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    5 Tips for Allergy-Friendly Holiday Parties

    December 11, 2011 •  2 comments.

     •  Blog, News

    The holidays are festive, filled with good friends and good food, but for people with food allergies and sensitivities, holiday parties can be a source of uncertainty and anxiety. While other party guests enjoy delicious treats, guests with celiac disease or food allergies have to forgo holiday favorites containing their “trigger foods,” such as gluten, nuts, dairy or eggs. So how can food-allergic and food-sensitive guests eat, drink and be safe during the holidays? And how can hosts better accommodate their guests with special dietary needs?

    AllergyKids is excited to share this valuable advice from Alicia Woodward, LCSW, Editor of Living Without Magazine (www.livingwithout.com), the nation’s leading magazine for people with food allergies.

    Alicia specializes in the psychological, spiritual and social aspects of celiac disease, food allergies and sensitivities. And below, she has provided tips for guests with food sensitivities, as well as for party hosts that want to accommodate them. Her suggestions are great for those looking to incorporate some easy and smart tips into upcoming holiday events.

    5 Tips for Allergy-Friendly Holiday Parties:

    • Communicate. Call well before the party to alert your host to your food sensitivities. Be specific about your food “triggers,” clearly explaining what you can (and can’t) eat.
    • Embrace the potluck. Bring a favorite dish to the party. That way, there will definitely be something safe for you to eat.
    • Eat beforehand. Don’t arrive hungry, when you may eat something “risky” that you’d never try on a full belly. Snack at home so you won’t be disappointed, famished and irritated if there’s not much you can eat at the party.
    • Keep it simple. Stick to simple, whole foods – like plain fruit, vegetables and meats that haven’t been processed, coated or mixed. Avoid sauces, dips, marinated items, casseroles and desserts unless you know for sure what’s in them.
    • Go first. If the party is buffet-style, be the first in line to avoid any potential cross-contamination (e.g., scattered ingredients, mixed-up serving spoons.) Or ask your host if you can prepare a plate before the buffet starts.

    Got some ideas that we should include? List them in the comments below so that we can make sure to share them with others so that everyone can have a safe and healthy holiday.

    About Alicia Woodward:

    Alicia Woodward, LCSW, is editor-in-chief of Living Without magazine, the nation’s leading food, health, and lifestyle magazine for people with allergies and food sensitivities, including those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Alicia has been with the magazine since its inception, serving as editor of the premier issue in 1998. Now in its 13th year of publication, Living Without’s mission is to help readers live well–and thrive–on their special diets.

    Alicia has been a journalist and professional writer for many years. A former hospice therapist, she is a licensed psychotherapist who specialized in the psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of living with chronic medical conditions, including celiac disease and food allergies and sensitivities.

      2 Responses to “5 Tips for Allergy-Friendly Holiday Parties”

      1. Eileen

        My kids and I are on a restricted diet due to food sensitivities. We are so accustomed to traveling with our own food to avoid any situations. I will talk to the host ahead of time and tell her about our food issues and say that we are accusomed to accomodating and just bringing our own food. I will see if she knows any of the kinds of foods that will be served and then try to make comparable entrees for us. If I know they are serving chocolate cupcakes at the party then I’ll make our own allergy-free chocolate cupcakes. That way my kids don’t feel left out. We’ve been doing this for over 2 years now and no one has ever been rude or made me feel out of place for doing this.

        • Indeed – great tips! One more tip related to COMMUNICATE – make some dishes for your guests that are allergy-free and clearly label those foods as such. For example, gluten-free or egg-free, etc., and have those foods served in a separate area from the other foods. Use little business cards to indicate what foods contain, or, if you want cards prepared for you, do take a look at our clear allergy labels!

      Leave a Reply to Eileen