Managing food allergies during celebrations
Colder days and longer nights may seem to bring a bit more gloom into our lives but thankfully there’s the buzz of celebrations which make getting through the rest of year more enjoyable. This may not be the case however if you suffer from food allergies. From the glutton of sweets following trick or treating at Halloween; toffee apples, bangers and hot chocolate on Bonfire Night; and of course, Christmas (which seems to end up being a month long food-fest!), it’s clear that celebrating and eating are an undeniable partnership.
There may be a danger of feeling left out of the fun if you or your children need to avoid certain foods. But a little preparation and communication are all it takes for you to be able to join in on the festivities just as much as everyone else.
Inform people beforehand if you have allergies, either the host of the gathering if at someone’s home or the restaurant you’re visiting.
Make sure others are aware if your child has allergies to ensure they won’t be offered food that they can’t eat.
Prepare allergy-free dishes and snacks that you can bring with you. This will ensure that there will be some foods you can eat and gives others a chance to try something different!
Ask your host to keep hold of food packaging so allergen information is available.
Colour coding can be used to highlight dishes without particular allergens e.g. green flags on cocktail sticks in gluten-free food.
Be extra careful with food preparation. Prepare allergen-free food first to prevent cross contamination and clean utensils and surfaces well in between different foods.
Talk to teachers about your child’s allergies and ask if allergen-free food can be provided so your child doesn’t feel left out. If necessary offer to provide this.
Store allergen-free snacks separately from other foods to prevent cross-contamination.
Both parents and teachers should be understanding and try to not draw too much attention to the allergy so the child doesn’t feel singled out.
Increasing children’s understanding of food allergies and intolerances means there is less chance allergic children will feel left out of activities. Food Freedom provides school workshops which educate children on this topic so everyone will have just as much fun during this exciting time of year.
Treats don’t have to consist of food – try these for your kids at Halloween or in their stockings at Christmas:
o Small crayon packs
o Bouncy balls
o Hair bands
o Plastic animals
o Toy cars
Remember that all of these celebrations don’t just involve food – there’s plenty of activities you can get involved in that won’t include your allergy at all! Have fun preparing costumes for Halloween, watching the fireworks on Bonfire Night and spending time with your loved ones at Christmas. Take your focus away from food by eating beforehand and offering to organise games and activities at gatherings while others deal with things in the kitchen – it may even get you out of the washing up!Tags: Celebrations, Coeliac Disease, Education, Food Allergies, Food Freedom, Food Intolerance, Managing Allergens, School workshops
Categorised in: Managing Allergies