Food Allergies 101: Tips for a Safe and Fun Holiday Season
If your child has food allergies, chances are you’ve been asked, “Can he try just a little bit of it?” or “Are you sure it’s an allergy? I’ve never heard of someone being allergic to carrots before.” and “How severe is the nut allergy? Pecan Pie is nana’s favorite. Can you just watch him so he doesn’t eat it?”I’ve been asked questions like these by well-meaning friends and family members over the years and here’s what I’ve learned
1. Start positive
Let your friends and family know you and your child are excited to celebrate the holidays with them! When you start on a positive note, people will be more open and accommodating to your child’s needs. Once you’ve shown your enthusiasm, dive into step two.
2. Have resources ready to share
Blog posts, articles, and infographics are excellent resources and are easily shareable with loved ones. A few helpful websites include Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), Kids with Food Allergies, and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Select an article or two to share and let the experts do the talking!
3. Share allergy-friendly recipes
Introduce others to great, allergy-friendly recipes. Here are two of my favorite allergy-friendly food blogs: Petite Allergy Treats and HeatherChristo.com (Heather’s cookbook is also excellent). Our family uses it for almost every meal! Both of these women are moms who have children with severe food allergies. They walk the walk and understand how important safe food choices are for their families.
4. Prepare ahead of time
If you are attending a holiday gathering that may not be allergy-friendly, prepare your child by feeding them before the event and bring safe snacks with you. Consider purchasing a bracelet like this one that serves as a reminder to peers and adults to check food for allergens before preparing your child’s plate.
5. Thank loved ones for their support
Some friends or family members may choose not to follow your lead. If that happens you are well within your bounds to decline an invitation. However, most of your loved ones will likely be eager to learn more about your child’s needs and how they can help. As they learn more about your child's food allergies, be sure thank them for their support. You’re building an allergy-friendly community. Thank your loved ones for being a part of it!Looking for more resources?Be sure to check out our free, plain language Guides here!