Kids and Food Allergies: Making Celebrations Work

The holiday season is officially here, with lots of parties at school, family, friends, and neighbors’ houses. Of course, these are joyful times but they can also add extra stress if you or child suffers from food allergies. Even having out-of -own guests in your home can be tricky because grandma doesn’t always know that her grandchild cannot have that scoop of ice cream or piece of cake. 

Here are 6 simple ways to get through the holiday season with food allergies.      

1.  Talk to your kids:  Explain to your child that they too will have to be extra careful about what they eat when at someone else’s home or at school.  Kids are smarter than grownups often give them credit for and if there is a snack that makes them feel sick, explaining that they can avoid feeling that way by passing on certain foods will help them understand.

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2. Send ‘Em Snacking: If your food allergic child is attending a holiday party at school or at a friend’s house be sure to send him with a few fun snacks that he can eat so he won’t feel left out.

3.  Always bring a dish:  Always bring a hearty side dish or 2 of something your family can eat.  This will avoid any unnecessary risks when attending a party while ensuring you have something yummy to eat. 

4.  Don’t be shy: Let friends and family members know that you or child has a food allergy, especially if your child is going to a party without you.   Although sometimes it is uncomfortable, it will be better in the end because you can avoid a potential reaction, not have to make a scene during the party, and they will know why you or your child passes on some of the foods served.    

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5.  Phone First: It is okay to phone ahead and find out what is being served so that you can be prepared or volunteer to make a complimentary dish, and reassure your host they don’t have to change the whole menu.   You may be pleasantly surprised by how loved ones are willing to help.

 6.  Host a party: The stress of worrying if any of the foods at a party will make your child feel sick might override the stress of being the host of your own holiday party.  This way you know exactly what is being served.


How do you negotiate food allergies in your family at the holidays?

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