Holiday parties can be hard enough for people with food allergies, but it can also be stressful to be the host when the guests have food allergies. Those of us with food allergies completely understand the stress that’s involved. We live with these food allergies on a daily basis, but imagine if you have never cooked a meal that needed to be dairy-free or nut-free or gluten-free.
Most hosts want their guests to be comfortable and enjoy their time and their meal. They want everyone to relax and soak up the season.
That goes for guests with food allergies as well. Hosts want to be sure their guests feel at ease and accommodated, and that means that everyone’s needs are met. Especially for someone who’s needs could be life-threatening.
If you are a guest with a multitude of allergies, this can be even more difficult. They may really struggle with what to serve you or what would be safe for you to eat.
I get those questions and comments often when I am heading to family and friendly gatherings for the holidays. The concern and stress is evident in their voices, and I do my best to find solutions to help out the host. Not only does this help them out, it puts me more at ease as the person with food allergies.
In order to make it easier for the hosts when you are a guest at their holiday party, I have put together a few tips for helping out the host this Christmas.
- Offer to bring a dish to pass. One of the easiest things you can do to help out is offer to bring something. Bring a side dish, appetizer, or dessert that you know will be safe for you to eat but everyone will still enjoy. This will be one less thing the host needs to worry about and will put your mind at ease as well. A great dish that’s always a crowd-pleaser is my Zesty Deviled Eggs.
- Give a list or ideas of safe dishes for you. When your host or hostess asks you what would be safe to make for you, give them a list with some variety. Include desserts, side dishes, main dishes and appetizers as well as things that can be store bought. This way, no matter the menu, the host will be able to fit the dishes easily into their meal.
- Offer to sit down and work on the menu with the host. If your host seems to be worried, or if you think they would be open to it, offer to sit down and go over the menu with them. Two heads are always better than one, and this may help them come up with ideas they hadn’t thought about. Not only will it help the host, it will make you feel a lot better and know what to expect as well. That always helps take care of any anxiety I have leading up to the party and I am able to enjoy it much more.
- Offer to come early to help set up and cook. Finally, offer your time. You are the expert in how to cook for you, so if you feel the host would be open to the suggestion, offer to come help cook and set up early before the party starts. Everyone can use a little help leading up to a party, and I’m sure it will help put their mind at ease if they are making new dishes to have you there.
What if it’s a kid’s party?
Kids parties can be especially tough, no matter the occasion. For younger children, it’s very easy for there to be cross contamination as they are not yet aware of everything yet.
When your child with food allergies is attending a party at a friend’s house, this can cause quite a great amount of anxiety in you as the parent. However, it also causes the hosting parent anxiety as well. Just as I mentioned above, they want your child to enjoy the party and be safe at the same time.
Most of the tips above can be easily applied to a kids party just as easily as an adult party. The number one difference would be to attend the party with your child if possible, and if necessary. If your child is old enough, obviously use your own judgement and plan ahead. I’m sure they are well-educated and will know what they need to do.
Besides this, stick to the tips above and educate the parent that is hosting. The best thing for everyone involved is to know everything ahead of time and know what they need to watch for.
My mom always went through dishes at a party and gave me a run down of what I could and could not eat ahead of time so that I was very aware. Not only did it put her at ease, it put me at ease too so I could be safe and have fun.
To sum it up
Hosting is tough, especially when people with food allergies will be attending. The best thing you can do is try to make it easier on them and everyone involved.
Use these tips to help out the host at your next gathering and take the stress off of them. They will appreciate it and you’ll feel better knowing there will be options for you.
Hi everyone! I’m Kristen Kellogg from Navigating the Allergic Life. My blog focuses on living with food allergies and intolerances, navigating the low-FODMAP diet, and recipes and resources to get you started. In addition to owning the blog, I am in my late twenties, a wife, a special education teacher, a fur-mom, and a yogi.
My knowledge of food allergies and intolerances come strictly from personal experience and 28 years of learning as I live through it all. I have had a milk allergy since I was born, therefore I am completely dairy-free and so are all of my recipes with some being vegan as well. In addition to being allergic to milk, I am also allergic to beef and have fructose malabsorption. To manage my symptoms, I follow the low-FODMAP diet, which I have been doing for about 3 years.
I began Navigating the Allergic Life solely as a way to help others who suffer through these symptoms manage their lives. I know how challenging it can be, so my goal is to make just a little easier for someone else. Through sharing recipes and resources, I hope I can make that happen for someone.
Thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say and try out my recipes. I hope you will visit navigatingtheallergiclife.com to check out other recipes and resources for all of your needs!
Do you have any other tips to help hosts who have guests attending their party with food allergies? Leave them in the comments below!