How to welcome someone with Food Allergy into your home this Christmas
If this Christmas you are going to receive someone with food allergies in your home, learn how to make this season safer and more pleasant for everyone to enjoy. The extra effort and care you put into it are the best gifts you can give.
For this, we share a list of tips for a more inclusive Christmas for food allergies, so that everyone can celebrate safely as a family!
Ask and plan alternatives:
1. Talk to your guests in advance, and ask if there are any dietary restrictions.
2. Plan the menu. Think about what you want to cook and confirm if any of the ingredients contain the allergens that are prohibited for your guests.
Try to prepare safe alternatives for everyone, ask for help finding alternatives from those who are already more familiar with these restrictions. This extra effort will reduce the risk and stress of those living with dietary restrictions, allowing everyone to enjoy the festivities better.
3. If your guest with allergies is a child, do not offer them any food without first confirming with their parents that it is safe.
Pay attention to the labeling:
4. Carefully check all labels. If you're not sure whether a food is safe, ask your guest for help who will be more used to doing it. When in doubt, never assume it's safe. You can find out more about identifying allergens on labeling in our article.
5. Keep all original labels and packaging for any used product. Keep them close by so your guest with allergies can see the labels and confirm the food is safe before eating it.
Avoid cross contamination:
6. When preparing and cooking food, it is recommended to cook allergen-free foods first, keeping them separate from potential contaminants.
7. Prepare your surfaces (table and kitchen counter), use detergent and vigorously clean the area that came in contact with the allergen.
8. Use properly washed containers and utensils in hot, soapy water. Avoid using plastic or porous materials that are difficult to wash. It is not enough to clean a knife or utensil with a cloth after contact with an allergen, it may look visibly clean, but it will contain traces that can trigger an allergic reaction.
9. Wash your hands and mouth after contact with the allergen with warm soapy water. Hand sanitizer gel is not enough to remove allergens.
10. If serving a buffet, let those with restrictions serve themselves first to avoid contamination with the serving cutlery.
Learn more about cross-contamination in our article.
Serve safe alternatives:
11. If you can't prepare all the allergen-free foods to avoid, have at least one safe alternative. Keep it properly identified and separated to avoid mistakes and contamination.
12. The sweets and desserts typical of this season are generally the foods most likely to contain allergens such as wheat, milk, eggs, nuts, etc. Have at least one safe dessert. Keep it away from the dessert table, so there is enough for those who need it and you don't run the risk of contamination by the other desserts.
If you're looking for a sweet alternative for your Christmas, allergen-free and easy to prepare, try Fidu's cake and cupcake preparations. Just add oil and water, stir and place in the oven. You can decorate to taste, if desired (always keeping in mind the allergens you want to avoid)!
All Fidu products are free from the 14 main allergens, gluten-free, lactose-free and suitable for a vegan diet.
Help us make this Christmas more inclusive and help raise awareness about food allergies by sharing these tips with your family and friends.
----Text based on articles:
Asda Good Living (06.12.2019), “How to do Christmas if you have a food allergy”. Available at: https://www.asdagoodliving.co.uk/food/features/daddy-freckle-how-to-do-christmas-if-you-have-a-food-allergy
Thornburg, K. (11.11.2018), “Grandparents Can Create an Inclusive Holiday”. Available at: https://www.foodallergyawareness.org/blog/grandparents-can-create-an-inclusive-holiday/
The Team of Nutless Life (21.12.2018), “Ask, Read, and Label! Three Ways to Increase Safety this Holiday Season!”. Available at: https://www.foodallergyawareness.org/blog/ask-read-and-label-three-ways-to-increase-safety-this-holiday-season/
Stratton, S. (29.11.2018), “Increasing Allergy Safety while Enjoying Allergy-Friendly Sweets this Holiday Season” Available at: https://www.foodallergyawareness.org/blog/increasing-allergy-safety-while-enjoying-allergy -friendly-sweets-this-holiday-season/