The holidays are a time to eat, drink, and be merry. But if you suffer from food allergies, the holiday season can be very stressful! After all, chances are good that you’ll be going to parties, visiting friends’ and family members’ homes, and dining out at restaurants. While it’s easy to control the food that you’re exposed to when you are at home, eating in unknown environments can be hazardous. And if you’re a parent of a child with food allergies, the stress of not knowing where allergens lurk can be even worse. However, there are steps you can take to ensure a safe and fun holiday season. Here are four tips to ensure your holidays are fun and worry-free.
Host at Home
To ensure that you (or your child) has an allergy-free holiday season, one of the best things you can do is offer to host a holiday party at home. This will be a relief for all! You’ll be able to avoid mysterious dishes with unknown ingredients, and your guests will appreciate a break from the chaos and hassle that comes with hosting a holiday party and cleaning up. If you decide to host a party, mention to guests ahead of time what foods you’re allergic to. This ensures that they don’t introduce “dangerous” food items into your kitchen without you knowing. This is a great time to ask guests if they have any allergies or dietary restrictions too. Ideally, you should know all the ingredients in your dishes and have guests do the same so that everyone can avoid things they’re allergic or sensitive to. If foods that you or guests are allergic to are served, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends having a special area designated for serving dishes containing allergens: https://www.eatright.org/health/lifestyle/holidays/8-tips-for-allergy-free-holidays.
Pack Your Child’s Holiday Lunch
Since it can be hard (if not impossible) to control the food that is prepared at your child’s school or daycare center, or even a friend’s house, you can make sure that your child stays safe by preparing a meal ahead of time. If you’re not sure of good substitutes to use for a favorite ingredient, ask a nutritionist or a pediatric immunologist Las Vegas for recommendations. To make sure your child doesn’t feel left out or different, consider calling the host ahead of time to make sure that you make a meal similar to what the host is offering, suggest authors at Kids With Food Allergies. The meal can also be fun, colorful, and festive to keep with tradition. In addition to providing recommendations for “safe” foods for your child, an immunologist can prescribe medications like epinephrine for your child to carry along in case he or she is exposed to allergens and has an adverse reaction.
Plan and Practice Recipes Ahead of Time
If you have a food allergy, and especially if the allergy is new, you’ll need to make dietary adjustments to make sure that you stay safe. It might seem like a daunting task to make these changes in your life, and especially near the holidays, but it’s also a great time to explore new foods and recipes that you might not have considered before. If your child has an allergy, suggest easy recipes that you can both create together. This makes for quality child-parent bonding time, and it also teaches your child to make meals that are allergy-free, healthy, and delicious.
Educate Others of Your Allergies
These days, most people are aware of food allergies. But the reality is that not everyone knows how to avoid or work around them. Making people who might prepare your (or your child’s) food during holiday meals aware of your allergies will go a long way in ensuring your safety and peace of mind. Along with helping you plan meals, a pediatric immunologist Las Vegas can recommend ways for your child to educate classmates about his or her allergies in an engaging, informative, and memorable manner.
If you have a food allergy, the food-centric holiday season can be met with some reservations. But taking steps to prepare food in your own home, packing a child’s meal during holiday parties at school, and making others aware of your allergies can go a long way in making sure that everyone has an enjoyable holiday season. If you need assistance planning your meals around an allergy this holiday season, or if you want to get tested for an allergy ahead of time, contact Tottori Allergy & Asthma Associates. Dr. Tottori, the best allergist in Las Vegas, can help you out.