Happy Allergen-Friendly Holidays To You

fruit christmas treeThe holidays are here! And, with them, family gatherings, class parties, and office pot lucks. ‘Tis the season to eat!

I’ve written before about food allergies and inclusiveness. And, it’s another great time to consider this topic. The holidays should be the most wonderful time of year, but for someone with a life-threatening allergy, it can be a terrifying time.
Whether you’re hosting or bringing a dish to share, you might feel intimidated trying to make sure that your dish is allergen friendly. Not to worry – this blog post is here to help you! I’ve got tips to help keep everyone safe, food swaps for beginners, and recipes to try!

Tips to keep food safe:

  • Label your food. Your label can be as simple as a 3×5 notecard. “Pumpkin Dump Cake – gluten free.” “Peanut Butter Cookies. – Contains wheat, peanuts, and dairy.” This way, all friends with allergies can easily know what food is safe for them and what is not.
  • Keep it on the side. If your famous kale and pomegranate salad usually contains spicy candied pecans, put the pecans in a dish on the side. Leave dressings in their own bottles.  Serve the cheese separately. Making it optional isn’t just great for folks with food allergies or sensitivities, it’s also great for folks who maybe just don’t like ranch dressing.
  • Save the packaging. If you’re making items that come from a package — like a boxed cake mix or dried noodles — keep the box. Or, cut the ingredient list off. Or, use your ol’ smart phone and take a picture. So, when inquiring minds seek to find out what went into your Green Bean Casserole, you’ll be able to show them the ingredient list from your gluten-free french onions.

Use this, not that! 

  • When in doubt, hold the nuts!
  • There are tons of great gluten-free products out there. You can also find fantastic gluten-free flours that you can use the same way you usually use wheat flour! Just make sure it says that it is a 1-to-1 substitute. I love Bob’s Red Mill!
  • Need a butter substitute for your famous mashed potatoes? Miyoko’s is the only dairy-free butter that tastes like the real thing! Country Crock just came out with the perfect spreadable butter for your dinner rolls!
  • Making cream of mushroom soup to go with your green bean casserole? Or maybe a batch of butternut squash soup? Use the cream from a can of coconut milk to substitute the heavy cream.
  • Reddi Whip has you covered with the perfect dairy-free whipped cream to cover your pumpkin pie.
  • Use Vegetable or Mushroom broth instead of the usual chicken or beef. If you’re really looking for that beef flavor, look for a base like this.

Tried and True Classic Recipes

When in doubt, order out!

Britt is a former nomad, who happily put down roots in the Kansas City suburbs to start her own family close to her parents and siblings. After three professional degrees and a brief stint as an elementary teacher with Teach for America, Britt now spends 40 hours a week working in the legal world. In what little free time she has left over, she pretends to do yoga, installs toilets, cans vegetables, quilts, entertains family and friends, and seeks adventure around KC and beyond with her two favorite boys. Though she and her husband, David, are new to parenting their 8 month old son, Benja, they already agree that they love him more than coffee. They just not-so-secretly hope that no one ever makes them choose between the two.