How to Survive the Holidays: Food Allergy Edition
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
1. Speak up!
This is easier said than done. We all hate feeling like an inconvenience at family or work functions. As a general rule, people gather together this time of year to consume unhealthy amounts of food. You should have just as much of an opportunity to partake in the festivities as anyone else. Tell your friends, co-workers, and family about your allergies. If they don’t know, they can’t try to make something you can eat!
2. Offer help!
Whether you’re spunky enough to make everything yourself, or bring a side or dessert, contributing to the meal is the best way to know there will be at least one item that is safe for you to eat! (You can also help avoid cross-contamination between pecan pie and your apple pie by bringing your own serving utensil!)
3. Help others understand your allergies!
While this takes a great deal of patience, it will be worth it in the long run! By spending time explaining what you are allergic to, and phrases to look for on food labels, next Christmas dinner may be hassle-free! Just be patient and optimistic!
4. Use your phone!!
Everyone has a phone, why not use it to your advantage? Just have whoever is making the food purchases send pictures of the labels while they’re shopping at the store or before they start baking! It’s better to know sooner rather than later what you will or won’t be able to eat! And if they are still at the store, point them toward alternatives and brands that are safe for you!
5. Save packaging and label!
If someone has already made their big shopping trip, have them sav labels from the food items they are using before they toss them in the trash can!
6. Read labels on EVERYTHING!!
Yes, even candy canes and cocoa mix may not be safe for you to eat. Even for those with nut allergies, those warm rolls may not be safe either. Read the label on those marshmallows while you’re at it. It’s always better to be extra cautious!
7. Beware of Keurigs!
Like we said, read labels on EVERYTHING. As lovely as flavored K-cups and special coffee blends are, they can also be a risk for those with food allergies. If someone has used a nut-flavored coffee without running vinegar through the coffee maker, you could be putting yourself at risk. You’re better off bringing your own coffee from home than popping in a K-cup in the coffee maker at grandma’s house. Be careful of flavored creamers too!
8. Bring your own food!
While this is the last thing you want to do on Christmas day, it’s better to have backup snacks (or a meal) in the car in case something doesn’t work out. For gluten allergies or those with celiac in particular, this may be your best bet for eating safely!
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year except for those with food allergies. Our hope is that our allergy guide will help make your holidays less stressful!
Feel free to leave your own tips in the comments!!