Allergen-Friendly Holiday Entertaining…Made Easy
With the growing number of people who have food allergies and intolerances, there is an increased likelihood that a guest with dietary restrictions will be joining your holiday celebrations. Although allergen-friendly holiday entertaining may seem daunting at first,many favorite holiday recipes can easily be made allergen-friendly by taking care to avoid cross contact or by making some simple ingredient substitutions. Here are five tips to make allergen-friendly entertaining a little easier this holiday season.
1. Ask your guests about their specific dietary requirements. Simply speaking with your guests about what foods they need to avoid as well as foods that they enjoy eating can help eliminate some of the stress surrounding allergen-friendly entertaining. Even consider asking your allergen-friendly guests to contribute a dish that they know they will enjoy. Many people following a specific diet are more than willing to share one of their favorite dishes.
2. Plan meals ahead of time and share menu with guests. Planning ahead can help guests identify items they will be able to enjoy and allow everyone to be well prepared and ready to celebrate. If guests are staying for multiple meals, it is helpful to identify options for breakfast, lunch, supper, snacks, and beverages.
3. Carefully check every food label. Once information has been gathered and you are aware of your guests’ specific dietary requirements, carefully check all food labels of ingredients that you are planning to use in the preparation of your meals. Products’ ingredients and production standards can frequently change. Therefore, even if an ingredient has been used in the past for an allergen-friendly dish, it is recommended to re-check the label. When in doubt about a specific product, ask your guest. It’s always best to err on the side of caution, and your guests may be able to suggest an appropriate substitute.
4. Avoid cross contact, as even the smallest amount may cause symptoms. Depending on the allergy or intolerance, even a tiny amount of exposure may cause unpleasant symptoms. To help avoid cross contact, prepare allergen-friendly dishes first.If possible, use different cutting boards and cooking utensils or clean these items thoroughly before preparing allergen-friendly dishes. Also, wash and dry all counters and crevices in your kitchen workspace, before and in between each recipe preparation. Finally, label everything when storing and serving to help everyone identify options that they may enjoy!
5. Refer to Festival’s Allergen-Friendly Holiday Guide. Starting in November, Festival’s Allergen-Friendly Holiday Guide will be available at FestFoods.com. This guide offers 18 pages of gluten-free holiday recipes and product ideas to help make entertaining for those with allergies and intolerances a little bit easier.
Looking for even more allergen-friendly or healthy food ideas? Visit FestFoods.com/health for additional nutrition information, product recommendations, tips, and meal ideas. Eat Well at Festival Foods is brought to you by Festival’s registered dietitians. Visit us online to learn more about our free resources, ask our dietitians a question, subscribe to weekly recipe blogs, and sign up for our free weekly Heart Health and Gluten Free newsletters. Eat Well at Festival Foods means simple solutions for a healthier you!