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Food Allergy Survival Guide for the Holiday Season

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Updated January 22, 2011

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Discuss food allergies with your guests (or hosts)
Boy eating candy cane

Is he allergic? I hope not.

Hill Street Studios

Take time to discuss food allergies and restricted diets before the party, dinner, or holiday celebration.

If you are the host

If you are hosting an event, ask guests about their dietary requirements. Explain any food allergies or other food restrictions you have.

If your guest asks to bring something, give them a list of safe options. Be specific. Don’t just say “gluten-free crackers,” which they may have no idea where to find. Tell them brand names, and give suggestions for stores they might shop in. If you suggest fruit, be aware that many people will bring fruit salad. If there are specific fruits that you can eat, ask for those.

If you are the guest

If your host has food allergies, she may ask you not to bring food with you, to avoid the risk of cross-contamination. If you don’t like arriving at a party empty handed, some ideas for food allergy-friendly hostess gifts are:

  • A bottle of wine, juice, fizzy lemonade, or other bottled drink that is safe for your hosts
  • Flowers (unless your host is allergic to pollen – it is best to ask first)
  • Unpeeled fruit that is safe for your host
  • Prepackaged foods with ingredient lists that your host tells you are OK
  • Something from our food allergy holiday gift guide

Just because a product says it is “allergy free” on the label does not mean it is actually free of all possible allergens. Your host can tell you which products she uses and trusts.

If you have food allergies, it is often safest to bring your own food. Call your host ahead of time to tell him what you will be bringing, and explain why. Often friends will want to cook for you, but will have no idea how to avoid cross-contamination. Explain that your feelings are not hurt, and that you really want to spend time with your friend, but that you feel safest eating your own food.

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Food Allergies
  4. Living with Food Allergies
  5. Food allergy party hosting - How to host a party with food allergies

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