host(ess) can arm themselves with a few tools for an allergy friendly holiday!
Step One: Preparation
Before any good party/ hosted dinner, it’s important to plan for the occasion with recipes, decorations and shopping lists. When someone is attending with special dietary restrictions planning is even more vital. First, ask your guests if they have any special dining requests/ allergies. Remember, the one who is allergic is the best advocate for themselves!
Once you know what to avoid, start planning for the meal. There are some awesome articles/ blogs that are dedicated to allergy-friendly recipes. Some great ones are:
- Allergic Living- https://www.allergicliving.com/2016/11/14/allergy-friendly-gluten-free-holiday-recipes/
- A Little Insanity- https://alittleinsanity.com/allergy-friendly-holiday-recipes/
- Eating with Food Allergies- http://www.eatingwithfoodallergies.com/thanksgivingwithfoodallergies.html
- Once A Month Meals- https://onceamonthmeals.com/blog/holiday-help/allergy-friendly-holiday-recipes/
Keep in mind there are hundreds of others that are just as great. A simple google search will show how many people are passionate about allergy-friendly holiday recipes!
Step Two: Day Of
When preparing to cook the meal make sure to be mindful of cross-contact. “Cross-contact happens when one food comes in contact with another food and their proteins mix” (FARE). If your meal isn’t entirely allergy-friendly, use these helpful hints when prepping:
- Prepare/ cook allergy-friendly meals first. This helps avoid any dripping/ cross-contact on surfaces and in the oven.
- Use separate surfaces when preparing. Use one counter top for all food prep and the other only for allergy-friendly food prep.
- If you are serving buffet style have the allergy-friendly meals at the start of the line. If you have it the other way around, it’s more likely that food will be pulled into the allergy-free dishes on accident in the plating process.
Read more about cross-contact at https://www.foodallergy.org/life-with-food-allergies/living-well-everyday/avoiding-cross-contact.
Step Three: Enjoy!
Once you have taken the measures to ensure your guests are eating safe, delicious meals, it is now your turn to enjoy! Those who are living with food allergies and intolerances will appreciate you tenfold for going the extra mile. The effort will not go unnoticed and you will be prepped for the next holiday. Congrats on researching how to take care of your friends and family members around the holidays with allergies!