Celebrating Christmas with Food Allergies

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire may make the season bright but for children and adults with food allergies holiday parties and family gatherings can be a real concern.

Here are some tips that could help alleviate worries and allow families with food allergies to enjoy the upcoming holiday season;

PLAN AHEAD

Always, always carry the required medication in case of a reaction.

Check all the expiration dates for all medication and ensure you have an action plan in place.

Go over your action plan and food safety rules with your children so that it is fresh in their minds.

COMMUNICATION IS KEY:

If you are invited to an event at another family’s home then don’t be shy about having open dialogue with the host; i.e. inquire if they have baked or will be serving items with the allergen in question. If they are then offer suggestions of replacement ingredients, etc.

This is an opportunity to educate others; politely discuss your concerns about the food allergens, cross contamination and work on creating a safe environment including asking guests to wash their hands.

Play it safe: Bring your own food: This will reduce your concern about what foods are safe.

Create dishes or platters that can be shared among other guests and will make the food allergy sufferer feel less isolated.

Attach ingredient cards on your food to introduce awareness and encourage others to do the same.

Be vigilant, check labels, check ingredients and have the food allergy sufferer be prepared to say “no thank you” to foods that are not safe for them reiterating that safety always comes first.

There is also the option to celebrate in ways that don’t involve food; make crafts together, take a tour of local homes decorated with Christmas lights, sing Christmas carols etc

With a little prior planning and open communication, your family’s festive season can be a safe and happy one!

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