Preparing for the Holidays with Food Allergies

A family sharing food at a thanksgiving dinner.Sep 1, 2023

Holiday gatherings are usually filled with family, friends – and food. Here are some tips from FAACT for traveling this holiday season, as well as dining in/out to help you avoid any potential dangers, so you can have a happy holiday season

Traveling this holiday season

  • Plan your route for traveling and note any allergy-friendly restaurants to stop along the journey.
  • Eat a good meal before leaving to help keep everyone full for a longer period of time.
  • Bring a cooler full of allergy-friendly snack items. Keep the snacks fun and be sure to include a variety of sweet, salty, crunchy and soft.

Dinner at your house

  • Plan out in advance what others will bring. Assign dishes that are less likely to contain the allergen.
  • Are they buying the item or making from scratch? Discuss label reading and recommend certain brands you know are allergen safe.
  • Have them take a picture of the label and text or email you if they have any questions.
  • Gently, but thoroughly, go over how to avoid cross-contact in the kitchen.
  • Be in charge of all the baked goods to reduce any issues and remind them to not bring the allergen as a gift.

Dinner at a family member or friend’s house

  • Contact or have them contact everyone and politely remind them not to bring any unsafe items.
  • Offer to go a little early and help clean.
  • Offer to help the host cook the food.
  • Have your child eat a snack before you go, so they’re less tempted to grab food when you’re not watching.
  • Bring separate dishes that you know your child can eat.
  • Remind your child about not eating anything that you haven’t OK’d first.

Dining out this holiday season

  • Research restaurants to find out if they’re allergy friendly.
  • Call ahead to speak with the chef and/or manager and address any concerns.
  • When at the restaurant, let your server know about the allergy. Ask to speak to the manager and/or chef so you have no doubt the kitchen has been made aware.
  • Consider eating at a time that is less busy.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season!

A photo of Eleanor Garrow-Holding wearing formal clothes.

Eleanor Garrow-Holding is the President and CEO of Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT). Eleanor has worked, educated, and advocated in the food allergy community for 10 years. She was inspired to start this work after her son, Thomas, was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies. Leading the charge at FAACT, Eleanor and the FAACT Leadership Team provide education, advocacy, awareness, and grassroots outreach needed for the food allergy community. In September 2014, Eleanor joined the National Peanut Board Food Allergy Education Advisory Council.

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