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Surviving Thanksgiving with Food Allergies

Surviving Thanksgiving with Food Allergies

Thanksgiving is a time of year where family and friends come together to celebrate everything they are thankful for. This is often a cherished time of year that is filled with memories, traditions and of course food. If you or your child have a food allergy this can be a cause for high anxiety and can quickly become a dreaded holiday instead of a joyous one. We have put together some tips to help you have an enjoyable Thanksgiving that will keep everyone safe.

The first tip is the one that will help you the most! You must PLAN ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute to figure out your menu or to buy your groceries. You are more likely to make mistakes when you are rushing around. By planning your menu ahead of time, you can check labels and rest assured that your ingredients are all safe. You can also have the time to modify your family favorites to make them allergy friendly. There are a lot of great substitutes available to make your dishes safe for everyone. If you will be a guest in someone else’s home, it’s important to discuss the menu with them ahead of time. Sometimes the safest option is to bring a special plate for yourself or your child that only contains safe foods. Most hosts will be understanding if you explain your situation.

When preparing your meal, always read every label on every ingredient! Companies are constantly changing their products, so it is important to read the label every time you buy a product. When preparing food, make sure there is not cross contamination. Make any “safe” foods first, then seal them and put them away before starting to prepare an “unsafe” food. Make sure to wipe down counters, wash cutting boards, and utensils well with soap and water between uses. Wash your hands with soap and water often to decrease the risk of cross contamination. Make sure that each dish has its own serving utensils and that people are not sharing utensils that will contaminate safe foods. If you are going to have foods that contain an allergen for someone, make sure they are well labeled and consider grouping them together in a separate area. Try to encourage everyone to keep food in the kitchen or at the table, avoid having people walk around the house eating. Ask everyone to wash their hands after eating as well.

What are some popular Thanksgiving dishes that you should be aware of common allergens?

Salads- may contain Egg, Nuts, Dairy

Green bean casserole- contains Dairy

Sweet potato casserole- often contains pecans or walnuts

Cranberry salad- often contains pecans or walnuts

Stuffing or Dressing- may contain Wheat, Gluten, egg

Gravy- may contain Gluten, Egg

Rolls- Wheat, Gluten, Eggs and or Dairy

Desserts- often contains Dairy, Nuts, Eggs, Gluten

Make sure that you always carry your epinephrine auto injectors, food allergy action plan, inhalers and antihistamines with you. We hope that you have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!