The holidays can lead to a great deal of stress for people who suffer from allergies. Read these important tips in order to ensure you have a safe and happy holiday season!
Inform Your Host of Any Food Allergies
When visiting the home of someone else, you will be entering a new environment where things are unfamiliar and you are not in control of the food being served. Rather than avoiding food, make sure the host of the gathering is aware of any food allergies you have. It’s easy to feel as if dietary restrictions are a burden on others, but there are easy solutions to help everyone stay safe. Any host would be happy to accommodate a food allergy, as long as they are made aware of it prior to the gathering. With advance notice, there will certainly be allergen-free foods for you to enjoy!
Making the Menu
If you are the one playing host, make sure you are aware of any dietary restrictions that your guests may have. If you buy any pre-packaged foods, keep all of the containers and food labels so that the guests can read them and feel safe when eating at your home. You can also encourage your guests with allergies to bring a dish to share that they know they will be safe eating (or share the recipe with you to make yourself). Make sure each dish has its own corresponding spoon that way cross-contamination is avoided and spoons are not being used for other dishes that might not be safe. Adding a note of the ingredients or which allergen it is free from would be very helpful for those with allergies to know what is safe to eat.
Staying Home for the Holidays
Not every holiday celebration has to be a big gathering! Here are some ideas of other ways to celebrate while at home:
- Have a holiday movie marathon
- Bake and decorate allergy-friendly holiday desserts
- Create holiday-themed DIY home decorations (ornaments, centerpieces, etc)
- Do a holiday photoshoot with matching ugly sweaters, antlers, Rudolph noses, and more!
Traveling for the holidays can be stressful, especially for those with food allergies. To relieve some of your anxieties, follow these helpful tips:
- ALWAYS bring an EpiPen wherever you go!!!!
- If flying to your destination, make the airline aware of any allergies in advance
- Keep safe snacks with you on travel days in case there are no allergen-free options available
- Look at restaurant menus prior to booking and call ahead of time with any allergy-related questions
Have a safe and happy holiday season!
From the SoCal Food Allergy Team!