For those new to living with a food allergy, holiday parties present out of the ordinary food safety challenges.
For those who have lived awhile with allergies, December’s fun and festivities heighten a constant vigilance for hidden allergens.
So, here are eight party safety tips – or reminders – for a reaction-free holiday season.
8 Tips/Reminders for Safe Partying
- If you are in charge of the festivities, or have the host’s ear, ask for food contributors to put an ingredient card in front of their dish. An index card with the cook’s name and a list of the ingredients used makes it easier for those with an allergy to locate safe-to-eat items—or ask the cook questions about how an item was prepared.
- If you are bringing a dish to a gathering, prepare one that doubles as a “one pot” or stand-alone allergen free meal. That way there will be at least one substantial entree you are comfortable eating.
- When unsure there will be food at a party you can eat, enjoy a light meal before heading off to the festivities, and take at least one snack with you.
- By hosting a party, purchasing the ingredients, and doing the food preparation you can enjoy the feast along with everyone else. Your guests can contribute items such as board games, sparkling water, napkins, flowers, or ice.
- When attending a party at a restaurant or a catered event, remember to call the restaurant or caterer ahead of time and ask about options for those with food allergies.
- Before going to a party remind yourself to play it food-safe. This is especially important if you plan on consuming alcohol, which generally has a crumbling effect on caution.
- If the party includes children, and your young child has a food allergy, plan ahead with your partner or other adult to alternate the task of supervising the child. Come up with a silent signal to use when switching roles. That way both adults will have time to relax and socialize, the child will remain safe.
- If you have an epinephrine auto-injector, do not leave home without it.
“I don’t mind fruitcakes. they’re the one thing during the holidays I’m not tempted to eat.” ~ Melanie White