Thanksgiving is a time of sharing with family and friends. That usually means sharing food. When you manage food allergies, sharing food can cause stress and anxiety. Follow these tips to create a safe and inclusive holiday for everyone.
When you host a party
Hosting a holiday get-together means that you can control the planning and serving of foods that are safe for everyone. This can allow you to relax and enjoy the holiday.
- Find allergy-friendly options for traditional holiday dishes in KFA’s Safe Eats™ recipe collection and on our blog.
- Read all labels carefully. Product ingredients and processing can change at any time. This is especially important for products you don't use frequently.
- Tell friends and family that you plans to serve only "safe foods". Let them know what allergens you are avoiding. Ask guests if they have any food allergies that need to be avoided as well.
- If guests want to bring something to contribute, have a list of suggestions ready –beverages, ice, paper products.
When you are a guest
Start by talking with the host. Ask what foods are being served and how they will be served. Will it be a buffet or family-style? Are other guests bringing dishes? Explain your child’s food allergies and necessary safety precautions. Make sure they understand why this is a big deal. If the host is willing to work with you, create a plan that you are both comfortable with.
- Offer to bring some safe dishes or provide recipes or ingredients that are safe for your child.
- Offer to prepare the food with the host. Help with label reading and teach them to prevent cross contamination.
- Plate your child’s food first and set aside some extra in a sealed container. Keep safe foods separated from unsafe foods to avoid cross contamination.
- If you are comfortable being around unsafe foods that will be served, bring a safe meal for your child.
- If you are not able to make mealtime safe for your child, suggest getting together for other activities.
Preventing allergic reactions
The best way to prevent food allergy reactions is to avoid accidental contact with your food allergens. Even traces can cause a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis (anna-fih-LACK-sis). Take these steps to help prevent accidents:
- Read food labels every time you buy a product.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before handling food.
- Prepare and serve safe food with separate, clean utensils and surfaces.
- Ask about ingredients in food prepared by someone else.
Plan ahead so you can relax, enjoy time with your loved ones and reflect on all you have to be thankful for this year.
- Make sure everyone who prepares, handles and serves food that your child will eat knows how to prevent cross contamination.
- Avoid trying new foods during the holidays. If you want to introduce a new food, do it before a holiday.
- Make sure you have your emergency plan and epinephrine auto-injectors. Have others help keep an eye on your child.