Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What to do with Food Allergies and the Holidays?


Holiday gatherings almost always center around food, folks, and fun, with a huge emphasis on food! That's great except when you or, one of your children, has food allergies. It can lead to some awkward times and hurt feelings. Since my main goal for my family is to live a thriving life, in spite of allergies, one thing I have to do is to plan ahead! This year Thanksgiving will be at my house, so the planning and meal prepping will all be done by my family, and we are getting more and more used to cooking dairy and egg free, all though we certainly haven't arrived! But eating over at someone else's can be no problem with a little planning ahead.
First, figure out your game plan. Where are you going? Grandma's? Cousin Eddie's? George's next door? How aware and adaptable are they in regards to food allergies? I ask because some people are more than accommodating and will be happy to include things that are "safe" for you or your little one to eat. And some people will look at you cluelessly when you even talk about allergies. You mean you can't have milk? Only not cow's milk? Is there another kind of milk? Get out, they can make milk from nuts, is that even real? And who would drink it? You know what I mean! Anyway, depending on the severity of the allergies, if the host/hostess is willing to cook something new, have a few recipes ready that you'd like to suggest. If your allergies are so severe and you don't want to risk a reaction from cross contamination, tell them your dilemma, and ask how they'd feel about you bringing your own food. Now I don't mean a full course meal for everyone, just pack what YOU would need to eat for the meal. Or if that would be too awkward, make up a couple of recipes for you to share with everyone. This not only ensures you will have something you know is safe for you to eat, but then you can also watch their surprised faces when you tell them that the delicious, creamy, pumpkin pie you made is, in fact, dairy/egg free. I actually had someone say to me once, at a gathering, "I thought when you said that dessert you made was dairy free and egg free it would probably mean taste free, too. I was really surprised to find out how good it really was!" It was good to get feedback from someone on a new recipe, and it also opened the door for me to talk about my son's food allergies, raising awareness about it.
With all that being said, remember the best laid plans can go awry. Something I try and do when we go to a gathering and I'm not sure how it will go, is bring snacks just, in case, there is nothing for my son to eat. Something quick and easy to grab and bring to gatherings are fruit and vegetable trays that are already prepared(discard the calorie laden, milk infested dips that are usually included, though), this also, always insures there is something he likes, that is safe to eat!

No comments:

Post a Comment