Having food allergies is a major pain but can be especially difficult during the holidays. You either end up feeling left out of the fun or have to awkwardly dance your way around the issue when you’re invited to parties. While the holidays may force you out of your regular food habits, there is no need to despair of enjoying the season. We’ve put together a quick guide for not only surviving, but thriving during the holidays with food allergies.
1. Speak up. If you’re invited to a party or get-together, don’t be afraid to gently remind your host or hostess about your allergy. If he or she is truly a friend, they will graciously accept the reminder and go out of their way to make sure your food needs are met. Also, don’t be afraid to ask what when into a particular dish when you show up. It could save you a lot of grief.
2. Party up. If you’re very allergic, or just worried you won’t be able to enjoy yourself thinking about all the potential food traps, host your own party. You don’t have to go out of your way to make it an extravagant celebration, but inviting friends to come to you can make sure you’re in control of food prep. Also consider roping in your friends to help cook. Not only will they’ll learn what kinds of things you can eat, but also how to prepare them.
3. Cook up. Indulge in your favorite dish. Whip up a batch of your favorite allergy friendly food and bring it with you to social gatherings. Its a chance to share part of your life with those around you while gently making them aware of your needs. And chances are they will love being introduced to your special dish.
4. Live it up. Don’t become preoccupied with the constraint food allergies might put on your holiday adventures. Christmas and New Year’s are about so much more than that. Have fun with family and friends: go ice skating or sledding, have fun making decorations and crafts, celebrate with dancing and music and laughter. At the end of the day, your memories aren’t going to be built primarily on what you ate for dinner.
Where to shop:
Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have an array of products and foods that are compatible with most common allergies such as wheat, soy, dairy and nuts. Although, Trader Joe’s chocolate is not soy allergy friendly. My friend B. who is soy/dairy allergic suggests trying Vivani chocolate which you can buy on Amazon.com.