I know firsthand how tough holidays can be for those of us with food allergies or dietary restrictions. As someone who has several IgE food allergies to wheat, dairy, egg, sesame, soy, buckwheat, peanut and oats along with MCAS and other food sensitivities, I am here to share my tips for navigating the holidays and decreasing stress around food!
- Advocate for yourself. Make sure to remind family or friends of your allergens and safe cooking practices if you feel comfortable with others cooking for you. Provide a list of brands that are safe for you. A great way to get more involved is to ask the host if they need any help, so you are able to assist in making sure the food you are eating is safe for you. If you are uncomfortable with your allergens being served at the gathering, make sure to communicate that.
- Serve yourself first. This is an important way to eliminate cross-contamination from other dishes. Reminding family and friends of cross-contamination can also be helpful!
- Bring your own food. Bringing your own food is another option! This can alleviate the stress that can occur when others cook for you. If you bring your own safe meal, you can focus on enjoying time with family and friends. Something else I find fun is making an allergy-friendly dessert or dish for everyone to enjoy. I like to get creative with it! Make an allergy-friendly version of a classic holiday food so that you don’t feel left out. Check out my Instagram and blog for ideas!
- Focus on things that don’t revolve around food. The emphasis on food around the holidays can be really tough for people with food allergies or dietary restrictions. Can you play a game or plan a fun activity with your family that doesn’t revolve around food?
- Always be prepared. Have an emergency action plan and keep your EpiPens with you at all times!
I hope these tips are helpful. Please always consult your doctors with medical questions!