"Okay hostesses with the mostesses. If you’re hosting a holiday party or gathering to be attended by food-allergic kids, first of all, THANK YOU! I know it isn’t always easy to accommodate everyone safely, and your effort to include allergy sufferers is so very much appreciated!
We’ve put together a few tips to make it a bit easier for you and your guests to enjoy a wonderful and safe party!
- First of all, communication leads to success! The parents of food-allergy kids will be glad to help you understand their needs and plan a safe gathering.
- Decide if your menu will be allergen-free or allergy-friendly. An allergen-free event would be amazing, but for some family get-togethers, it might not be easy to manage. Instead, you might opt for a menu that includes both traditional favorites and plenty of allergen-free options too. Some parents might even prefer to bring separate food for their child to make it easier to keep them safe.
- When choosing recipes, remember that allergens can be listed under a variety of names, so be careful when checking ingredients. Again, ask the allergy parent for help if you’re not sure. They are usually experts at that kind of thing!
- Cross-contamination can be a pitfall – using the same dishes or utensils for allergen and non-allergen foods can transfer enough particles to cause a reaction. The solution is to thoroughly wash all surfaces before preparing allergen-free foods, keep them sealed and covered until serving, and make sure that serving utensils don’t go back and forth between foods. For an extra measure of safety, identify safe foods using distinctive plates and utensils or by keeping them in a designated allergen-free area.
- If you’re planning to have a kids table, they might enjoy a kid-friendly, allergen-free feast that’s different from the adult meal. Most kids prefer fun foods like pizza, chicken nuggets or spaghetti to turkey anyway!
- An older child can be a great ally at the kids table! Ask them to help by watching out for food-sharing and to make sure that allergic kids don’t accidentally pick up the wrong foods. It will make them feel less “babyish” for sitting with smaller kids, too!
It may seem a little daunting at first, but everyone should be able to enjoy the company of friends and family at the holidays. Making sure that allergic kids are included is extra-special, and as an allergy mom, I appreciate it more than you know!"