The holidays are here — that means we have a lot of family time ahead of us with a lot of food to eat. If you don’t have any dietary restrictions, it’s easy to forget that not everyone can eat everything, including what’s on the holiday dinner menu. If you’re hosting this year, here are 7 tips for accommodating guests with food allergies.
Initial Invite As you start filling out the invitations — whether you’re crafting cards or sending an E-vite — include an RSVP column where your recipients can include any diet restrictions. Make it clear that this is for “can’t have” not “don’t want.” If you know in advance that someone attending has a nut allergy, you can plan your meal around anything major.
Map it Out Make a chart with all of the restricted foods and the foods you want to serve. This helps you eliminate dangers as well as give you an idea of how items can be substituted. If you want to serve your sweet potato casserole but someone with a pecan allergy is expected, you can make the sweet potatoes with the marshmallow topping rather than the pecan topping. It also gives you the opportunity to check that everyone has a balanced meal.
Know What You’re Serving The best way to make sure you’re not serving something off-limits to your guests is to make everything from scratch. This way you know exactly what you’re putting into every dish and you have the option of leaving out anything harmful to your guests with sensitive palates. It’s a big undertaking to cook and bake everything from scratch, so for the items you have to buy pre-made, keep the labels for your guests to reference.
Sterilize Equipment Before you start cooking, make sure you wash and sanitize all of your cooking gear and dishes really well. For severe allergies, even trace amounts of the offending food can be dangerous.
Identify Ingredients If you expect to accommodate a lot of people with allergies, you may want to label each dish. Include the name of the dish and all the ingredients that may cause a problem. Let everyone know that they should read the labels before they serve themselves. Listing every ingredient isn’t necessary, but noting things “contain dairy” or something is “gluten free,” sends the right message. Labels also present an opportunity to be crafty! Make the labels cute to match your decor and brighten the buffet.
Share the Load Most Thanksgivings are at least semi-pot luck, so it’s OK for you to ask guests with serious food allergies to bring something allergy-friendly to dinner. Just make sure they bring a list of the ingredients to add to your labels.
Extra Precautions Make sure you have an epipen in the house. People have a lot to manage around the holidays — even as guests. When parents are wrangling kids to arrive at the holiday dinner on time, they’re bound to forget something. Some items don’t need a backup, but an epipen does. For extreme allergies, make extreme accommodations: eliminate the most dangerous items from your menu.
Planning traditional holiday meals takes a lot of work and preparation! Let LTD Commodities help you make it perfect. From serveware and kitchen gadgets to holiday decor to make your dining room sparkle, LTD has everything you need to make it memorable.